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Are You Awake?

…are you sure? Sure, you might not be in your bed, asleep, but are you Awake? Sure, you might be conscious of reading these words on your screen, but are you sure it’s you who is doing the reading?

Are you Awake, or are you just a walking mass of impulses, being propelled impulsively from one node of desire to the next? Is it YOU who is directing your progress, or is it the dominant desire of the moment: hunger, sleepiness, desire for sexual gratification, desire for More Stuff?

When you say "I", who is this person? Is it you, or is it your stomach: "I am hungry", or perhaps your brain, "I am sleepy". Who is running the whole show? Does this person, this spirit, have any say in the cacophony of "I wants" that blow through your day?

If you say "no" to that last question, then, dear reader, no matter what your body may say, YOU are sound asleep, and being marched back and forth in the chains of instinct by your body. YOU are just along for the ride, blissfully unaware that anything untoward is happening.

Are you Awake? Do you WANT to wake up? Do you want to retrieve the dominion of your bodily desires from the collective quarrel that is the little ‘I’ of your body and return it to the rightful "I" of the Spirit?

Waking up isn’t easy, and it is possible to drift back into that Sleep which is instinctual and communal. But once you Awaken, you will notice and observe the mass of sleepwalking people around you. They will be marching back and forth in their daily rounds ruled by their bodies while their Spirit slumbers, blissfully unaware of the life that is passing it by. Once you observe this first hand, you will find it hard to go back, if not impossible.

Perhaps these words have pried the tightly shut eyelids of your Spirit open enough to permit a little glimmer of consciousness to enter. Perhaps some part of you timidly asks, "So, how can I wake up, and stay Awake?" It isn’t difficult, really. All it takes is the realization and the seizure of NOW. Not ten minutes or three weeks from now, not day before yesterday, or last August, but right now.

STOP. Where is your right foot? Is the seam of your stocking biting into a toe? Are you aware of the collar of your clothing? Are you warm, cold, hungry? Can you feel the weight of your eyeglasses on the bridge of your nose, if you wear them, or the rings on your fingers, or bangles on your wrists, if you wear those? What sounds do you hear? What music is playing? Is it sunny or cloudy? How long have you been sitting here, messing around on the Internet?

Are you awake? Are you sure? Is it YOU who hungers, thirsts, needs to be bathed and comforted, or is it you BODY? Understanding and dividing the bodily desires from the desires of the Spirit is the first step to wakefulness. The fact that you’ve read this far is encouraging- perhaps you are thinking about this Awakening thing.

If you are conscious of being conscious, then you are Awake. In order to stay Awake, you must maintain this awareness of being conscious, and not merely function on the rails you’ve run on day after day. You must become conscious of the world around you, and your part in it, not merely function as a cog in the vast sleepwalking army of humanity. You must listen carefully to the sounds and words around you, and ask yourself, "Is this necessary, or is this another come-on to make me sleep more comfortably?"

Being truly Awake means shedding that warm blanket of comforting conformity, and deciding to think for yourself. Being Awake means leaving behind the comforting conventions of daily life, and becoming keenly aware of what routines are catered for bodily comfort and unconscious conformity, and what YOUR SPIRIT truly needs to be fed to thrive and grow. Being Awake means taking back the day-to-day demands of your body, and telling it to stow it, you’ll feed and rest it when YOU decide to, and perhaps consider buying that trinket for it if it can be justified.

Being Awake means risking alienation from your family, friends, and colleagues, when you somehow become ‘different’ in their eyes, when you see how frivolous much of their lives, desires, and priorities are. The polite thing to do is to remain silent about your observations, lest you commit offense. But if they become persistent in their inquiries about your sudden change, you might chance telling them about what you have discovered. They might want to Awaken, too, but most will wish to remain soundly and comfortably lost in blissful slumber.

Climbing the Spiral Path isn’t guaranteed to be a comfortable journey. In Awakening, you have to carry your own burdens, undergo discomfort and loneliness and alienation, go for long periods without running into another conscious and Awakened being, and even ask some tough questions about the true purpose of your journey. As you progress down this Path, you’ll see it becoming narrower and less traveled. The Path might even appear to vanish altogether, leaving you to hack through the tangle of uncertainty on you own.

Do not despair: the very loneliness of the Path you are traveling is evidence that you are on the right one, no matter what your peers might say otherwise. Matthew 7:13-14 states this very clearly, although this verse has been misinterpreted by many:

"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate that is narrow and the road that is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it."

The Spiral Path is the road less traveled, and fortunate are those who find their feet upon it, and their Spirits Awakened to enjoy it and learn from its experiences.

2002, by Sunfell

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