Here are two simple and parallel ways of describing awakening…
When awareness is identified with the processes of the personality – sensations, emotions, thoughts – there is a sense of contraction. Awareness is operating in a very local and medium awake way. This is small mind.
Bringing focus to awareness, and staying with awareness, there is a sense of it expanding and awakening. The center of gravity expands to include both awareness and experiences unfolding within awareness. The sense of “me” goes from being only the sensations, emotions and thoughts, to also include spacious and formless awareness. There is a sense of clear, spacious awareness within which all experiences and phenomena unfold. Awareness is transdual in that all phenomena of the inner/outer world unfolds within it – beyond and embracing all polarities. From this comes overview and perspective, and a more conscious choice in how I relate to the inner/outer world.
In our everyday life, awareness is the observer, the Ground, the Absolute. But it operates in a half-awake and very local way. It is identified with the processes of the inner world. It perceives “me” as the processes of this organism and personality, and get caught up in the fluid manifestations of the inner/outer world. It is a case of mistaken identity, or at least an identity that is less inclusive than what it could be – a part of the picture is missing.
When focus is brought to awareness, the sense of “me” is gradually more inclusive. It expands, becomes more fluid, porous, transparent, and eventually falls away.
As awareness awakens, the sense of “me” goes through several phases – it burns through layers of more inclusive and fluid “me”s until it all falls away. There is only the fluid seamless whole of luminous, spacious, formless Ground within which all phenomena unfolds.
Our awareness goes from local to universal to nonlocal, and from half-awake to fully awake. Our identity, our sense of “me”, goes from the personality to Big Mind to falling away completely.
It is a very simple process, and there are many invaluable supports for this process… Some of the ones I find useful are Zen, Big Mind, Breema.
I find that I have trouble describing awareness awakening to itself, and how the sense of identity becomes more inclusive. One way of describing it is that there are several layers of awareness, from half awake to fully awake. As awareness is brought to itself, it identifies itself with the next layer closer to fully awake, and then realize that this too is not the observer. It turns towards itself, thinks that it is something that is another fluid phenomenon, and then identifies with the next layer of semi-awake awareness. It is a process of discovery, of moving towards a more fully awake and transdual experience. Until there is only Existence.