A good post from Vince:
A friend of mine recently posed the question, â€œIs it just me, or are there a lot of people waking up these days?â€ Itâ€™s a really interesting question, one that Iâ€™ve thought about from time to time. And so talking it over with my partner I came up with at least six different possibilities (Iâ€™m sure there are more) that one might consider with regards to the question:
- It is possible that with the dawn of the information age we are simply much more aware of that then we were before of how many people are waking up.
- On the journey toward awakening and with a more realistic model of awakening, the amount of people we see who are awake or waking up increases due to our not having far-fetched models and because weâ€™ve simply had more time to meet them.
- Itâ€™s difficult to compare how many people are awake today versus in the past because we donâ€™t have much reliable empirical data.
- From the purely statistical perspective, the steady rise in the worldâ€™s population would mean there are more awakened people, if we assume a similar awakening per capita.
- One argument is that as the speed of the world increases the ability to wake up to what is always already there, simply via the higher contrast, becomes easier.
- Humans may be evolving in mental, emotional, and spiritual complexity over time (Ken Wilberâ€™s evolutionary spirituality perspective), with one major outcome being that more people are waking up.
And some additional points that comes to mind:
- Longer lifespan, as Duff mentions in a comment to the original post.
- The filter of time. Most of us know only a handful of painters from the renaissance, but people at the time knew about many more. Just as time filters who among painters are remembered by later generations, the same happens with mystics.
- Increased access & opportunity
- Easier access to simple, effective practices from a range of traditions, and new variations such as headlessness, the Big Mind process and The Work. Also, a quicker and wider dissemination of simple/effective practices through old and new media.
- Easier access to teachers, in person and through books, audio, video, internet.
- For some, more leisure time so more time for practice.
- There are more people today who get to taste most or all of their material desires. This means that more get to see, through own experience, that it doesn’t quite do it, and some of these (a small fraction) will then shift onto a path of spiritual practices. (On the other hand, we live in a global culture that promotes the idea of happiness through getting what we want in the material world, and this idea may have been less prominent – and tempered by other views – in previous times and other cultures.)
- More inclusive definitions of awakening. If we take a broad (or vague) definition to awakening, as many do, then many has indeed awakened… but this may include people who have a soul level awakening (alive presence), a oneness awakening (a self here one with God and everything else), receptivity to or glimpses/intuitions of soul/oneness/nondual awakenings, and also a more stable nondual awakening (free from an I with an Other). Even among many so called “awakened” teachers today, we see people who express these different forms of awakening. If we lump it all together, it includes quite a lot of people. The Translucent Revolution by Arjuna Ardagh is one of many examples of this lumping together, where he mostly seems to talk about people who have a receptivity to and intuition/glimpses of soul/oneness/nondual awakenings.
The most simple and down-to-earth explanations seem sufficient to explain why it seems that more people are waking up today.
We hear about it more. We often use a very broad and vague definition of awakening which by necessity includes a lot of people.
More and more people have a sense, taste and glimpse of different forms of awakening through different practices such as the Big Mind process, so they and others may see that as an awakening. (It is an awakening, in that it awakens them to what is beyond a perception filtered through I and Other. But it is not an awakening in terms of – for instance – a stable nondual awakening where the whole sense of I and Other falls away.) We hear about awakenings more readily through modern communication.
And finally, more people may indeed awaken because there are more of us, and easier access to practices and teachers.