6) Do good deeds & save the world. This was traditionally called karma yoga. But most people who practice it do so from the wrong understanding and get nowhere with it, in terms of their own awakening. Typically, karma yoga is practiced from the point of view of ‘what can I do?’ Every action is taken based on ‘what can I do?’ and so every action reinforces the position that it was generated from, which has ‘I’ at the center of it. ‘What can I do?’ is centered on the ‘I’. True karma yoga asks, “What needs to be done?” Notice that there is no ‘I’ here at all. One has already surrendered the ‘I’ for the sake of the larger need. This kind of karma yoga becomes a practice of ‘not-I’ and develops the sense of not-I. Done long enough with enough sincerity, the sense of not-I will keep going deeper until it becomes the living reality in the core of that being.
– Ric Weinman in The Nature of Awakening Part 2
So, if the ego does not awaken, who does? Imagine you are having a dream that you are a cow, and suddenly you wake up and you are back in your bed as yourself. You would not say that the cow woke up and realized it was you. You didn’t turn into a wise cow. You would say that you were always yourself but were lost in the dream of being a cow, and that you awoke out of that dream of being a cow. The moment you stopped pretending/dreaming you were a cow, you were back in your normal experience of yourself. The dream character didn’t wake up; the dreamer did. […]
Often, I will get an email from a student who has had a powerful spiritual experience and the student wants to know if this is awakening. The answer is found by looking at whether there is still a sense of ‘I’ residing in the heart. In fact, this is the only true test of awakening—not external behavior, not symptoms, not subjective experiences of peace or bliss or oneness. The only test of this initial awakening is whether or not the ‘I’ has disappeared from the heart. A student may have a taste of awakening (different from mystical experiences), where they feel they have disappeared, but if I can see that the ‘I’ is still there in the heart, awakening hasn’t happened. Sometimes, as a student gets close to awakening, enough of that sense of ‘I’ has broken down that it is hard for them to sense it. But no matter how subtle it is, if it is still there, awakening has not happened. The other ‘false positive’ that can happen, especially with students of neo-advaita teachers, is that the student truly has gotten that there is no ‘I’, but they have gotten this in their head only, and it has not penetrated to their heart. Getting it in their head does create a change in their consciousness, but it still is not true awakening. It is more like a taste of awakening in the mind, and sometimes neo-advaita students get stuck in that place.
– Ric Weinman in The Nature of Awakening, printed in Paradigm Shift, Issue 43, July 2009, UK
I selected these two sections of his article, the first as a relatively standard (yet clear and insightful) description of awakening, and the second as a hint of how awakening in a Vortex Healing context is understood in a quite precise and differentiated way. Here is Part II of the article and a list of additional Vortex Healing articles.