Awakened, and expert in only one thing

Among the many misconceptions about awakening is that it somehow gives omnipotent powers, or omniscient knowledge, or even some wisdom in worldly matters.

The reality of it is that an awakened one is an expert on only one thing: knowing what he/she really is.

Or said another way: the unmanifest knows itself as awake void, and all form as awake void, and that is the extent of its special knowledge. There is not necessarily any profound or unusual knowledge about the operations of the manifest world itself.

And that is because that knowledge, about the operations of the manifest world, comes through experience with the manifest world. It comes through a lived human life.

Any knowledge about the manifest world is worldly knowledge, and not really any different from what we can have even if the unmanifest has not awakened to itself.

This is of course why an awakened one is not necessarily a good teacher, or has a lot of experience with different practices, or is especially wise in worldly and practical matters. It is also why he or she is not necessarily able to give good advice in any area of life, including, shockingly enough, how to prepare the ground for awakening.

All of that comes from experience, and must be gained in the ordinary way, through learning, exploring, trying things out, making mistakes. In short, through living a human life.

And this is also why some folks, who have a great deal of experience with certain explorations and practices, know more about (some of) the mechanisms of samsara than even those who have awakened. The Work and the Big Mind process are good examples of this, offering very differentiated and detailed insights into the mechanisms of the mind to people where there is not yet a full awakening.

So even if we meet an awakened one, we don’t need to expect them to have all – or any – of the answers, or even being able to point the way for us in any particular area. They may, of course, but that comes through their experiences with the world of form, their human explorations and experiences.

And it also means they are fallible, as much as anyone else. They may or may not know how to point the way for anyone else, in any particular area, including awakening. Their insights may be limited. Their strategies flawed. Their judgment poor.

Just as for anyone else of us.

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