Underestimating & overestimating awakening

Awakening can be underestimated and overestimated, and it’s almost inevitable that we do one or both at different points in the process.

Underestimating awakening

Awakening can be underestimated in, at least, a couple of different ways.

We can underestimate the importance of it and how transformative it can be. It means finding ourselves as capacity for the world, and that in itself turns our experience of ourselves and everything inside out and upside down. And it can be profoundly transformative for our human life in the world, more than anything else.

And we can underestimate what it requires from us to live from it. In a sense, it requires everything. If we go fully into it, it will eventually cost us all our old habits and assumptions, and all our beliefs and identifications.

Overestimating awakening

We can also overestimate awakening. We may think it helps solve all our problems and challenges, that it puts us in a permanent state of happiness, that it gives us superpowers, and so on. These are some of the myths of awakening, and they are the dreams of a separate self.

A few more details

I’ll say a few more words about each of these.

When it comes to the transformation, it comes in two ways as mentioned above.

It’s a transformation in how we perceive ourselves and the world. Before, we may take ourselves as fundamentally a separate self in a world of a myriad of fundamentally separate things. When we find ourselves as capacity for the world, and what all our experiences happen within and as, that’s turned upside down and inside out. We find our true nature, which is the true nature of all our experiences, and – to us – the world happens within and as oneness.

To the extent we keep noticing this, it can be profoundly transformative for our human self and our life in the world. The question becomes: how is it to live from oneness? How is it to live from oneness in this situation? Another side of this is that there will still be many parts of us, as a human being, still operating from separation consciousness, and these will surface and want to join in with the awakening. They come with the invitation for us to recognize their true nature, which is the same as our true nature, and for us to create the space and conditions for them to align with reality and oneness. As we keep doing this, there is a profound transformation and healing.

This requires us to notice what we are here and now. A memory of noticing this in the past can be a helpful reminder and pointer, and the noticing can only happen in immediacy. This noticing, living from it, and inviting more parts of us to join with the awakening, is an ongoing process. Any idea of an end is an idea that happens here and now, and that too is the (understandable and misguided) dream of parts of us still operating from separation consciousness.

The myths about awakening are several, and I’ll just mention a few here.

We may imagine it will solve all our problems, while in reality, our human challenges will still continue. We just have the possibility to relate to it differently, and that’s – in some ways – better.

We may imagine it’s a state – of bliss or something else, while in reality, we find ourselves as what allows all states, and what all the always changing states and experiences happen within and as.

We may imagine we’ll be omniscient or omnipresent, and although there is a metaphorical reality to it, it’s far more mundane than this fantasy.

We may imagine we’ll have superpowers, and although it comes with the potential for some amazing superpowers – like love – it’s again not as the fantasy would have it.

There is a common theme for each of these myths and fantasies about awakening. They are imaginations and dreams that come out of parts of us operating from separation consciousness. We’ll be disillusioned. And what we find is, in reality, far better than these fantasies – although they may not seem that way at first.

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