These days, awakening guides are more often seen as just that: Guides for awakening.
We know that just like an athletic coach, they are here to help us in one type of exploration and not anything else.
WHAT AWAKENING GIVES US INSIGHT INTO
What does awakening give us insight into?
Awakening gives us insight into what we more fundamentally are, in our own first-person experience.
In one sense, we are this human being in the world. We have inside information from this human self, and outside information about any other being.
And when we look more closely, we may find we more fundamentally are capacity for the world as it appears to us. We are what the world, as it appears to us, happen within and as. We are what this human self, the wider world, and any other content of experience, happen within and as.
That’s the essence of what we may discover.
WHAT WE MAY GET FAMILIAR WITH THROUGH AWAKENING
From this, we may become familiar with how to navigate this terrain.
We may explore how it is to live from and as this oneness. How may it look, here and now?
We may notice that parts of our psyche, and sometimes large parts, were formed within separation consciousness and still operate from separation consciousness. And these color our perception and life even when they appear dormant. So how do we invite these parts of us to join in with noticing our more fundamental nature?
We may recognize the nature and function of thoughts more clearly. We realize that thoughts are questions about the world. Their function is to help us orient and navigate in the world. And they cannot hold or reflect any final, full, or absolute truth.
Beyond this, we may also be familiar with certain awakening-related practices and their effects. We may be familiar with exploring sense fields, heart-centered practices, body-centered practices, befriending previously disowned parts of us, and so on.
Someone familiar with these practices may function as a good coach for these practices, whether they notice their nature or not.
The difference is that from awakening, it may be more clear how these practices relate to awakening. We may see more clearly if and how they mimic awakening, and perhaps even what conditions they are medicine for.
WHAT IT DOESN’T GIVE US INSIGHT INTO
What does awakening not give us insight into?
Just about anything that’s not directly related to awakening.
We don’t have any privileged view on the past or future. Or medicine. Or politics. Or anything else.
We may have views that seem reasoned and sensible, and yet, anyone can have that too.
We may be able to sense at a distance, or invite in healing at a distance, or have a sense about certain things in the future, and others can have that too.
Awakening doesn’t give us a special or privileged view into anything apart from awakening.
Note: One interesting case here is our nature vs the nature of reality. Since the world, to us, happen within and as what we are, it will inevitably appear to have the same nature as we do. To us, all of existence will appear as consciousness, or what we can label the divine. And this doesn’t mean the actual nature of all of existence is consciousness. There are hints suggesting just that, but our direct perception doesn’t give us that answer.
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT AWAKENING
There are many misconceptions about awakening, and perhaps especially here in the western world.
Why? Perhaps because it’s relatively unfamiliar to many. We haven’t had access to effective ways for people to explore it for themselves. And people tend to project a lot of hopes and wishful thinking onto it.
One of the misconceptions is that awakening gives us special powers or privileged insights.
It doesn’t. It gives us insight into our more fundamental nature, and that’s – in many ways – more important than all of that.
In everything else, we are just like anyone else.
One of the old misconceptions about awakening is that it somehow gives us special insights into all sorts of things. It doesn’t. It just gives us insights into awakening itself.
So what does it give us insight into?
It gives us some insight into what we more fundamentally are in our own first-person experience. It can give us an insight into the function of thoughts – as questions and provisional guides to orient in the world and not anything that holds any final, full, or absolute truth.
If we have additional insights into how the mind combines sense fields to create its experience of the world, the effects of various forms of meditations and practices, and so on, that comes from experience. It comes from actually engaging in those practices. And many others, where there may not be a clear or stable awakening, may also have a lot of valuable experience with those practices.
What are some of the many things it doesn’t give us any special insight into?
Just about anything else. It doesn’t tell us anything about cosmology or how anyone should live their life and so on. All those are, at most inferences and guesses.
If someone has experience with awakening and perhaps related practices, that’s what that person can give you guidance on. Not anything else, unless they happen to have expertise in some other area.
Awakening is just like just about any other field we may happen to have experience with. We may be familiar with that area and can guide people in that type of exploration. And that’s about it.
I go to a car mechanic for help with my car. An engineer for help with building a bridge. A landscaper for garden work. A heart surgeon for heart surgery. Someone familiar with awakening for guidance in that area. And so on.
A don’t go to someone familiar with awakening for advice on anything else. And if they give unsolicited advice on other areas of life, I don’t see it as any more valuable than the advice I could get from anyone on the street.
Since, to us, the world happens within and as what we are, it inevitably appears as if our nature is the nature of all of existence. It appears as if the nature of existence is consciousness, or what we can label the divine. This is an appearance, and we don’t know for certain it’s that way.