A pragmatic approach to awakening

I typically take a pragmatic approach to awakening.

If we have a serious interest in anything, pragmatism tends to make more sense. It’s more grounded than the alternatives, and it’s more likely to give results.

A PRAGMATIC UNDERSTANDING OF AWAKENING

What does a pragmatic understanding of awakening look like?

For me, it means to point to the essence of what awakening is about, in an as simple, direct, and universal way as possible. 

And that means to use a language that is as simple, direct, and universal as possible, and as little dependent on any particular jargon or tradition as possible.

I don’t even like to use the word awakening, but do it here as a shorthand so people will have a rough idea of what the topic is about, and so it more easily can be found in search engines.

When I write, I often have a few questions in the back of my mind: Can I simplify further? Can I get more to the essence? Is this something that would make sense to people from a variety of different traditions? And across times and cultures? 

A PRAGMATIC APPROACH TO FINDING IT FOR OURSELVES

What may a pragmatic approach to exploring awakening for ourselves look like? 

It means to use the approach that has the best chance of working, no matter what we wish to explore or learn. 

For instance… 

Use the tools and approaches that work the best, based on reports from others and our own best judgment. This may and often will change over time, and a combination of approaches can often be effective. (For instance, basic meditation, inquiry, heart-centered approaches, body-centered approaches, and guidelines for living.)

Find and follow the guidance of a good coach. Someone who is familiar with the terrain from their own experience has the skills and personality to guide others, and whom we trust and resonate with. 

If something doesn’t work, let it go and find another approach that works better. Awakening is not about something that may happen in the far future. It’s something we can find and live from here and now, and if an approach doesn’t do that for us, we can find another. (Sometimes, what doesn’t work is our approach and we can refine it with some guidance. Other times, we may need to change the tool.) 

Engage in practices that support the different facets of awakening: Notice what we are. Continue to notice what we are. Live from it. And invite in healing for our human self so it’s easier to live from that noticing in more situations and areas of life. 

Recognize that all of this is an ongoing process without any finishing line or arrival point. 

And perhaps most importantly, approach it with sincerity, honesty, and diligence. Find the sincerity and honesty that’s already here. Clarify your motivations for engaging in this exploration and find the most essential one(s). 

THE BEAUTY IN WHAT’S NOT UNIVERSAL 

Even with a pragmatic intention, and the (limited) simplification and universality that can be expressed through this system, my approach and words will inevitably reflect my own culture, time, and personal experiences.

There is nothing wrong with that. It’s inevitable. And there is a beauty in it. 

We all filter this and anything else through our culture, time, and personality. We all give it our own flavor. We all know the terrain in a slightly different way.

And all of it adds to the collective richness in how we experience, live, and understand it. 


INITIAL OUTLINE

A pragmatic approach to awakening 

  • Understand awakening in a pragmatic way 
    • What we are noticing itself as all there is (to itself) – use a language mostly free of jargon, language that belongs to certain traditions, etc., as universal, direct, and pragmatic as possible
  • Approach awakening pragmatically 
    • Use any tools, approaches, that work 
  • Why pragmatic?
    • More direct, effective, makes the most sense if we are really interested in it
  • What are the alternatives?
    • To engage in fantasies, to take someone’s word for it, to not engage in own exploration

….

As I often write about here, and as is hopefully reflected in what I write, I prefer a pragmatic approach to awakening.

Why? Because if we are serious about exploring awakening for ourselves, a pragmatic approach is what’s most likely to give results. It’s more grounded than the alternatives, including engaging in wishful and fearful thinking and other fantasies.

….

What does a pragmatic understanding of awakening look like?

For me, it means to use a language that is as simple, direct, and universal as possible, and as little dependent on any particular jargon or tradition as possible.

It also means to point to the essence of what awakening is about, in an as simple, direct, and universal way as possible. 

When I write, I often have a few questions in the back of my mind: Can I simplify further? Can I get more to the essence? Is this something that would make sense to people from a variety of different traditions? And across times and cultures? 

…..

I prefer a pragmatic approach to awakening. 

Why? 

Because the alternative is to rely on fantasies, untestable assumptions, and wishful and fearful thinking. 

….

If we have only a casual interest in awakening, then pragmatism is less important. Awakening may not be very central in our life. And we may rely on some wishful and fearful thinking, fantasies, and untestable (or untested) assumptions. And that’s OK. 

….

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