Waking Up To a New Reality: Living with Awareness
I wrote a poem based on a Zen tradition and it describes aspects of enlightenment:
I wake up,
rain washes the trees,
smells are fresh,
spring is abounding now,
then I wake to the illusion
Enlightenment is about waking up to the reality that life isn’t real. It’s merely an illusion, an extended dream. Our minds create a reality, saying “This is real, everything is real, I am real.” Instead of just witnessing life and being aware of it, we identify with our lives and take them on as an identity.
Enlightenment is like seeing the world through the moon and then all of a sudden, the sun arises and we see the real world through the sun. Everything that we’ve imagined to be real through the glow of the moon pales in comparison to what we see through the sun or through enlightenment.
When enlightenment occurs, our minds become quiet, they become still. In that stillness, we can see and experience what truly is without labels, because the truth is beyond anything the mind can grasp. It is so far beyond anything. We may see shadows, like the moon that casts shadows, but once the sun appears that which is becomes truly illuminated and is far beyond anything that the moon can reveal to us. When our minds become still, we see and experience everything through enlightenment. It is then that we are aware of things. Through this awareness, we learn to just be.
We stop getting involved with the things of the world. It’s like when we’re having a dream and all of a sudden we realize, “Oh! This is a dream!” It’s entertaining but we don’t get caught up in it. I had a dream this morning and about halfway into the dream I realized that I was dreaming. I didn’t stop the dream; I was enjoying it and it was pleasant, but I realized I was dreaming, it wasn’t real, so I just allowed myself to experience it.
Enlightenment works in the same way. We realize that our life and world which we identify as ours are just an illusion. That which is real creates the world, comes before it, has always been and will always be. The world is so much like an extended dream; it seems real but when we wake up we realize “Oh! This is just a very extended dream.” You can enjoy the ups and downs, but you don’t have to identity with them. You can just witness them, experience them, but don’t take them on as yours or as real. They’re illusionary and temporary; they will pass.
The supreme self, who we ultimately are, will never pass, can never go away, always has been, always will be and always is. When we awaken to this truth, we can relax and just enjoy this dream life. We participate in, watch and be aware of it, but we don’t get as engaged in it. Even if engagement happens, we realize that it happens spontaneously just as in our dreams. We can be very engaged in our dreams, but we realize that the dreams are temporary and they will pass. We, the witness to the dream, will not pass because we always have been and always will be. We should try to just be.
However long we may live, we become aware that this experience will pass and it’s only temporary. That which is permanent is who we are. When we identify with that, it’s a lot like our body: our hearts beat, we breathe, our circulatory system works, and sometimes we’re aware of it, but mostly we just let all those functions carry out spontaneously.
Awakening is a very spontaneous way of living. The world exists because we’re dreaming it. We are the dreamer of this reality that seems so real. Identify with the dreamer and stop getting caught up in the illusionary, temporary world. Watch it, spontaneously flow with it and wake up.
This life works in time and space. We, however, are timeless and space-less. As in a dream, nothing happens to us; everything just happens. We witness the dream but we don’t identify with those in the dream. Events and life just happen spontaneously.
Words can’t describe who we are because the mind can’t conceptualize it, but pointers can be used. Things like stillness or complete silence, or the supreme, ultimate reality, are pointers to who we are. There’s only one way of reaching knowledge of who we are, however, and that’s just to be who we are. The emphasis is on just being. When we do this, we wake up to our true selves and we stop identifying with the “I”, “me” and “we.” We identify with everything we see so that everything is an extension of who we are. Nothing would exist if we weren’t, and we realize that.
I believe I have found that spontaneously, love arises in this awareness and awakening. Love spontaneously arises when we wake up. As long as we identify with the beings in the dream, then struggle, pain and suffering can continue. When we realize that everyone and everything is illusionary, they are just empty shells that shall pass, then we wake up to who we are and all is well. Forms, substances, space, time – they’re all just a play of the mind. The reality is, when we wake up, reality is one. It is all there is. Wake up from the dream.
Dr. Robert Puff, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, author, international speaker, and meditation expert who has been counseling individuals, families, nonprofits, and businesses for over twenty years. A contributing writer to Psychology Today, he has authored numerous books and creates a weekly podcast on happiness at www.HappinessPodcast.org He also creates a weekly podcast on meditation, http://www.MeditationForHealthPodcast.com and a weekly podcast on spiritual enlightenment, http://www.EnlightenmentPodcast.com His retreat schedules can be found at http://www.HolisticRetreats.tv You also might find his blog useful at http://www.Meditation-Enlightenment.com If you are interested in having Dr. Puff speak to your organization or company, you can learn more about his speaking services at http://www.SuccessBeyondYourImagination.com