What is awakening?
How many people will have an awakening?
What will awakening look like for humanity?
And what is the true purpose of awakening?
These are questions that can’t be definitively answered, even though we see folks in the spiritual community making prophetic declarations that they know what is happening in what is being called an “awakening of humanity,” or “the collective” as it’s often referred to.
I guess all we can accurately say is many of us are feeling something happening. We sense our own energy changing, and we have this visceral feeling that humanity’s status quo, our way of living, is ready to change and transform—it must change and transform.
On the individual level, many of us no longer want to be triggered by small, human dramas—which means we no longer want to feel in conflict with other human beings, our own being, or the flow of life, itself. We don’t want these feelings of worry, fear, and frustration to be the main influences of our lives. We sense that more peace and ease are possible, and we’re motivated to get to that place. We know that this constant state of stress and anxiety doesn’t lead to anything good, and it isn’t even necessary in the first place. We have this sense that a more open and collaborative way of being could be our go-to in how we experience human life.
We feel ready to awaken to a visceral reality of nonsuffering, so we can embody it. And it’s this readiness that we should bow down to and thank with all of our hearts—because this readiness is what propels us toward the awakening we’re seeking.
Elizabeth Gilbert writes in her book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, “I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with the person in question finally getting tired of their own bullsh*t.” I really hope what we’re observing right now is a collective tiring of our own bullsh*t. But we don’t know how any of this is going to play out. And that is part of the awakening process—letting go of believing we can predict the future, and letting go of an idea that there’s a right or wrong way for things to happen.
Awakening requires more humility than we once imagined possible—and we need to stay humble because we don’t know what is happening.
Things are the way they are, and when we approach this not from apathy or cynicism, but with our eyes wide open, observing and reflecting, we find wonder and awe. When we add compassion and empathy to our observations, we get a feedback loop of love, which allows us to receive higher frequencies of intuition and knowledge.
Awakening is not wishful thinking. It’s not imaging that everything will be exactly how we want to design it. You can’t design your life with your mind. Instead, awakening is an opening, an unfolding, a surrendering with ease to the exact experience that is in front of us, and a knowing that even as we accept it and melt into it, it will morph into something new that we also can’t control. There is a river of life flowing, not because of our ego, or our mind’s design, but that we’re nonetheless an exact match for.
Awakening isn’t faking that everything is good and positive, and that evil and bad don’t exist. Dark and the light; easy and hard; kind and cruel—these are all a part of this great web of existence, and this multitude of forces is being played out at all times.
As we awaken, we see all of this, and we choose to interact with it from our highest intentions. Ram Dass’ guru, Maharaji, said that we should, “Love everyone and tell the truth.” They’re wise words for how to be in relationship with the human messiness that we never stop encountering.
But still, awakening is not about never hurting other people’s feelings, or always being right. Awakening isn’t even about never having pain, being immune to suffering, or not feeling emotions. The reason our awakening can’t be any of these things is because it is not the reality of what it means to be human.
Awakening is complete humanness.
It’s fully being human, and not just human in the physical dimension, but human as a full, spiritual being with access to all the realms and dimensions our soul is capable of expanding into. The human experience is not only material, so we need to stretch past our physicality and grow into our full soul capacity. The awakening journey sends us in this direction. This is what it means to have union between spirit and body. We are both an infinite soul that can inhabit all dimensions at any time, and we are finite in this material form.
Rabbi Yoel Glick explains that, “We have come into this world to evolve and grow as souls. Conjunct to this purpose, we also are born with a specific spiritual task to fulfill in the plan of God. Some of us have a major role or part to play on the stage of life’s drama, and others have a smaller role behind the scenes, but all of us are part of the plan, and all of us contribute toward the goal of moving humanity forward in its evolution.”
Human evolution is a sh*tshow. Accidents, mistakes, miscommunications, sickness, and of course death—these are daily occurrences. Human evolution is downright dirty and difficult. It just is. Just like a dog is not suddenly going to stop barking or having four legs, being human will not stop being a messy experience. Being born certainly is, and dying is, and so much of the in-between is, as well. Awakening is waking up to this reality of existing in a flaw-filled, messy realm of humanness, and no longer needing to be angry, vengeful, or resistant to this natural reality.
Awakening is not the end of the mess, and the sooner this is accepted, the sooner we can create space within ourselves for peace with it all.
It could be possible that when we’re not in human form, and this energy essence within us is in another place, realm, or dimension, more perfection exists. I don’t know the answer to this. But while we’re wearing a human meat suit, expect problems. It’s just from an awakened viewpoint they aren’t problems anymore, but instead opportunities your consciousness is having.
The awakened experience is not synonymous with being all-knowing. It isn’t having a super-computer brain that has a cognitive understanding of the entire universe: How many chakras do we have? Are aliens contacting us in our dream state? What happens after we die? Are dragons real? Are my loved ones waiting for me in the afterlife? These aren’t questions we can ever answer with complete confidence, probably because there isn’t one answer. Also, things are always changing and shifting, so an answer we might perceive in this moment could already be false in the next moment.
However, as we open to our curiosity and become more expansive, we’re going to have experiences and interactions that could be described as “beyond human” or not ordinary. We might connect with angels, spirit guides, or souls in the afterlife. We might have a sense of connecting with energies from other galaxies, often called aliens, galactics, or ETs. We might meet power animals or have an out-of-body experience. This is one of the gifts the awakening experience offers. But these interactions and travels are not the end-all and be-all of awakening. They are also just experiences of being human.
Awakening reveals to us what this human form is capable of, and these types of spiritual or metaphysical experiences are some of the things we can have as humans—and they are worth exploring. Being a mystic explorer traveling the galaxies and dimensions, looking around at what’s happening through astral travel, and opening our third eye to visions and infinite possibility—how incredible! But just as going on a trip to the African continent as a North American or European must be mind-bending, you would know as you experienced Africa that this was only your perception, and not the truth of others visiting Africa, or the absolute truth of Africa itself. As we have out-of-the-ordinary mystical experiences, they’re also filtered through our own karma, energy, and beliefs of that moment. Our perceptions aren’t certain accuracy.
And awakening isn’t even knowing what awakening is. It is embracing a type of openness so we can let go of thinking we know exactly where we are or what’s happening to us, and instead, just have the moment we’re having without giving it too much extra meaning.
Of course, this has been referred to as living in the moment, or being in the now, but awakening isn’t being robotic about this. It isn’t separating from all emotions or opinions and living in the world like it’s a movie playing that we aren’t connected to. Awakening is the opposite of being disconnected—it is being interconnected.
Awakening is feeling the interconnectedness of all things and all experiences—but without being resentful about being affected by all experiences. Swami Paramananda explained, “When one awakens, they find that they are part of the one great reality and realizes their union with all things.”
And after we do all this awakening work, we must wonder what the outcome is going to be. Are we going to be rewarded for it? Will the suffering end? Will our journey of being human be over once and for all? Is there an awakened state in which we reach Nirvana and step off the hamster wheel of reincarnation and stop coming back as humans?
I guess the only answer to that is we will know when we know, if, by that time, we are even still a consciousness that knows anything at all.