What do you do with Awakening?

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Excerpt from “Better than Sex” by Arjuna Ardagh

Whenever anyone has a moment of true awakening, where awareness genuinely touches into itself, and recognizes itself as infinite and always at peace, it seems to be the end of everything. It is the end of seeking, the end of self-improvement. When you realize, “I am not the person I in-the-clouds-of-rho-ophiuchi_lthought I was, I am actually this vast space,” it becomes clear to the heart, and sounds logical to the mind, that there is nothing to do from here on.

This realization would be more than enough if you were going to spend the rest of your life sitting in a cave with your eyes closed. Just sit. In fact, these are the role models we have inherited from other cultures. Someone has a profound awakening, and then they sit in that awakening and become like a statue. Relationships, sexuality, money, social and political action—all drop away. When you look at someone like that, from India, or Tibet, or China, you may see that the awakened one is sitting doing nothing, completely detached, and then feel that there is something wrong with you, something incomplete about your realization, if it is not the same way.buddha-bokeh_l

But most of us do not live in caves. We have partners, we have children, we have parents and family, we have work, we have things we feel inspired to create, and that is where life gets a little troublesome. You can ask, with your eyes serenely closed, “Who is experiencing all of this?” There is nothing here. Then you tentatively open one eye, and there they all are: your spouse, your teenage children, your boss, and your clients, all waiting for you to do your stuff.

For many of us, there is a natural disposition towards creating, towards involvement, towards participation, towards making a difference. Sure, sitting quietly doing nothing is just fine now and then for an hour or two, or even for a weekend. But as a lifestyle? Nah.

Inner obstacles remain largely latent when you are on retreat, or in meditation, or even on vacation. For example, the obstacles that could arise in parenting will not be activated until you have children. Obstacles around dealing with money do not get activated until you have to make financial decisions. Your relationship issues magically evaporate when you live alone. So, in many Oriental cultures, the solution has been to not have children, to not deal with money, to try not to think about sex, and then, hopefully, you won’t have to deal with obstacles. For most of us, in the last few dlookout-1_lecades, this method of trying to graduate from the curriculum by not showing up for class has become unattractive.

If you choose to remain in the game, or if destiny chooses it for you, then you might want to discover what actually gets in the way of remaining as this spacious awareness while engaged in ordinary life.

 

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