Adyashantie's Life After Awakening. When we lose our senses of self, it is as if the entire world has been wiped out. It is that moment when we suddenly realize that our true self is not limited by the tiny sense we had of ourselves.
It is difficult to speak about awakening to truth or reality because it transcends speech. However, it is useful to have some kind of guidepost. One can simply say that awakening is an experience of shifting perceptions. This is the core of awakening. There is a shift in perception from seeing oneself as an isolated individual to seeing oneself, if we have a sense of self at all after this shift, as something much more universal--everything and everyone and every- where at the same time.
This isn't a revolutionary shift. It's like looking at your face in the mirror and knowing that it is your own. It's not a magical experience, it's a simple one. You can see yourself in the mirror and experience the simple recognition that "Oh, this's me." This is the moment when our perceptions shift, which we call awakening. Everything that comes into contact with us becomes ourselves. It's almost as if everything that we see is "Oh, this's me." This doesn't mean we experience ourselves as our ego or another person. It is more of the One recognising itself or Spirit recognising itself.
Spiritual awakening is the act of remembering. It's not about becoming something we are not. It's not about changing ourselves. It's not about changing yourself. It's a way to remember who we are. If the recalling is genuine, it should not be regarded as personal. A "personal" awakening is not possible because it would mean separation. "Personal" would mean that it is the "me", or the ego, that awakens or becomes more enlightened.
True awakening is when it becomes clear that the awakening is not yours. It is the universal Spirit, or universal consciousness, that awakens to itself. Instead of the "me" awakening, what we really are wakes from the "me". What we are awakens from the seeking.
Problem with defini- ing awakening is that after hearing each description, the mind creates another image of the ultimate truth or ultimate reality. Once these images are created, perceptions become distorted again. It's impossible to describe reality's nature in this way. We aren't capable of seeing the reality we live in. Our nature is beyond our imagination. We are that which is watching, that consciousness pretending to be another person. Our true nature is constantly absorbing all experiences, awake to every moment, to every second.
When we awaken, it becomes clear that we are not an entity, a person or a thing. We are that which manifests in all things, all experiences, and all personalities. The whole world dreams of us. Spiritual awakening is the realization that all that is unimaginable and unexplainable is what we actually are.
The Abiding and Non-abiding Awakening
This experience of awakening can either be a brief glimpse or can last for a long time. Some would argue that an awakening can be temporary, but it is not real awakening. Some believe that authentic awakening is when your perception expands to the truth of everything and doesn't close down again. This perspective is understandable, as the entire spiritual journey leads us to full awakening. Full awakening is simply the ability to see from the perspective Spirit, or the view of Oneness, all the time.
This awakened perspective shows that there is no separation anywhere. Not in the universe, in the universe or in all universes. Truth is everywhere and everywhere. It exists in all dimensions for all beings. It is the truth that provides all that can be experienced in life and afterlife, in any dimension.
Everything, whether it is at a higher dimension or lower, here or there, tomorrow or the future, is just a manifestation or the ultimate of Spirit. Spirit is the one who wakes up. The ultimate goal of every being, regardless of their knowledge, is full awakening. It is the path to full understanding, toward an experiential knowledge of who they are, toward unity and toward oneness.
However, the moment of awakening can lead to permanent seeing. Some people will say that awakening isn't real unless it's persistent, as I mentioned. As a teacher, I have seen that both the person who sees the veil of duality for a brief time and the one who is able to see the whole thing as a constant, "abiding" experience are experiencing the same thing. It is something that one person may experience briefly, while another can continue to experience it. If it is true awakening, what is experienced is the same; all of us are one. We are not a specific thing or someone that can be found in a particular place; what we are simultaneously is nothing and everything.
It doesn't matter if an awakening is immediate or continuous, according to me. It matters because there is a path. No one's heart will be fully fulfilled until they perceive truth from the point-of-view of continuous. But what is seen is an awakening.
This glimpse of awakening, which i call nonabiding awakening is more common. It can happen for a few minutes, an hour, a whole day, or even a month. The sense of separate self disappears, and awareness opens up. The person who previously saw true nonduality, true unity, suddenly perceives that they are back in their conditioned senses of self.
It is possible to see clearly again once this moment has passed. Although it may appear that it is closing down, it doesn't. You are never forgotten in the deepest part of your soul. Even if you only see a glimpse of reality, you are still able to change something inside you.
Reality is nuclear; it's incredible powerful. It is unimaginably powerful. It's possible to experience a flash of reality in as little as one finger snap. The energy and force that results is life-altering.
One moment of awakening can lead to the loss of self-deception and then, ultimately, to a complete dissolution of all perceptions of the world.
The Reality of Awakening is Not What You Think It Is
It is more accurate to speak about what you lose when you wake up than what benefits. Not only do we lose who we are, but we also lose our whole perception of the world. Separation can only be a perception. In fact, it is just perception when it comes to our universe. "Your world" is not your reality; it is your perception. It may seem negative at first but it is much more helpful to discuss spiritual awakening in terms what we lose and what we awaken from. This is the loss of our self-image. It's the destruction of our identity that makes it so surprising when we wake up.
It is quite startling that it is not what we expect it to be. I have never heard a student say to me, "You know Adya, Adya, it is exactly what I imagined it would be." It's pretty close to what I was told." Most often they say, "This is not what I imagined."
This is particularly interesting because many of my students have studied spirituality for many decades and often have intricate ideas about how awakening will be. It is always unexpected when awakening happens. It is simple, yet it is more grand than it seems. If awakening is to be real and true, it must be something other than what we envision. Because all of our dreams about awakening occur within the framework of the dream state, When our consciousness is still in the dream state, it is impossible to imagine anything outside of it.
What does Awakening do to Your Life?
Awakening can also bring about a complete reorganization in our perception of life, or at least the beginning of one. Because awakening, although beautiful and incredible, can often bring with it a feeling of disorientation. Even though you have been awakened by the One, you still have your entire human structure, including your body, mind, and personality. This human structure can sometimes feel very disorienting when you awaken.
It is this process after awakening that I am interested in. The moment of awakening is only for a few. In a certain way, it will be complete and there will no need to continue the process. It is possible to say that these people had a very light karmic burden. Even though they might have suffered extreme suffering before awakening one can see that the karmic inheritance (the conditioning they were experiencing) was not too severe. This is extremely rare. This is very rare.
My mantra is to never count on someone being you. It is better to be like everyone else. This means you will go through a process, even though it may seem easy at first. This is not the end of your journey. This is just a guideline that I hope will help you to find the right direction and be helpful as you begin your journey. It's like getting your feet in the front door, as my teacher used to tell me. You don't have to get your foot in front of the light switch to be able to navigate the new world you've discovered.
This book is based upon a series of talks that I have given. It gives me the chance to address this topic--the question of "What happens after awakening." Information about life after awakening is rarely made available to the public. Most often, it is shared only by spiritual teachers and their students. This approach has the problem that many people now experience moments of awakening and have very little coherent teaching. This book is intended to welcome you to the new world, to that state of oneness.