To be awake. What does it mean to be awake? What does it mean to be here and now, to be completely and fully awake? Not to be awake is to be asleep, or half-awake. So much time of our daily life is spent in identification with thoughts and emotions, which inevitably bring about daydreaming. Considering all that, how much time of our lives are we truly awake? There are times when we can be, for our standards, very awake. In those moments it seems that time ceases – there is nothing else but the now, and the consciousness experiencing that eternal moment of life. When a person taps into that, they experience a true joy, possibly realizing that everything they considered happiness up until that moment is of a lesser quality, or not a true happiness at all.
We may say then that at that moment the person experienced a spiritual wakefulness, the wakefulness of life, of consciousness. What they experienced is based on their capacity to experience – what may be the maximum limit for that person could be an incipient level for a fully awakened Being.
How amazingly wonderful it is to become more and more awake, to raise up from the coffin into vibrant beauty of life. To be awake is to sacrifice those aspects within that drag us to sleep, those shadowy elements of our psyche, the heavy load. The following are the words of Buddha from the sacred text od Dhammapada, on wakefulness:
Wakefulness is the way to life.
The fool sleeps as if he were already dead,
but the master is awake and he lives forever.
He watches. He is clear. How happy he is!
For he sees the wakefulness is life.
How happy he is, following the path of the awakened.
With great perseverance he meditates,
seeking freedom and happiness.
So awake, reflect, watch. Work with care and attention.
Live in the way and the light will grow in you.
By watching and working the master makes for himself
an island which the flood cannot overwhelm.
The fool is careless. But the master guards his watching.
It is his most precious treasure.
He never gives in to desire. He meditates.
And in the strength of his resolve he discovers true happiness.
He overcomes desire – and from the tower of wisdom
he looks down with dispassion upon the sorrowing crowd.
From the mountaintop he looks down on those
who live close to the ground.
Mindful among the mindless,
awake while others dream,
swift as a race horse he outstrips the field.
By watching Indra became king of the gods.
How wonderful it is to watch, how foolish to sleep.
The beggar who guards his mind
and fears the waywardness of his thoughts
burns through every bond with the fire of his vigilance.
The beggar who guards his mind and fears his own confusion
cannot fall. He has found the way to peace.