Wakefulness

Erzengel Gabriel, Reni GuidoTo 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.

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Awareness of the present moment

Being aware of the present moment is a very simple exercise, and it is a fundamental beginning of spiritual transformation. By being aware of the present moment, we activate our consciousness, which is what we are beyond our body, personality, thoughts and emotions. By activating it we step outside of constant stream of thoughts and emotions. Most often we are not aware of the present moment, so it’s necessary to apply an effort to be aware. Being in constant daydreams and thinking about the past or the future is much more common state to be in during daily life. There are many thoughts which pass through our mind without us intentionally thinking about them. Those thoughts then activate corresponding emotions which holds us even more in a state of unawareness.

To be aware of the present moment, you have to use your senses. You can start by becoming aware of what you see and observing the environment in which you are. Then start hearing sounds around you. If you are walking – feel the ground under your feet, clothes on your body, feel the heat or cold. Then notice smells and taste.

To be aware of all the five senses at the same time can be difficult, so just try and use senses that you can. Gradually you will be able to use more of them. Someone once said something that helped me to better understand awareness practice, and that was: “Just surrender yourself to the present moment.” So, feel yourself being in the here and now, and use the senses to ground yourself in this eternal moment. It’s very enjoyable to  have separete awareness practices, such as going for walks (preferably in nature) where you can put all your attention to this practice.

Being aware of the present moment doesn’t mean that one should stop thinking. Using the mind to think is necessary and we could not live our life without it. However, there is a difference between consciously using our mind to think, and having involuntary random thoughts racing through our mind at every second.

The awareness practice is the beginning of a spiritual journey to become more conscious and more in tune with the spiritual side of us. As such, it improves our system on all levels – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. It benefits us in all spheres of life, regardless of our cultural background or occupation. By being aware, out attention is placed on the outside world and we do things more efficiently and more quickly; it improves all our relationships and we start to understand other people more; dreams get more clear and meaningful, which opens us more for teachings from the astral world.

If we make of this practice a normal way of living, then regerdless of how mundane situations can be, life will never again get boring.