The very moment we (pure awareness/pure consciousness) disengage from identifying with the dreaming of the chattering mind. When we are distracted and occupied by thinking, or spaced out and vacant, the moment ‘now’ is obscured by a dream state and we lose the clarity of wakefulness.
The moment ‘now’ can easily be misunderstood – and likewise, too easily understood – and we miss the point. Wakefulness is sustained experience without an ‘I’ and without effort. Wakefulness is naturalness – which reveals how unnatural we have become. As it is ordinary, we might think, “Is that all? Has my life changed?” It has changed, but we need to become familiar with this separation, this detachment of seeing and experiencing, stepping back from situations. This stepping back, this pause, is the non-reaction of clarity…being awake instead of habitually diving in with “the same old, same old”. It is an enriching experience of personal investigation. When we become proficient in recognising the arising of thoughts, thought and pure awareness are simultaneous; the two truths are a unity.
The phrase, ‘too easily understood’ appertains to the fact that we need to be aware of mere intellectual understanding – “heard that, know that”. There is a danger that the truth, when pointed out, is so obvious that we feel we’ve known it all along. This is actually true, but even so, we can still be in confusion, because words are so simple to say, but not so easily understood. We hear, and think we know, but we are unaware of eternal knowingness; knowingness without knowing something!
Take mindfulness meditation: this can be confused with awareness meditation which, in certain contexts, may be seen as the same – but it’s not. We use mindfulness as a reminder to be aware. When we are aware, we do not have to keep being mindful, as this works against itself and we become too ‘self’ aware. Upon waking up, we don’t have to doubt whether we are actually awake.
Another example relates to the use of the word ‘consciousness’: we may ask someone, “Are you conscious?” and they will reply, “Of course I am!” But is this consciousness (perception) impure consciousness (involving judgement and memory) or pure consciousness (complete detachment without indifference)?
If consciousness is merely sensory perception, judgement and memory, then this is the mechanical, sentient nature of all creatures; it is impure consciousness because it involves an ‘I’ – a personal identity as opposed to pure consciousness. “I am” as opposed to am/is/pure being.
Has waking up changed my life?
It has changed because life is now different. We find situations the same with all their mess, but now we can clean it up, by addressing our karmic reactions. Waking up is the first step towards enlightenment; it’s being half a buddha. Having purified our habitual reactions, exhausting karma is the other half of the equation – full Buddha!
The Buddha was logical.