If We Think We Are Awake, We’re Not

Here’s why.

Being awake involves the spontaneous present moment of pure consciousness. It is timeless, as there is nothing else going on in that moment. It is observation without observer to comment. It is actual wakefulness rather than, “I am awake!” When we think that, all we are doing is functioning at a very basic level of existence.

Thinking involves time, going back into the past using memory and then judgement. By the time we have noticed a thought, we have taken many steps away from the moment now.

If we were painting a harbour scene, by the time we had completed a boat, the tide would have gone down or up and the same boat would be in a different position! It is the same with any moment: it cannot be caught but only experienced, and so we have to generalise from memory 🙂

All thought processes take place in the mind. In noticing this, we are dwelling in the past rather than experiencing what is actually going on now. When talking to a non-practitioner, conversation inevitably turns to the material world, memory and emotions.

Can we have thought, and still be awake?

Yes – but if we hang on to the thought and carry it around proudly, we live in a dream world of illusions; we believe everything that is projected at us to be real, just like Plato’s shadow pictures on the cave wall. Even thinking about the Buddha’s teaching and the thought of enlightenment is a dream state.

Waking up is simple but not easy, because of our habitual way of conforming to the collective entertainment business that excites monkey mind.

How do we know if we are awake?
We know nothing!

We are the raw, pure knowingness before anything is known.
We are data before it is analysed by an analyst.
In that moment now, there is merely observation, without an observer.

Notice breathing. In breathing, we do not have to think; the breath is just there. It is the same with pure knowingness. That is what we are, first and foremost. Unfortunately, we give this no value, becoming too excited about what we are doing – and monkey mind jumps all over the place.

Everything in life is hell bent on distracting us. It’s what evil does best, and humanity has been corrupted for thousands of years. The ancients knew all about this. When did you last meet a free thinker? It is not that being distracted is evil in itself, but the intention to distract does much harm to our state of mind.

The good news:
We are free in the moment of seeing this.

That is being awake.

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