What does it take to wake up?
What does it take to wake up?
It takes an unconditional longing for freedom. I am not talking about relative freedom; freedom from psychological or physical pain. No, I am talking about the absolute freedom which is the freedom from ignorance! And what is ignorance? It is the belief that “I am the doer”. But when there is an uncompromising longing to become free from ignorance there is a big chance that it will happen, although there can be no guarantee in this matter. You cannot just say, “Yes I want total freedom” and then you get it. The deep and true longing for total freedom arises in most of us after we have suffered the illusion of relative freedom.
Many people believe that they are looking for the absolute freedom but in reality they are looking for more self-love, self-esteem, meaningfulness, and so on. Yes, a byproduct of clarity or awakening is self-love. But it is not the love for a separate “me”; it is a love arising out of a deep, deep gratefulness for realizing the godliness of our true nature. The same is the case with self-esteem. It will not be the little “me” that feels better and more important. No, a trust will arise that has no conditions because unconditional trust is another word for who we really are. Here we cannot use words like “meaningfulness” as opposed to “meaninglessness”. Who we are is not something relative – it is a reality that goes beyond all dualities.
A shift can sometimes happen if it is a question of life and death. When nothing else has any importance we may realize “My God, I thought I was looking for the truth but it is the truth that is looking for me!” When this happens, when this deep insight arises from the depth of our heart, we are very close to the realization that we are the truth itself. Truth is not inside nor outside anybody because there is no “anybody”.
When it came to this point in my search I just cried and cried every time I came close to my last master, Hansraj Maharajji. I felt embarrassed, but what to do because I also knew that the truth I was seeking was surfacing from deep within me, and it came as crying. Maharajji was a mirror for that truth in me, but he was not really doing anything to me – I just saw him. Seeing him I saw myself! And it was the same with my previous spiritual masters. Osho was not doing anything to me, Papaji was not doing anything to me; they where my mirrors.
So awakening can happen when there is an unconditional longing for the truth. Life will provide the means to bring it about, because the outer is a reflection of the inner and it is very likely that you will start to meet awakened souls. I am reminded of the story from the life of the American Ram Das. He went to India, the land of the awakened souls, and there he met his spiritual master Neem Karoli Baba. It was a very profound experience for Ram Das and when he came back to America he wrote a book about this meeting. He also started to travel all over USA to talk about his experience in India. This was in the late sixties and a great number of hippies went to India to see this great teacher. But many of them could not find Neem Karoli Baba! Why? Because it was not time for them to have such a mirror! In India they even have an old saying that illustrates this: “when the disciple is ready the master appears”
When the clarity starts to manifest then a new journey starts, and that is to “stay as the clarity!” It will come and go and we will have to learn to come back to it. Mindfulness and presence can be of great help and so is the ability to stay open. To be like an open hand and not a closed fist is also important because the truth is like that every moment. Every experience is a “package” whose content is “That”. Every moment the Divine – our true nature – comes dancing as something. If we start to fight or grasp anything that is coming we will lose its content – which is our Enlightenment. Another way, that also can help us to stay as clarity, is to remember the awakened people we have been with. This can also take us there in a moment.