Waking From Sleep: Why Awakening Experiences Occur and How to Make them Permanent~ Steve Taylor

From time to time, we all have moments when we feel completely and blissfully alive; moments when the world around us becomes more real and beautiful, when an atmosphere of harmony seems to pervade everything, when we feel one with nature and a feeling of intense well-being fills us. These are sometimes called spiritual experiences, or higher states of consciousness – but I prefer to call them ‘awakening experiences.’

I believe that normal human consciousness is a kind of ‘sleep’ which we wake up from in these moments. Most human beings are asleep in the sense that we normally perceive the world in an automatic way, so that a lot of time we don’t pay attention to our surroundings, and aren’t able to sense the is-ness and alive-ness of the world. We are asleep in the sense that we see all things as separate to each other, and experience ourselves as separate entities, as egos enclosed in our mental space with the rest of the world ‘out there.’ In sleep, life appears meaningless, and the universe can seem an indifferent and even hostile place.

But in my book Waking From Sleep, I suggest that this state of sleep is a psychological aberration, and it is natural and normal for us to be ‘awake.’ Many of the world’s indigenous peoples live in a state of wakefulness: they naturally possess(ed) a heightened perception, a sense of the aliveness of things and, an awareness of spirit-force pervading the world. Young children are naturally awake too. They see the world in a much more real and intense way than adults, experience a powerful natural well-being and often have intense spiritual experiences, where they become one with the world, or see it pervaded with an intense spiritual radiance.

As we grow into adults, we lose this natural wakefulness. This is due to the development of the ego. Our adult egos become too strong and powerful; they give us a strong sense of individuality and separateness, and so create a powerful barrier between us and the world. As a structure, and through their constant activity, they use up a massive amount of energy, leaving little energy available for us to put into perception, resulting in the automatic perception I described earlier. The development of the ego creates a ‘fall’ away from the natural wakefulness of children and indigenous peoples.

However, human beings have always sensed that their normal consciousness is limited and sought temporary awakening experiences. In Waking From Sleep, I examine the methods which we have used throughout history to induce the experiences: e.g. fasting, sleep deprivation, psychedelic drugs, meditation, nature, sex, sports and music. I also examine the paradox of how the experiences can be triggered by intense mental and emotional turmoil, and how the simple presence of an enlightened person can generate them.

I suggest that awakening experiences have two basic sources: they can be caused by a dramatic change to our normal physiology or brain chemistry (e.g. through fasting, sleep deprivation or drugs) or through what I call an ‘intensification and stilling of life-energy,’ through meditation, yoga, general relaxation, listening to music, etc.

If we know what causes them, we should be able to generate awakening experiences whenever we desire. But ultimately, we need to make wakefulness our normal state again. We can attain a permanent state of wakefulness by creating a new state of being in which our life-energy is permanently intensified and stilled. This means changing the structure of our psyche, so that the ego is no longer as powerful, and no longer monopolises our energy.

In Waking From Sleep, I suggest five essential practices which will change the structure of our psyche and create a state of permanent wakefulness: meditation, mindfulness, moderation, detachment and service.

We need to wake up for ourselves, to become free of the illusion of separation and of the psychological discord which fills our lives with suffering, and so that we can stop squandering our lives and our potential in discontent, anxiety and conflict. We need to wake up for the sake of the human race as a whole, in order to free ourselves from the social chaos and conflict which have blighted the last few thousand years of history. The only possibility the human race has of living in harmony – without warfare, inequality, and the oppression of women and different ethnic groups and social groups – is through transcending the over-developed ego which gives rise to conflict. We also need to wake up for the sake of the earth. The only sure way to avoid ecological catastrophe and learn to live in harmony with nature is to transcend our sense of separation to it, and become able to sense its alive-ness and sacredness.

View Here Steve Taylor’s
Waking from Sleep: Why Awakening Experiences Occur and How to Make them Permanent

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Consciousness doesn’t have Relationships ~ Rupert Spira Q & A

Thilo: What is the real relationship between brain, spirit and consciousness, or could one say that the human being with a functional brain is the prerequisite of consciousness being aware of itself?

I’m currently reading the German edition of your Book “The Transparency of Things”. I have one question in my mind, which I even asked Eckhart Tolle but didn’t get an answer. I think he gets to many question to answer them all. May be I have more luck asking you.

If the subject, I, mind/body, makes an experience of an object, which, as you expressed in your book is an illusion, because subject and object are the same pure consciousness, what happens if there is a physical defect preventing this experience.

Rupert : Whatever is experienced, is experienced by consciousness. A so-called normal person, a blind person, a person with Alzheimer’s, a dog, an ant, a bird, a flea…..whatever is known or experienced by each of these creatures is known or experienced by consciousness. In other words, a person does not know; it is known.

If the brain is impaired, thoughts will be affected, but the consciousness that knows the thought remains the same. Consciousness is independent of the condition of the body and mind. Therein lies its innate peace and freedom.

T: For example, a blind person does not see a flower, he or she could not see the beauty of the flower.

R: Beauty cannot be seen. It is that which sees or experiences. The experience of beauty is the transparent recognition of our own being. It is always available, whatever the condition of the body or mind.

T: The visual experience is not possible, but the blind person is consciousness too.

R: You are starting with a model that presumes the independent existence of objects or world and then trying to fit the non-dual understanding into it. It doesn’t fit! You are presuming that there are things such as independent stones and blind people and then trying to imagine that they are both equally consciousness. But there is no such thing as a blind person or a stone as they are normally conceived, that is, as separate individual entities.

T: Further if a person has a brain defect, he could not think over the form of experience, as you did in your book. Everything you wrote down in your book was possible because you have a functioning brain. You have been thinking over the form of experience. You could not have written one note on this if that were not case. Doesn’t this mean the consciousness or the self awareness of consciousness is tied to a functioning brain.

R:
The consciousness or the self awareness of consciousness is not tied to a functioning brain. Consciousness knows itself by itself, through itself, in itself and as itself, without the need of a human mind. And its knowing of itself is not something that comes and goes. It knows itself alone, eternally. In other words, the recognition of consciousness has nothing to do with the condition of the mind. It is already the case, even when there is no mind.

T: Imagine a person with Alzheimer, which could not stay in present awareness or even watch their own thoughts arising.

R: There is no question of a ‘normal’ mind or one with Alzheimer ‘staying’ in present awareness. Awareness does not sometimes remain in itself and sometimes leave itself. It is ‘always’ (not always in time but eternally now) ‘in’ itself. It is only thought that imagines consciousness goes in and out or off and on. Likewise, there is no possibility of a person being out of awareness. The only place a person can appear is in awareness.

T: A stone in is essence may be consciousness as every other form appearing in the space. But the stone does not know this, or is not self aware of that fact. I suppose that an animal is not aware that it is pure consciousness in is essence.

R:
A stone in is not “in essence, Consciousness.” That is to start with an object, such as a stone, and consider it to be impregnated with consciousness like a sponge is saturated with water. It’s not like that. Nobody has ever experienced a stone, as it is normally conceived, that is, an an object existing independently in its own right. All we know of the stone, and indeed of the world, is perceiving. In fact, even that is not true….all we know is the ‘knowing of perceiving.’ And that knowing is made of consciousness alone. In other words, all that is known is consciousness and it is consciousness that knows itself. There are no objects, as such, to be either permeated or not permeated with consciousness. There is only consciousness.

Whatever is known is known by neither a stone, an animal or a human being. It is consciousness alone that knows. Stones, animals and human beings are known (apparently); they do not know.

T: What is the real relationship between brain, spirit and consciousness, or could one say that the human being with a functional brain is the prerequisite of consciousness being aware of itself?

R: Consciousness doesn’t have relationships. In order to have a relationships there must be two objects (duality). Consciousness does not know duality; it does not even know an object (although, as a half way stage, we may say that consciousness is conscious of objects). The only way consciousness knows an apparent object is by being it, in which case the object ceases to be an object. That is, there is never an object there to begin with. In other words, the way that consciousness knows ‘something’ is in identity, not in relationship. In other words, consciousness doesn’t know objects. Its way of knowing is far more intimate than that. Another name for this kind of knowing is ‘love.’

Living Mindfully: At Home, at Work, and in the World by Deborah Schoeberlein David (Author), David Panakkal MD (Contributor)

Learn to live a life that’s good–for yourself and for the world.

Like a wise friend or kind teacher, Deborah Schoeberlein David–educator, meditator, and mother–walks you through a complete, easy-to-follow curriculum of mindfulness practice.

Beginning with the very basics of noticing your breath, David shows how simple mindfulness practices can be utterly transforming. Each practice builds on the previous exercise like a stepping stone, until you have the tools to bring mindfulness into every aspect of your life including sex, parenting, relationships, job stresses, and more.

This is an approachable guide for anyone who desires positive change.

Deborah Schoeberlein David is a teacher, education consultant and curriculum developer. Deborah’s most recent book is Living Mindfully: At Home, At Work and in the World (Wisdom, 2015). AN earlier title, Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness: A Guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything (Wisdom Publications, 2009), is now in its fourth reprint and has been translated into Spanish and Korean. Deborah’s other publications include multiple articles in professional journals and trade magazines; and online postings, including more than 60 blogs for the Huffington Post.

Read Sample HERE

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