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The Miracle of Direct Awakening: How to Practice Being Awake Right Now

by | Apr 9, 2021 | 1 comment

When we hear the term “spiritual practice,” most of us think of a technique  that is performed repeatedly over a long period of time in order to prepare ourselves to eventually experience a spiritual breakthrough or achieve some future enlightened state. But what if being awake isn’t something we have to wait for? What if awakening can be practiced directly? In this 5-minute clip from an interview on the Spirit Matters podcast, Craig provides a simple yet powerful description of the practice of “direct awakening” and explains how it can help us leap into the miracle of our true nature right now. 

Below the audio is a downloadable MP3, if you’d prefer to engage the content in that way.

Want to download the mp3 version? Click here.

This clip is being used with permission from Spirit Matters Talk. The full interview can be found in audio format on the Spirit Matters podcast page and in video on the Spirit Matters YouTube channel.


Question:

What is the Practice of Direct Awakening and how does it differ from other forms of meditation?

Answer:

There are thousands of different forms of meditation and spiritual practice being taught today.  Some of the most common meditation practices include focusing on the breath, chanting a mantra, observing one’s thoughts or visualizing a sacred image.   

What most of these practices have in common is that the technique itself doesn’t have anything specific to do with catalyzing awakened consciousness in this moment. Rather, these are techniques that you’re doing in the hope that they might bring you to an awakening sometime in the future. Eventually, these practices are supposed to open something up. They take time to get you somewhere, and in that sense, I would call them indirect. The question that drove me to the discovery of direct awakening was, “Could it be possible for us to actually practice being awake when we meditate?”

So my pursuit of this question led me to develop an approach to meditation that I call “ the practice of direct awakening.” Within this general approach, there are numerous different “gateways to awakened consciousness” that we practice. This practice is not just one thing; it’s a dozen things. And what they all have in common is that when you sit down to meditate, you practice stepping into or aligning with one of the natural qualities or characteristics of awakened consciousness. 

Here’s an example of what I mean. Let’s think about how awakened consciousness is different from unawakened consciousness. The Buddha said that one of the things that characterizes unenlightened consciousness is that we’re either grasping or pushing away. We’re either grasping for certain experiences and trying to hold on to positive feelings or we’re pushing away discomfort. This is the basic stance of unenlightened consciousness. 

So enlightened or awakened consciousness, you could say, does the opposite. It doesn’t grasp onto any states or experiences. Even when we step into a profound spiritual experience, from the vantage of awakened consciousness, we simply notice what’s happening. We realize that we don’t need to hold on to anything. In fact, life is much more interesting when we’re not holding on. It’s just flowing and we’re not resisting anything. We’re willing to face everything and just be with everything that is. We’re open, fluid, conscious beings. 

So the question is: can you practice this awakened orientation in meditation? Can you sit down for half an hour and practice not resisting anything that arises?

The idea is to make room for every possible experience that you could have in meditation, from the terrible to the sublime. Anyone who has done a lot of meditation has probably experienced both extremes. In this approach to meditation, you simply make room for all of it, and you don’t hold on to the negative or the positive experiences. You don’t grasp after subtle feelings of bliss. You don’t try to sustain some intense clarity that you experienced. You just let it all come and you let it all go with total ease and flow. I would argue that’s a direct practice of being awake. 

Let’s put it this way: If you can do that for a half an hour, it wasn’t your ego that was doing it. It was your awakened self. The only part of us that can do a practice like that is our own awakened consciousness, which we all have access to—all the time. In fact, I would argue it’s the very consciousness that is hearing or reading these words. It’s the very consciousness that experiences everything you experience in your life.

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1 Comment

  1. Marleen Colangelo

    Oh dear… our egos can come in at any time and help the struggle and the growth….

    That is all I will say. I don’t appreciate too much expounding, I prefer to live life’s gifts. I suppose that I am thinking how I have sat in front of one of my teachers as he would sometimes laugh and say…” every week, 3 times a week, I present perspectives of how to work with your own mind and its demons that keep popping up. I give you different dissertations from the Bhagavad-Gita and the Ramayana, with what the stories imply… but we have to live through it all with the mind that you are a ray of the Sun; The Sun is the ultimate “Light” and you are a reflection of that light, therefore, you a part of that light, and going to Satsang is what helps when you sit with a master who knows, and can set you on the true path. You will be on this path for this life and perhaps many more…but all of these struggles are age old due to the ego. Sitting and learning with a Guru is good company for a virtuous life, and the company that you keep. And we continue to clear the annoyances, distractions, disturbances which pulls us away from our inner light that is always there.” And then, he takes questions, after every one of his allegorical stories and meanings, and our questions come up again and again. He speaks about the glimpses. I hear Craig offering a way to get to Direct Consciousness/Awakening. I wonder…It’s kind and warm and superb when it is with us…and, yes, I believe that we can live it. And I say no more….life is to be lived.

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