Once the awakening happens, it is impossible to go back to the old way of life. But how do we know if the real awakening has happened? Or is the mind playing just another trick?
There’s no foolproof answer to this question. The only way to know is that when the understanding deepens, one experiences peace in daily living, experiences harmony in relationships, irrespective of the situation around.
The mind settles down, questions disappear, and awakened ones feel comfortable with who they are and the uncomfortable aspects of themselves. Even the aspects that show up as irritation and discomfort from the depths of the personal shadow.
It feels like waking up from a dream in which the subject experiencing multiple objects of experience is the one finite mind.
On waking up after the dream, the mind realizes that the subject-object split was illusory and that reality is one consciousness that witnesses all the three states: waking, dreaming, and deep sleep.
In the waking state, the consciousness is identified (ego). In the dream state, it is partially identified. And in a deep sleep, the consciousness, unidentified with the ego, witnessing the absence of sensory inputs and thoughts. The witness is common and forms the substratum of all three states.
Upon spiritual awakening, witnessing begins to happen in the waking state. The witness is the impersonal aspect of consciousness that witnesses all phenomena in duality without reaction or judgment.
It’s just like seeing the movement of traffic on the road. The cars appear and stop at the red light, stay put for some time, and then disappear. Then another car appears, and the same thing repeats.
Witnessing happens similarly. Thoughts, feelings, and emotions arise from nowhere, play for some time, and disappear in the same “nowhere.” The reason why judgment doesn’t happen in witnessing is that there’s no individual observing the thoughts. Observation is in time, but witnessing happens spontaneously.
Spiritual awakening is freedom from dualistic concepts while living in duality. It doesn’t mean that we become perfect human beings and that no reaction or judgment ever happens. Reactions and judgment happen even to the awakened people, but even that is witnessed.
In awakened beings, the mind’s afflicting content does not propagate in time and create suffering.
Spiritually awakened people don’t get caught up in thoughts. They live in the present. They see events and situations for what they are rather than labeling them as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, and so forth. The moment we label something, we are already diverted from the present moment.
They don’t see the world events from a limited perspective but witness them with complete acceptance and a sense of surrender. It is not the egoic surrender that claims to have surrendered but a profound realization that is reflected in the individual’s actions.
For example, they show compassion even towards those who disagree with them. Awakened people unconditionally accept that good and evil are polar opposites in duality.
Awakened people are not necessarily “nice” or feel-good people. They are honest about their shortcomings and flaws, and they don’t see themselves as superior or inferior to the unawakened ones. They know that it is the same consciousness that runs through all.
“I’d rather be whole than good”Carl Jung.
They may dislike other people or choose to remain reclusive, but they don’t create feelings of hate and malice towards them. Similarly, they may show compassion, but they don’t create strong attachments in relationships, friendships, and associations.
Awakened people don’t get caught in concepts, ideologies, beliefs, and they don’t force their opinions on other people. It is a misconception that awakened people are happy all the time.
On the contrary, They carry an intense burden of karma that sometimes causes them tremendous pain, but it never translates into suffering. Awakened people follow their own path without caring much about what others think of them.
And in doing so, they struggle with their own issues, which is an inevitable part of being a human. However, they never get involved and stick to the story of their suffering.
They don’t draw too much attention to themselves and quietly do their work. Not all awakened people teach, but they find means to impart wisdom somehow. They can’t help it cause they carry a tremendous amount of energy that needs an outlet for their mind and body to sustain life.
They never claim that they’re making a sacrifice by helping others. They don’t “do” anything per se but simply point people inwards so that they can see the truth themselves.
Ramana Maharshi was once questioned as to why he is teaching people to sit and do nothing when there’s so much to do in the world. And to that, he replied that it is your assumption that I’m not doing anything.