When we have forgotten the truth of who and what we are, we are living unconsciously. Our thoughts and behaviors are taken over by the old habits, patterns, and conditioning of our past. We lose our freedom of choice in how to respond to life. When we are not awake to our true nature, we can be easily triggered by the behavior and words of others and by our circumstances. These moments of discomfort and reactivity can be seen as alarm bells. They remind us to wake up to who and what we are. When we allow our upset feelings and emotional hurts to become our “allies,” we stay on track. They help to remind us that we can shift into the witness position, rather than identifying with any drama that is happening. Instead of getting pulled in by the details of our “human story,” we can choose to be the one shining light on any given circumstance.
Clear Signs of Un-Awakened Living
- blaming others for our unwanted experiences
- judging people or situations as “right/wrong,” or “good/bad”
- wanting to control others
- feeling superior or inferior
- experiencing resistance to what is
- getting emotionally triggered by what others are saying or doing
- needing to express opinions
Clear Signs of Awakened Living
- experiencing oneness and connection
- choosing acceptance and understanding
- feeling comfortable in our “skin”
- understanding a deep sense of belonging
- expressing authenticity and vulnerability
- being unattached to outcomes
- knowing a deep sense of purpose
Living an awakened life is a moment-to-moment experience, which becomes more stabilized over time. There are times when we know ourselves to be pure love, light, and peace, beyond all shadow of a doubt. And there are other moments when we get emotionally triggered and old habits kick in. In those moments, we have forgotten who and what we are. These moments of forgetting are like dark clouds passing over the sun. They are temporary. The sun is still shining behind the clouds; it is just obscured. We can trust that our clarity will return. Behind the clouds of unconscious thought, our clear perception always remains. Our essential self will always be there when the passing clouds have dispersed. As we practice witness consciousness, we have compassion for ourselves even when the clouds appear.
In Jiddu Krishnamurti’s words, “The highest form of human intelligence is to observe yourself without judgment.” When we can do this, we are truly free.