Let me start off by defining “awake”.
I don’t mean it to be the opposite of sleeping.
In a nutshell, I use it as a term to describe a state of consciousness where a person is aware of their inner presence, the constructs of their ego, the vessel that is their body, and the true nature of surrounding people and things.
This is a conscious level we all like. Here are some of the primary symptoms of being awake:
You’ll experience a profound love for yourself, peace with the world, a sense of abundance, compassion towards everything and everybody, recognition of of truth without judgement, and a general feeling of wellness, inside and out.
Sometimes we find this state viewing a breathtaking natural beauty. Sometimes it comes to us after an experience that could have resulted in death or serious injury. It can be found in a long, open conversation, in a religious ceremony, a yoga practice, a walk in the woods, or the occasional completely still moment.
The question is; how do we capture that and apply it to our daily lives?
The question presents a sort of catch 22. You see, attempting to grasp this sense of presence will chase it away. Trying to force it will defeat it. It simply won’t work.
Here’s a few things that will work. ;)
1. Remember that everything you experience is something you helped create.
The Law of Attraction is a very popular concept for a reason.
Whatever you are focusing on in your mind, whatever you are speaking about with your words, and whatever you are doing with your time will result in the attraction of those very things into your life. That’s great when you’re attracting money, your soul-mate, or a cure for your illness, but the flip side is that EVERYTHING in your life is there because you participated in its creation. That includes the less-than-pleasing aspects. Horrible job you hate? You attracted it. Horrible boyfriend/girlfriend? You helped create it.
Among the keys to maintaining a high level of consciousness is releasing the victim mentality and accepting responsibility for the life YOU created.
2. There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. –William Shakespeare
If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there to witness it, is it a good or bad thing?
The labels “good” & “bad” are man-made. They are not inherent in people, things, or situations.
Rain, for instance.
“It’s so terrible, this rain is ruining my day. I had big plans to go out and spend the day outdoors.”
“I love the rain! I just want to sit inside and read books whenever it’s raining!”
Is the rain a good or a bad thing?
It’s just rain.
The way you choose to think about it defines its effect on your life.
This applies to everything you experience.
3. It’s Never Personal
From the ridiculous “Traffic was so terrible, today is not my day!” to the slightly more complicated “My boss doesn’t seem to like me, he always gives me worst assignments”, taking a circumstance personally is a surefire way to lower your level of consciousness.
By personal, I mean that another consciousness (usually a person) is spitefully and maliciously causing you difficulty, pain, and suffering for no other reason than that they don’t like you.
Circumstances are never personal. When your car breaks down, it’s nothing personal. When it rains on your barbecue, it’s not a slight. When traffic takes forever, it simply is what it is.
Similarly, yet somewhat more difficult to grasp, nothing another person does is ever personal.
To truly understand this, we must define a few aspects of a person.
The first is the person’s actual Presence, their life energy, what I call a soul.
The second is what Eckhart Tolle has dubbed the Pain Body, and I find this term quite apt. The Pain Body is a negative energy construct within the mind that feeds on pain of any kind, and therefore seeks to generate pain of every kind.
I believe that, if you examine closely, you will find that a person’s soul has never one time intentionally caused suffering for another soul. It’s not in our nature.
And, of course, there’s nothing personal about someone’s Pain Body assaulting us. That’s like getting stung by a bee or contracting a rash from poison ivy.
4. Accept What Is
Expectation truly is the root of all heartache.
Plans and preconceived notions are the cold blooded killers of present moment joy.
How often have you set an expectation of an event, a place, or a person, only to find disappointment?
Imagine this: It’s your birthday tomorrow. You have been anxiously awaiting for this day to come for weeks, months. You know that your family is throwing you a surprise party, because you overheard some of your friends talking about it. You picture the party in exquisite detail inside your head.
It will be at the community center, everything decorated in blue, your favorite color, you’ll be wearing that new outfit you got this weekend, and, of course, someone will have invited your heartthrob, the person you’ve been trying to work up the courage to ask out for weeks! Maybe tomorrow is the day?
You come home in the afternoon to get ready for the party, which you know will be thing evening. As you walk into the house, your father asks for your help in the back yard. As you walk around the house, you’re greeting with an explosive cry of “SURPRISE!”.
The entire back yard is decorated to the hilt with fresh flowers of every color, and almost every member of your considerable family is there. Even your sister, who lives in Russia, is there with your brand new, 1 month old nephew.
You feel deflated.
This isn’t is the community center. There is no blue. I didn’t have time to change into my new clothes, and I don’t see my the future love of my life anywhere.
This isn’t what I expected.
Forget the plethora of blessings staring me dead in the eye.
This isn’t what I thought it would look like.
How often do we throw away the joy of a moment because it isn’t doesn’t match up to our expectations? How often do we fail to recognize the numerous and abundant blessings that far exceed our preconceptions simply because it’s not how we thought it would look?
5. Gratitude is the ultimate key to staying awake
There is a “Thank You” in every situation.
In every person.
In every place.
Even in difficult situations, there is room for gratitude.
In the most aggravating person, there is a hidden gift, waiting to be opened.
Gratitude takes so many forms, it’s not very hard to find. The trick is recognizing it.
Maybe it’s gratitude for lessons learned in a hard breakup.
Maybe it’s gratitude for the creative freedom found in a job loss.
Maybe it’s gratitude for the much needed day of rest necessitated by that head cold.
Maybe it’s gratitude for the extra time to listen to your favorite tunes in traffic.
Maybe it’s gratitude for the snores next to you, because it means that someone is next to you.
Maybe it’s gratitude that you have food to burn.
Maybe it’s gratitude for the running water that so conveniently spouts from your sink.
Maybe it’s gratitude for your healthy body.
Maybe it’s gratitude for your healing body.
Maybe it’s gratitude that another day rolled over the horizon.
Maybe it’s gratitude for every breath.
I promise you, there is a thank you in everything.
And if you can see it, it will keep you awake.