Of the myriad of topics that pass through my mind quite regularly I keep coming back to this thought about waking and sleeping. Moreover this idea of “wakers” and “sleepers”. There seem to be two modes of being in which all of us exist, constantly vacillating between the two; at times more awake, at other points more asleep. We've all had those spine tingling awe inspiring moments of oneness. This can come in so very many different forms. Think for a moment and I'm sure you'll have some memory of feeling so very awake, aware, at one. On the flip side we've all had moments of slumber, engulfed in our pyramids of comfort, filling ourselves with non-food and numbing our minds in whatever fashion we see fit. I suppose the question is where does our existence fall in the balance of things? Are you more awake or more asleep most of the time?
I think about this and initially I leaned towards the idea of waking through the gathering of information. The more one is exposed to the more they wake up. This might be true, but the finer detail of it would be that there are certain types of information that can help to awaken and other types that can help to put us to sleep. An easy target would be mass media. If you're filling yourself with the fear mongering vitriol of most major news networks you might believe that you're becoming aware of the world and the events therein ... to a small degree this is true. But I feel the overarching effect would be that your mind is being numbed and bottlenecked towards shutting down from experience, fearing the outer realms, rallying for an “us against them” mentality. This is not awakening. The effect of removing this open invitation into your home and your mind is subtle at first but after a year or two suddenly most television, radio, or any other form of forced consumption media starts to take on a very eery feel. Commercials baffle me in their vapid emptiness. Pandering the lifestyle of consume, consume, car, house, beer, electronics, comfort, consume, consume, consume. Many of us are inviting this spell of slumber into our homes and minds day after day, hour after hour. For me, this is all pushing towards a population full of “sleepers”. I don't think there's an overarching conspiracy of a few individuals pulling the strings. Somehow I think we've just ended up here through small steps and time. We're programmed to take comfort and ease over effort and the difficult path. This seems to be the default setting for the human hive mind. On the other hand we have access to so much information, media, experience which would lean far more towards the “waking” side of things. Connecting with most anyone anywhere, hearing opinions, being inspired by thoughts and creations, it's never been easier ... the internet can be a wonderful tool. But there is an element lacking in all of that. Connection, true connection, I think most of us are missing this. Be it with nature, with others, even with ourselves, with our bodies, with our minds, with that other element which is so hard to pinpoint ... once we begin to connect with that then the waking begins, or ramps up, or accelerates.
A “waker” must be tested. A "waker" must be tested regularly. This seems so very true to me personally. Over the past couple of years I've had a few experiences in which I couldn't be more awake, in awe, at one ... this is my own personal subjective experience so there is no questioning of these events. But even so, after a few months these feelings and thoughts begin to fade somewhat. It feels as though we need the contrast. Slipping into slumber and catching ourselves, striving for wakefulness once again. Somehow these tests need to escalate in order to keep us from falling into the “sleeper” mind state. At the core of it the driving factor may be novelty. As we grow up almost every experience is novel and new, we are aware and engaged. There's nothing quite like that childhood feeling, how we viewed the world, how exciting most everything was. As events become routine our sleeper mind can take over. We autopilot through life, not testing ourselves. Comfort and routine take over. So shaking things up seems to be the answer. Novelty can exist in so many forms. Travel, psychedelics, falling in love, falling out of love, moving, meeting new people, finding new ideas, art, music, death, birth, illness ... the list can go on and on. It's those out of the norm experiences that wake us up. Life starts to feel like it's really happening. Think of the past number of years, which experiences stand out the most? I'm going to guess it's the ones which were somewhat novel, not the sitting on the couch doing the same, the same, the same. Once we begin to see this pattern we can begin to seek the novel, leave behind the pre-programmed comfort mechanism and delve into the muck, the tests, the difficult paths which give us so much more once we've experienced their twists and turns.
We're the novelty seeking recording machines of the universe. A means in which the infinite can experience the finite. I love the Hindu thought that we're all just a dream, God's dream, Source's dream. A dream so deep that we forget that we are in fact Source. We are infinite. We are the sum total of all being and all energy expressed in a singular form. Not even that. Correction. We are the sum total of all being and all energy fooled into thinking we are a singular detached form that we express as “I”. It's quite the trip. And the further we get from this trip the more far out and engulfed in the dream we get to be. For those wrapped up in the consume-consume-hoard mentality where all is about the physical, man, you're on a wild ride. So far into the dream of God that you've really detached from the Source and think these words and this writing are so very very full of shit. And hey, that's awesome in it's own way. I feel like all of the shitty acts and “sleeper” mind states will be congratulated at some point. We'll all wake up at the end of this dream and shake our ephemeral heads, thinking and knowing that it was such a wild ride. Thoughts like, “Man, can you believe I worked a job I hated to pay to live in a house that I didn't really want, all the while too tired and stressed out to do anything but stare at a rectangle and be fed more and more slumber propaganda telling me that I'm doing the right thing and I need to do more of it to consume-comsume-hoard until I finally hit a ripe old age where I get to sit back and drink Nabob coffee on the deck as the loons sing and death is all but tapping me on the shoulder??? Shit, that was such a wild dream. What did you do with your trip?” And that's just one example of an infinite number of ways to exist and to dream the dream of life and Source, they're all completely valid in their own fucked up manner.
To go back to the beginning, I do feel like most of us edge back and forth between waking and sleeping. It can be a daily or even momentary flip flop between the two or it can take years to swing from one mode of being back to the other. Having said that I also feel like there are benchmarks of wakefulness that once reached set a new default. Some experiences can't be unexperienced. Let's seek out these level up scenarios and keep trying to swing that pendulum farther towards the waking state of being. To all of you out there actively seeking to wake up, I commend you, I congratulate you, and I love the path you're choosing. It's the more difficult path, the one that takes effort and endurance. But in the end we all know that it's the more enriching path. It's living, engaging, actively guiding your meat body toward novelty and growth, if not that then what else are we here to do?
I see no better way to end this than with a quote from the always eloquent and amazing Tom Robbins. We can easily insert wake and sleep instead of hide and seek. Thanks for reading, much gratitude for taking the trip and bearing with the tangential nature of my thoughts.
“How can one person be more real than any other? Well, some people do hide and others seek. Maybe those who are in hiding - escaping encounters, avoiding surprises, protecting their property, ignoring their fantasies, restricting their feelings, sitting out the pan pipe hootchy-kootch of experience - maybe those people, people who won't talk to rednecks, or if they're rednecks won't talk to intellectuals, people who're afraid to get their shoes muddy or their noses wet, afraid to eat what they crave, afraid to drink Mexican water, afraid to bet a long shot to win, afraid to hitchhike, jaywalk, honky-tonk, cogitate, osculate, levitate, rock it, bop it, sock it, or bark at the moon, maybe such people are simply inauthentic, and maybe the jacklet humanist who says differently is due to have his tongue fried on the hot slabs of Liar's Hell. Some folks hide, and some folk's seek, and seeking, when it's mindless, neurotic, desperate, or pusillanimous can be a form of hiding. But there are folks who want to know and aren't afraid to look and won't turn tail should they find it - and if they never do, they'll have a good time anyway because nothing, neither the terrible truth nor the absence of it, is going to cheat them out of one honest breath of Earth's sweet gas.”