I woke up in November 2005. I simply mean that a happening occurred…a realization. A kind of aha moment when the illusions of the mind are clearly and deeply seen through…in particular this idea of “me”. This is not just a mental realization, but undeniably through the whole being. I sometimes say it hits you to the core or in your bones.
The illusions are no longer believed…the “me” and “my/mine” are no longer believed. There is a cessation to the resistance to life, what is, and change. Other illusions that are based on a fictitious “me” also fall away – like suffering, fear, problems, etc. There is a noticing that there really are no problems other what we imagine for ourselves. There is a noticing that there really is nothing to fear…as an “other” is required to fear and there is no other. Suffering is mentally created and it ceases.
Of course, all that happened was seeing through the illusion of “me”…but the “me” is the linchpin that holds up many other illusions. Looking at its effects, prior to waking up there is suffering, fear, and problems…at awakening there is a cessation to suffering, fear, and problems. True awakening does not come and go…so life continues on, just without suffering, fear, and problems.
I have also mentioned before that sometimes awakening is called liberation. We think we are making progress in the process of freeing ourselves from bondage…but awakening (i.e. liberation) is realizing you were never in bondage in the first place. Upon awakening, there is a clear realization that all of that time spent in the process of freeing oneself from bondage was the delusion of bondage itself. In this way, “when I woke up” means waking up from the delusion/illusion of bondage. Freedom is and always has been.
The “I” in “when I woke up” is more for simplicity of speech than identification. I think it was Ramana Maharshi that said – the “I” casts off the illusion of “I” and yet remains “I”. Such is the paradox of self-realization. The Realized do not see any contradiction in it. So it is not like the Realized could never refer to “I” again…and there is more than one meaning to “I”.
Waking up does not mean the dream of being in the world disappears. You could say the dream of being in bondage ends upon awakening, but the world does not end. It is not like dreaming at night and waking up in the morning…it is not that kind of waking up. It is more like dreaming at night and waking up in the dream…realizing you are dreaming and thereby a lucid dreamer. The Awake are lucid living.
Waking up in the morning after dreaming at night does imply an end to the dream. However, waking up within the dream and lucid dreaming does not imply an end to the dream. There is always the possibility of deepening understanding and deeper embodiment of that understanding. There is nothing to say that you must go deeper…the Awake are free to go deeper or not.
Freedom seems to be one of the biggest common denominators among stories of others’ awakenings and my own. The mind can not comprehend this freedom, because the mind is based upon limitation. This freedom knows no limits.