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Waking up from Awakening (with some help from Thoreau)

Awakening is not waking up from a long slumber or a dream. Paradoxically, awakening is the dream that we are actually trying to wake up from. Awakening is a shapeshifter and comes in many forms. Some call it nirvana. Others call it “oneness” or “interconnectedness”. Most do not even know how to define it or what it really means, but they trust that whatever awakening is will bring them deep peace, calm, equanimity and acceptance.Awakening, then, is a proxy. It is a proxy for the most fundamental immaterial things one wants but currently does not have. So when people say “I want to awaken”, what they really mean is they want to abide in a certain state of being, whether it be deep calm, unconditional love, or complete and utter freedom from suffering. And therein lies the trap of awakening. If there is one thing that the meditative journey teaches, it is that there are no such things as abiding states or forms of being. Everything is transient and ever-changing. Nothing stays forever. …

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