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Living Asleep

Updated on February 11, 2021
ValKaras profile image

Val is a life-long practically oriented student of effective emotional and attitudinal responses to the many challenges of life.

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay
Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

I am not that keen on the idea of being unconscious.

-- Christopher Hitchens

Illusion of Wakefulness

When I was young and still working, on some Mondays it was an ordeal waking up for work after a party of the night before. Now and then I would turn the alarm off and promise to myself "just another five minutes" of snoozing. Then I would sleep in.

What would amaze me in a retrospect was the way I managed to trick myself. Namely, I actually produced a dream in which I was going about my whole morning routine in every detail, including even the toilet part without that waking me up or performing it in bed.

It was the occasions like that which inspired my thoughts about people possibly spending their lifetimes by never being fully awake -- or in a spiritual sense awake at all. Thoughts like that found their generous support in those books I read at the time about zen Buddhism and general Eastern philosophy where this illusion of the apparent reality was called "maya". I wish I could remember now more of that enlightening stuff. However, the topic is very close to my designed self-discipline, and there is not a single moment during the day when I am not living it.

When observed closely, so many people are leaving an impression of biological robots.

As I am observing people, so often something is missing from their faces, some sign of alertness, of animation, of being present, and of something like readiness to change that expression.

Instead, all seem to be somewhat absent, their faces looking just like a part of the wardrobe they are wearing. So many times people are giving me an impression of those ventriloquist's dolls drifting through life and hoping to find an animator who would breathe some life into them.

It makes me wonder -- if they are absent from the present moment, in which times are they present? Aren't they just reliving something in the past that had an even remote similarity with the current situation?

Indeed, it's like they are tuned into their automatic pilot, like a driver whose subconscious is doing the driving while he is thinking of something else, experiencing something else made of the texture of dreams.

And even if something would "wake them up" from that sequence of learned experiencing -- would they really be "awakened", or they would just shift into another programmed sequence of the automatic experiencing?

Image by Karin Henseler from Pixabay
Image by Karin Henseler from Pixabay

If you don't want a generation of robots, fund the arts.

-- Cath Crowley

Stuck in Our Inner Programs

Indeed, so many of us are sleepwalkers trained to respond to life in a robot-like manner, having some clusters of knee-jerk reactions ready for different occasions. It's where we found our comfort zone, within a range of familiar patterns of experiencing.

Day-in, day-out, year after year the same thoughts, same emotions, having same conversations with the same people about the same stuff -- so that the whole life passes as one complex routine with a few standing out festivities, like getting married or something.

Actually, we can't even get married without first consulting those experts who explain to us what is appropriate to say in our vows, what to wear, and do. Most of us even say that final "Yes, I do" being completely clued out about the meaning of it -- if we are to judge by the statistics of divorces and dysfunctional marriages.

Kicking our chemical pacifiers we are a big step more awakened, and a little step away from friends with whom we used to enjoy them in many intoxicated dreams.

God-forbid that anyone would try to wake us up from our cherished dreams and nightmares that we call our lives, as we wouldn't know the first thing to do once awakened. Quite probably, we wouldn't even know who we are, and the shock of gettinf accustomed to our new selves would be too much to handle.

Besides, what would our co-dreamers say about our treason? I remember when I quit coffee, alcohol, and smoking, all cold turkey, and how I was looked at by my ex-drinking buddies.

"You'll get over it. This quitting is only a momentary whim of yours, before you know it , we'll be destroying another bottle pack of beer."

And they meant it, while not being particularly supportive, and offering me a beer every time we met. Well, I must say, I didn't really need anybody's support -- long time before that I was living up to my principle of "rowing my own boat and not allowing anyone to rock it".

I don't think, between them, they were giving me any credit for my strong resolve -- all into these days they must believe that a "doctor scared the hell out of me, giving me all the motivation." What can I say, I don't do my awakening moves in life for a show and praise, it's for me.

Image by Jan Steiner from Pixabay
Image by Jan Steiner from Pixabay

You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end f your comfort zone.

-- Roy T. Bennett

Sentiment of a Narcolepsy

During those long winter months when walks in our favorite park-forest are out of question here in Canada, with temperatures dropping sometimes to minus 30 degrees Celsius, strolling around a warm shopping mall comes as a good alternative to stretch our old legs. Then my wife would do her window shopping, even trying some garments on and coming out empty handed -- while I would entertain myself listening to the positive affirmations hooked on my MP3 and casually observing people in passing.

Younger folks are always a treat to look at with their vibrant alertness and those vibes that my inbuilt radar experiences like a true inspiration. Especially babies, and I mean only those that are not crying, because crying never inspires me at all.

Then there are also those over 40, with their stiff and wrinkled grimaces of worry, boredom, tension, anger, sadness, or just a poker-face emptiness -- a whole gallery of negatively spirited portraits. As those facial expressions are a match to different emotions, I start wondering how many hours a day they had to feel that way so that their faces made that expression "their normal".

It seems like we need those excursions into the unknown -- not to explore it, but to appreciate more our returns to our familiar comfort zone.

Indeed, doesn't a rare moment of wakefulness occur to us to realize how we are spending our lives with heads dipped in oblivion ostrich style, with that chronic unwillingness to willfully derail ourselves from the old groves of familiarity.

Maybe to try some new daring patterns of experiencing, something that wouldn't belong to that old thinking box. At times it seems like a good idea to open ajar one of the eyes by buying new clothes, renovating the house, or take a vacation somewhere where we've never been before.

However, just watch how fast it all stops looking like a novelty, as our mind rushes to make it a part of our comfort zone which insists on the sameness. And after we have done that "duty" of taking a vacation, how good it feels again to open that front door, and with a big sigh of relief say: "Home, sweet home".

And then we can't hardly wait to go back to work, to bring everything "back to normal". Right back to our groove again -- good for us, sleepwalkers.

Image by Christian Dorn from Pixabay
Image by Christian Dorn from Pixabay

Science and Truth are simple phenomenon of nature, but it is the known that is preventing us from mastering the unknown.

-- Chandrakanth Natekar

Thinking in a Box - or Sleeping by a Music Box

To every even half-awakened person "paradigm" is a dirty word. It's a sum total of the mankind's beliefs in a cultural epoch. To me, though, it has some basic characteristics of a religion, inasmuch as you are not supposed to think out of the box of those beliefs, challenge them with new ideas, or question their tenets and their logicalness - without being called a heretic, or being excommunicated from the scientific establishment.

Considering how feverishly the mainstream intellectuals are sticking to their pet-theories -- or their favorite version of a virtual reality -- any challenging idea that's threatening to wake them up sounds like the earth may not be flat -- all over again. They are asleep just like an ordinary Joe who thinks that the only purpose of life is beer, loose women, pizza, and a good football game.

While you can't blame Joe for not knowing any better, those smart dreamers are merely holding the progress back. The metaphor of "turning the alarm off" pretty much describes what they do when their comfortable dream is threatened.

A dumb dream, or an intellectual dream -- it's still only a dream.

It would be one thing to defend their positions in a fair discussion with out of box thinkers, but what they do is flex their muscle of legal influence to suppress their activity and any further research.

For example, in more than one instance I heard about someone coming up with a highly promising cure for cancer, or other deadly disease, and their lab was stormed by armed health authorities, all papers being confiscated, and the person prosecuted.

Books and books have been written about human nature, and to me so many resemble those guides for interpreting dreams, not about a wakeful reality. Like, there is nothing that we could possibly learn from our childhood traumas, or from any other aspect of our slavery to exaggerated emotionalism, or from anything else that is not including the leading role of our wakeful consciousness.

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay
Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

Enlightenment must come little by little, otherwise it would overwhelm.

-- Idness Shah

So, what Is It to Be Awakened?

In a nutshell, it's a constantly present sense of a free choice of thoughts, emotions, attitudes, beliefs, and actions. It's a willingness to question the suggestiveness of the "obvious". And above all, it's a sense of a spiritual freedom that's beyond all possible interpretations of reality, everything mental, emotional, physical, or circumstantial.

It means staying at all times identified with that spiritual entity that "you" are, detached from your creations and just supervising them non-judgmentally. Then, as you persist with that identification, your mind, your emotions, and your body, and even your circumstances align with that identity.

Long ago someone said: "A great conqueror is not one who conquered cities -- but who conquered himself". Or we might say -- who succeeded to wake himself up and then stayed awakened.

© 2015 Val Karas


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