There are many ways to talk about awakening. In one sense, “awaken” means to shift from the identification with the ego self to identification with the spiritual self. The ego operates from all of the programming and conditioning learned through life experiences, while the spiritual self transcends the physical reality.
Keep in mind we are multi-dimensional beings…part of us grows and changes physically, mentally, emotionally and also as a soul. However, another part of us does not. What part of you doesn’t change? What part of you can say “I’m sad” when you’re five, and then 50 years later can say “I’m sad”? Who or what is this permanent “I” that can notice feelings and beliefs that come and go? There’s a dimension of you that transcends your ego-based emotions and beliefs, as well as your body. As we awaken we begin to become aware of this permanent life within and yet beyond the form.
One result of awakening is freedom from the fear-based conditioning that the ego lives from and is governed by. Fear is a major component of the ego. Ego = Separation. It’s true that we have separate bodies, but it’s more true that we are souls using a body, and even truer that all souls come from the same one energy source. To fully awaken means to live from the One Self. Christ consciousness means oneness consciousness, and that is why Jesus was also known as Christ, and preached about treating others as yourself…because ultimately they are your Self.
Therefore, waking up is really a radical shift in identity, according to Adyashanti. To awaken is to begin to live from the vantage point of spirit, which is what you can never really separate yourself from because you ultimately are it. To fully awaken is to understand this first as an intellectual concept, then from the heart, and finally from the gut as an absolute inner knowing.
Another way of deciphering your ego self from your spiritual self is to view it through the frame that author Neile Walsch puts it. He suggests that all human thought and actions are based in either fear or love (ego or spirit). He articulates, “Fear is the energy which contracts, closes down, draws in, runs, hides, hoards, harms. Love is the energy which expands, opens up, sends out, stays, reveals, shares, heals.” He says, fear judges, is intolerant, lies beneath anger and holds onto it, whereas love empathizes, is tolerant and seeks understanding. Fear feels lack. Love feels wholeness, completeness, that all needs are met. Fear separates, divides, and is based on conditional acceptance. Love sees and feels Oneness. Love unites, and is based on unconditional acceptance. The communication of fear is vague, indirect and withholding of truth, whereas the communication of love is clear, direct, honest and specific.
Where does the love in your heart come from? You are not separate from it. It is there at your core when you peel back the layers of the ego-self. You can fully experience this with any deep inner journey experience like past life regression or life-between-lives, because the ego-self is rendered silent during these inward sojourns.
In closing, here is some pertinent wisdom from Tarun Sardana: “We don’t need a reason to be happy. We need a reason to be unhappy. Happiness is our real nature. When a seeker reaches the Self, bliss is experienced, as that is the very nature of the Self. To make a river flow, we need not give any instructions or reasons. We just need to remove the barriers that we have put up and the river will start flowing on its own because flowing is its very nature. In the same way, bliss is the very nature of the Self, one needs no reason to welcome it; just remove the barriers of the ego-self and the Self shall show up as Sat-Chit-Anand (truth-consciousness-bliss).”
To wake up is to know who and what you really are, and then to live from this place. It’s what we are all trying to learn, whether we are conscious of it or not.