What is Spiritual Awakening?

From my upcoming long-form essay, which will be published January 3rd, 2021:

Spiritual awakening is the ineffable, mostly permanent stage of liberation from attachment to ignorance and suffering; thereby leading to the entrance into the kingdom of Absolute Consciousness and Love.

The goal of this essay is to map out the path of spiritual development for humans as accurately as possible; from ignorance to Absolute Beingness. This will require using inherently dualistic conceptualization to explain a spiritual phenomenon that is inherently infinite and nondual.  For example, I will be using multiple words or phrases throughout this essay to refer to the Absolute Beingness of Reality. In order to attempt to organize our human understanding, (which in Philosophy is called Epistemology,) we will need to stretch the limits of the dualistic way of explaining reality as much as possible.  This must be done while simultaneously acknowledging that this map is not the actual territory of the realization of spiritual awakening to the Absolute. As they say in Zen, “Zen is the finger that is pointing at the Moon.”  It is not the Moon herself, which symbolizes the experience or stage of awakening itself, the territory of awakening to the Absolute Realm of Existence. 

Now consider this; since the nature of enlightenment is beyond words and concepts, what is the purpose of teaching the truths of spiritual awakening to others?  In my opinion, the reason for using language to teach spirituality is for the purposes of being practical, helpful, and useful in a relative, human world.  Notice how most people do not know a lot about the nature of spirituality or enlightenment.  Would it be more useful, or perhaps even make the world a happier and healthier place, if more people adhered to spiritual concepts and values?  Would we be living in a better world if the majority lived from the truths of peace and love rather than greed, addiction, and hyper-masculinity?   

I want to challenge the bias embedded in the following concept; it is not important to attempt to explain nondual awakening because the attempt itself is inherently limited, or perhaps even false. Some may say that the process of attempting to explain spiritual awakening is an illusion entirely, or that it is futile to use words in the context of ineffable awakening at all. Some teachers of nondual spirituality (Advaita Vedanta, or Neo-Advaita) may advise their students not to wrestle with any concepts in order not to lose one’s spiritual foresight towards nondual awakening.  Again, the map is not the territory.  I can see why a spiritual teacher would teach such a (non)teaching, because the goal is the blissful experience or the stage of the nondual beingness, the Moon herself.  However, I urge people to consider this; as long as one’s consciousness is also animating a particular human body-mind, they will continue to identify as a human person; either fully, partially, or subtly at the very least. Most people on the planet are either at the beginning of their spiritual maturity or have extremely limited knowledge or experience in spirituality.  Therefore, most people highly identify with their limited point of awareness of reality.  

So the question is; what is the goal of human spirituality? Is the goal for 5% of the population to realize or know the Absolute Truth while the other 95% of people have very limited spiritual knowledge whatsoever, thereby leading to suffering? If this is the perspective of the spiritual community, I would call this elitist, limited, and ignorant towards the oneness of the human family. We are the full 100%, and we are all thriving and suffering.  We as a human family are the same essence as every person on the planet no matter where they live.  If spirituality is the universal truth, it must be universal NO MATTER one’s gender, nationality, economic background, or level of education. I believe spiritual truths must be accessible to EVERYONE in order to be considered a useful teaching or map.  Therefore, I believe it is incredibly useful and practical to use relative truths and concepts in teaching spirituality to the masses while simultaneously acknowledging that the map is not the territory.  

With all that said, the goal of this essay is to map out the spiritual journey from the perspective of the human being, not merely from any perspective that one would consider “the highest.” In other words, many teachers teach awakening from the perspective of the Final Truth, that is, from the God’s-eye-view of reality. If you think about it, it could be deemed more practical to start from where the student is actually experiencing consciousness at that moment, not where God is (always) at, i.e. the “highest” Truth. This realistic view of the human is true even if the stage of God-consciousness is the universal, highest Truth.  I believe we need to be pragmatic, and achieve our goals by embarking on a developmental process, because humans are by nature a limited being who needs to study or practice something to become a master. I believe this is true even in the context of spiritual awakening.  This is true because we are not actually discussing the Truth itself, we are trying to learn how a HUMAN BEING upgrades their human consciousness to God-consciousness. Therefore, it is inherently a journey, not merely a desire just to arrive at a destination.  We all start from somewhere, regardless of whether or not we get a head-start.

In summary, the project of this essay is to demonstrate how a truly awakened human person lives in their environment and consciousness. What does it look like to realize that one is both human and infinite? How would they act, talk, or view themselves? This map is meant to highlight the qualities of such people for people who are not yet there. Consider this to be an inspirational demonstration of what absolute human potential could look like, based on the example of the people who have actually achieved this great awakening to Absolute Beingness.

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