Are you awake or not? Here are some questions to find out if you are awake, and if you are, to what extent.
Journey From Aware to Awake
Awakening is not the only goal. Awakening is part of your spiritual journey. To awaken is to embark on a lifelong journey of discovery, which is a process of learning where we increase our awareness. It’s a bit of a loaded question. Do you want to know?
“Awakening is possible only for those who seek it and want it. It is only for those who are ready to struggle with themselves and work on themselves for a very long time and very persistently in order to attain it.” ― George Ivanovich Gurdjieff
Being aware and awakened is not a matter of intelligence. There are many intelligent people in the world, but sadly, not all smart ones have awakened. So, the misuse of people and the environment. The world needs more people to be awakening.
What Does Awake Mean?
To be awake means to have an increase in perception, which provides clarity of perception and understanding of the internal and external worlds. People who are aware are not always articulate. Nor are they people with resources or social standing. However, the bandwidth of our “awareness” is a good measure. Our ability to perceive is key to awareness. It is more accurate than assessing intelligence or social skills.
Don’t think you are awake just because you have a degree. Formal education is institutionalized memorization. Your intellectual knowledge has nothing to do with the bandwidth of your awareness. The quality of our awareness reflects the quality of our mental health and acuity, which fluctuates depending on several factors.
For example, what you eat, read, and believe all affect your awareness. Your level of rest affects your alertness, and the drugs you take can alter your consciousness and can diminish, distort, or expand it. Our overall mental and physical health affects all aspects of our thinking. The clarity of awareness shows up in our ability to observe. We can look at three categories to measure if someone is aware and thus awakened.
“When one realizes one is asleep, at that moment one is already half-awake.” ― P. D. Ouspensky
The first way to measure our awareness is by assessing the level of our perception during sleep or dreaming states of consciousness. Evaluating our perception of breath is the second way to measure self-awareness. And the third category we can measure has to do with our curiosity about the unknown. So, we assess our awareness in the three primary states of consciousness: waking, dreaming, and sleeping. Here we go.
Think You Are Awake? Let’s Find Out
The following self-assessment will help you find out if you are awake. It will illuminate your level of awareness.
Curiosity About the Unknown
“The crowd neither wants nor seeks knowledge and the leaders of the crowd, in their own interests, try to strengthen its fear and dislike of everything new and unknown. The slavery in which humankind lives is based upon this fear.” ― George Ivanovich Gurdjieff
Many people are afraid of the concept of curiosity. If you ask them, do you want to hear some facts and evidence that contradicts what you believe about reality? They will tell you no; they are happy living in their comfort zone. They would rather not hear any contradictory evidence. So, the fact that you are reading this is a good sign; it means about may be awakened to some extent. Good for you!
Here, Gurdjieff is talking about the desire to seek the truth beyond the boundaries of cultural folklore. There aren’t questions for this category. You need to do something to fan your curiosity, like finding an author or a teacher who has knowledge about something outside of your wheelhouse. Keep reading and researching.
Many live out their days on auto-pilot, and most are content to remain plugged into the cultural narrative. For them, their Ego is firmly in control, and they follow the programming of religion and commercialism all their lives.
If you spend most of your time engaging in “entertaining your mind,” chances are you are on auto-pilot. If your existential fear of death does not prompt you to investigate, chances are you have accepted the counterfeit answer of the afterlife provided by organized religion.
Your Dream Experiences
Dreams are one of the barometers that determine the bandwidth of awareness. Do you dream, and if you do, can you remember them?
Do your dreams seem real? Are you not aware that you are dreaming when it happens? Do you dream but fail to remember them? If this sounds like your experience, then you have some room for awakening. But don’t worry because the dream state is one of the easiest places to begin expanding your awareness. Are you awake enough to want more?
Increasing the bandwidth of your awareness while dreaming will increase your ability in other states. An expansion of awareness also enhances your reasoning and perception abilities. It will be important when opening the doors to higher levels of consciousness. Waking, dreaming, and sleeping are the default settings. There are other possibilities available to everyone.
Questions About Breathing
Are you able to watch your breath without interfering with it?
Observing without interfering is an essential skill. It helps us in “inner work” and daily perception. There are two simple but powerful exercises to expand your awareness and control of your breath. These are the following processes of active and seated mindfulness meditation. It will not take your mind long to learn to observe your breath.
“It is only by grounding our awareness in the living sensation of our bodies that the ‘I Am,’ our real presence, can awaken.” ― George Ivanovich Gurdjieff
As you learn to observe your breath, you enhance your observational skills. It’s essential when you take the next step toward awareness of thoughts and feelings. Please practice and enjoy these mindfulness exercises:
- Throughout the day, gently remind yourself to stay present.
- Observe your body, and your breath in the present moment.
- Eventually, the goal is to observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment.
- Pause and take time to think before speaking or acting.
Seated Mindful Meditation
- Sit comfortably upright with the head floating above the shoulders and hands resting in the lap.
- The spine should be straight but not strained.
- Close your eyes.
- Bring your awareness to your posture and breathe.
- We expect the mind to interrupt with thoughts and feelings. Gently guide your awareness back to your breath and posture when this happens.
- Focus on your posture if you can’t observe your breath without interfering.
- Ignore external distractions. Your Ego will do anything to regain control. So, we expect the mind to magnify even the littlest sounds. Remember to gently direct your awareness to the body, breath, and posture.
- After the proactive, be sure to write about your experience. We tend to miss incremental growth if we don’t see the subtle changes when we go from a hyperactive mind to a calmer state of simple awareness.
Questions About The Transcendent
Have you ever “experienced” being aware of the gap between the three primary states of consciousness, waking, dreaming, or sleeping? If you have, this is a good sign. If you haven’t, don’t worry. It is something you can gain.
A level of pure awareness is below the three default states of consciousness, and people who are “awake” and “aware” are aware of this transcendence. They notice these gaps, the spaces, as they transition from one state of consciousness to another. With the Japa Meditation practice, you will become very familiar with this 4th state of consciousness characterized as restful alertness.
Remember, the degree to which you are aware has NOTHING to do with your belief in any particular set of religious beliefs. Mythology has nothing to do with awareness or consciousness or spiritual exploration. So, can you relate to this experience? Do you think you are awake?
Everyone can grow and learn. Using processes we call spiritual technologies will enable you to expand your awareness. What are Spiritual Technologies?
Conscience and Social Responsibility
When we can see the mechanisms of society, we see the gaps, inequities, and inequality that comes from unrestrained capitalism and religious sectarianism. It will lead you to take up a social cause. When conscience comes online, it will distinguish you from those asleep. So, if you still live a self-centered existence, it means you have some awakening to do.
If you can see what needs to be done but are ready to act, keep working on yourself.
“If you feel a sense of social responsibility, first of all, keep working on yourself. Being peaceful yourself is the first step if you want to live in a peaceful universe.” — Ram Dass
These are the ancient tools for investigating consciousness.
Because they are processes of the mind, they don’t require belief in mythology or superstition. We use the analogy of using a recipe for baking donuts to describe them. All you do is follow the directions, and you get a delicious donut.
We divide them into four groups:
Many people are happy to remain immersed in commercialism and hypnotized by capitalism. They want to stay asleep. So, do you think you are awake? Do you want to know?