How To Awaken on the Buddhist Path Through the 10 Fetters
Do you sometimes listen to the words of an awakened spiritual teacher and think,
“I don’t want to hear beautiful words any longer. Tell me HOW TO DO IT!”
In this article, I’ll describe the “HOW TO” awaken.
What Is Awakening?
First of all, awakening is not something that you get as a prize when you reach your goal. You won’t reach a special state or be a special and better person. Upon awakening, it becomes clear what is and always has been the case, no matter what you thought.
On the path to awakening, you remove everything that IS NOT part of your actual experience but read into it.
Here is an everyday example:
Let’s say you’re walking down a road and see a friend on the other side. You wave at them but they don’t respond. You ask yourself why? And then you remember that you had a dispute with them a few days ago. Maybe they are still angry? Probably they are.
Now the assumption is in place that the other person is still angry at you.
When you meet them the next time, you ask them whether they are still angry. They look at you in bewilderment. Angry? No, why?
You explain why you thought so, and they say, “Oh, that day my eyes felt really irritated and I didn’t put my contacts in. I didn’t see you.”
This is how we read all kinds of things into our experience. To awaken, we have to explore all ideas around ‘me.’
You will find detailed instructions for each step in my upcoming book.
What Keeps You Unawakened?
In the same way, we are reading many more assumptions into what is.
Regarding awakening, the crucial assumptions we read into experience are that…
– I exist,
– I have the faculty of perception that mirrors a substantial and permanent world outside of myself in time and space,
– Which I experience from a viewpoint within myself, with everything being separated from me and each other by clear boundaries,
– I want some of these objects which make me feel good and push others away which don’t,
– Higher powers have to support me to get what I can’t do on my own,
– I’m continuously doubting whether I’m praying to the right higher power,
– In the end, there seems to be a ‘Me’ that thinks, feels, experiences, decides, controls, acts, and can make sure that I will always feel good.
These assumptions distort our experience and don’t let us experience what actually always is, no matter what we think – the awakened state. All self-aspects develop in this order.
How To Get Back to the Awakened State
When you want to return to the experience of what is, you simply look for whether what you think is there can be found in your own first-hand experience. The starting point is the last layer of interpretation that was added, the ‘me’ that seems to think, experience, decide, and act.
1) In step #1, you look for whether there is really a ‘me’ that is the agent of everything. With the assumption of a ME, doubt and clinging to rites and rituals also fall away. The seeking stops.
2) In step #2, you explore whether wanting and not wanting exist and spark the reaction to get what feels agreeable and push away what makes you feel bad. You probably already guessed it – it doesn’t exist either and this is true for the rest of these assumptions as well.
3) In step #3, you look at whether you can find the point in you where the subject seems to be located that recognizes objects ‘out there.’ The subject is much less personal than the ‘ME’. Until step #5 is completed, a subtle sense of self will still be present though.
4) In step #4, you inquire into the most basic of phenomenal faculties – perception. Do you have the faculty of perception that mirrors an outside world in time and space? This step is the end of the world as you knew it.
5) In step #5, a very subtle sense of being or “I exist” is left. When this idea is no longer read into experience, any sense of self will be gone and with it any kind of identity you might have experienced before.
6) In step #6, you’ll experience the strong and totally impersonal forces that created the first budding sense of “I am” or “I exist.” They will search for what was lost, trying to recreate the sense of safety, reliability, and the entity that seemed to promise it could make sure you always feel good. After some time, the restless search will calm down.
7) In step #7, the view opens up to what had been ignored for so long. It will become clear what truly is and always has been.
In every step except for step #6, a shift happens similar to the shift when seeing that there is no ME. The shifts will be experienced differently by every person. It’s a lasting change of perspective that is not reversible, just like seeing that Santa doesn’t exist. You can never unsee that again.
In my upcoming book “Finding Awakening” which will come out in December, you’ll find detailed instructions for each step and also my own email dialogue with my guide.
Do you have any questions or want to share from your own experience? Please let us know in the comments.