What Happened That We are Not Awakened
We are not awakened because we don’t like what is actually there. We’d rather always feel good, have something secure to hold onto and live in a reliable world. Unfortunately, these things are simply not available. Since we can’t take ‘no’ for an answer, interpretations of what is experienced where created. They make us believe we could be always happy, and the world was a place with substantial, permanent objects we can rely on and form them in the way we want them to be.
You may like it or not, the facts are, there is no thing-ness in anything, nothing is predictable. There is nothing permanent anywhere, nothing to rely on, nothing to hold onto. And nothing is ever going to meet our expectations 100% – always feeling good is simply not in store.
The Un-Awakening Process
The Un-Awakening Process happened in 10 Steps, the Buddha calls them fetters, because they fetter our ability to see clearly and be awakened. It starts with the fetter which we are going to dissolve last when waking up. The fetters are numbered in the order they are seen through.
10. Ignorance (avijja)
In a completely impersonal process, nobody doing it, the facts are simply ignored. Our inborn tendencies are looking for feeling good always. We do not want to see the truth. Looking for an alternative reality starts. I found it mindblowing to experience how strongly I didn’t want to see the truth. Proofs don’t count at all. The hope it might be different is incredibly strong.
9. Restlessness (uddhacca)
A strong restlessness arises, you will feel it when you are untangling the assumptions that are obscuring the awakened state that is there already.
The restless search is looking for something safe to stand on, something reliable that can take care of life in a way that we always feel good. Since nothing can be found, it is created.
8. Subtle Sense of ‚I am’ (mano, asmi-mano)
Out of despair, the subtle sense of ‚I am’ arises. The feeling of ‘I exist’ appears. It is still very subtle and would disappear quickly. So the rest of the assumptions is built, supporting the newborn sense of ‘me’. An inside and outside is experienced, the notion ‘this is me’ and ‘this is not me’ starts.
This sense is not tangible, it is often like a taste or scent or something very familiar but ungraspable.
7. Desire for Formlessness (arupa-raga)
The subtle sense of me is now getting equipped with the assumption of perception. ‘I perceive’ is at the root of a world appearing outside of us, in time and space, arising in our limited consciousness. The notion of substance and permanence, body and mind, and time and space arises.
6. Desire for Form (rupa-raga)
Now we want to experience something. For experiencing forms, a subject is assumed that experiences objects, and clear borders between the subject and objects and between the objects themselves. The subject is experienced as being at the center and all objects are arranged around it. An ‘object’ would be anything that can be discerned, things, feelings, thoughts, sensual sensations.
5. Ill Will, Go Away! (vyapada) and
4. Sensual desire (kamacchanda)
We start to constantly push and pull at experience, assuming that there is a desire for certain things and an aversion to their contraries. We want this and don’t want that – these two assumptions are two sides of the same coin.
Over time, we are fully entangled in the web of the assumed wants and don’t-wants, reacting to situations in the continuous hope and expectations that we could and should always feel good.
These two assumptions are seen through at the same time, usually it takes two rounds or more to become free of them.
3. Clinging to rites and rituals (silabbata-paramaso)
Pushing and pulling at experience and still not always getting what we want, we turn to rites and rituals, hoping that some higher power might be able to help us with that.
2.Doubts and complexities (vicikiccha) and
Yet we constantly doubt. Are we praying to the right higher power? Our lives are so difficult to manage and we worry a lot and our magic rituals don’t solve the problems we have.
1. Self View (sakkaya-ditthi)
Since we still suffer, the last assumption is created: We assume a permanent ‘me’, that takes care of what didn’t work out up to now. The ‘me’ is felt as a separate entity inside of us, thinking, experiencing, choosing, deciding and acting. It seems to control everything, and we hope that it can make the impossible happen: to always feel good.
Now we believe, there is a separate ‘me’, wanting and not wanting things that are separate from it, placed in a world of time and space, outside of us. Restlessly, all these assumptions are kept up with an enormous amount of energy because we don’t want to know the truth.
These last three assumptions fall together as well when the self-view is looked into.
How to Awaken
You simply look closely. Is what is assumed really there, is it part of the experience? If something cannot be found, it is an assumption, an added interpretation. You will ask yourself this question over and over again. “What is experienced and what is the interpretation of the experience.”
It is simple but may not be easy. We are so used to these interpretations that we think they are part of the experience. In our written dialogue, I will always point you to your first-hand experience.
The awakening process starts with the last assumption that was put into place, the feeling of a separate ‘me’ in charge of everything and then works its way up to the 10th fetter.
Already when you see through the first assumption, the separate ‘me’ that seems to be in control of everything, it is a big relief. You no longer have to deceive yourself and act as if you held the reins. You can relax.
You will never lose anything that is truly there. You can only lose assumptions.
If you have a friend who would be happy to know about this path to awakening, feel free to share it.
And share your own experiences on this path in the comments, whether you are just starting out or some assumptions already fell away.
Image: Copyright: pkruger
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