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Question #2
Why do you think you had this experience of Awakening,
and how can I prepare for a similar experience, myself?

Reply
There are several ways I could begin to answer this question. First of all, I would have to say that I do not know why I had this experience -- why it came to me, or why it came at the time and in the way that it did. I can also say, quite honestly, that there was absolutely nothing I did to "earn" or to "deserve" this experience.

It arrived suddenly, spontaneously and completely without warning. I believe it was the result of pure, unadulterated Grace. In fact, before the epiphany, I had never really glimpsed the miraculous nature of Grace, or appreciated the remarkable transforming power it can have upon our lives.

Now I realize everything is given to us. We just don't realize this, normally, in the midst of the busy-ness of our "ordinary" waking consciousness -- while, in truth, everything is already contained here, right now, within the present moment, within this Infinite field of Awareness. All we have to do is simply "wake up" to the immediacy of this Reality.

In describing the Self-Realization of Ramana Maharshi, 
K. Swaminathan explained that:
     "...the atman [Self] reveals itself to whom it chooses,
      and there is no accounting for the phenomenon of
      jivanmukti [liberation of the soul]....Revelation
      cannot be predicted or produced but may be explained
      after the event." (pp. 2-3)
 

In another sense, the Awakening experience can only be understood in terms of the larger context within which it occurs. Ultimately, in some inexplicable and mysterious way, things are the way they are simply because the universe is the way it is. Whether we realize it or not, everything is related to, and in some sense contributes to, the presence and existence of everything else.

In this sense, any experience of Awakening does not exist
separately or independently from All That Is.
     "A thing is as it is because the universe
      is as it is."
 
     "Considering the endless list of factors required 
      for anything to happen, one can only admit that
      everything is responsible for everything, however
      remote."             -- Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
 

Baker Roshi once said of the experience of Awakening: "Enlightenment is an accident. Meditation makes you accident prone." In his book, Experience and Philosophy: A Personal Record of Transformation and a Discussion of Transcendental Consciousness, Franklin Merrell-Wolff describes the spontaneous nature of Awakening in this way: "...the Recognition is not the effect of any causes set up in the space-time or subject-object manifold. This must be so, for THAT which transcends causality cannot be Itself an effect of something else. Recognition actually is a spontaneous induction out of Spirit Itself. Man's personal effort merely removes barriers in his nature that inhibit this spontaneous induction." (p. 81)

Based upon my own experience, the spontaneous nature of Awakening is part of its inexpressible Beauty. And, what becomes perfectly clear during the Experience is that the only veil separating us from a full and complete realization of our own fundamental and essential nature is the aggregation of barriers and blockages associated with a limited, individual identity.

These limitations are not a fundamental or essential part of who we are, except to the extent that everything is part of who we are. All we "need" to do to see and understand this aspect of Reality is simply let go of the misidentifications that are preventing us from recognizing our True Nature.



"Ripeness is all."
-- Shakespeare

Ripening into Awakening
In many ways, I believe the process of Awakening is comparable to the natural process of fruit ripening on a tree. Each of us is gradually ripening, in our own unique way, and in our own appropriate time.

Then, at some unforeseeable and unpredictable moment, one of us suddenly falls free from the "Tree of Restless Seeking." Upon reaching The Ground below, this Ripened One cries out in the sheer delight of Discovery, and through the voice of Experience (echoing the countless voices of many who have already "fallen" before), this newly Awakened One exclaims to those still high in the tree above: "Let go! All you need to do is let go!"

Those near to their own moment of Awakening will hear and understand, hastening the their own ripening even further. Others, however, who are still emerging, quite naturally and gradually, from various stages of diminishing "greenness," will continue clinging to the familiarity and apparent stability of the tree, not realizing that their attachment to the comfort of the known is preventing their release into the certainty of the Known.

Nonetheless, part of the miracle of this natural and inevitable process is that even those still holding fast to their seeking will benefit from the falling of the Ripened One, for his or her example will stand as yet another remarkable reminder that the experience of Awakening is inherent within each and every one of us.

No amount of effort is needed.  
No amount of effort will be successful.  
And yet, through mindful attention 
to the Background of Awareness
inherent within the Present Moment, 
Awakening will inevitably dawn upon you.
 
In that Instant
you will delight in the Reality
of who and what you have been all along.
                -- Metta Zetty
 

...there is no place for using effort. Just be ordinary and nothing special. Eat your food, move your bowels, pass water, and when you're tired, go and lie down. The ignorant will laugh at me, but the wise will understand. -- Lin-chi

In the end, this is the confounding paradox of Awakening:
there is nothing we need to do, or even can do, to elicit the experience of Awakening -- and yet, Openness is everything.

Some have suggested the possibility that the energy of
Awakening is, itself, contagious. In fact, during the moment
of Recognition there is often an "Ah-ha!" which we are
tempted to interpret as transmission, but this is simply
the stunning immediacy of discovering the Reality that
has been here all along.


1997-2003, Metta Zetty
All Rights Reserved.




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