We start each day with an awakening by definition. For some it is ‘we start each day, hopefully’ not as in a hopeful mood but hopefully we start the day. My 80 plus friend John used to joke that he always woke up in a good mood, because he didn’t take it for granted. He would say “Fantastic. I’m alive!” And start his day. I think it would serve us all well to do that. But I am sure this is not what Damon is referring to. I think he means the awakening of our authentic self, our soul if you like, the true and loving part of ourselves that will best navigate us through our lives.
My journey to Awakening will always be gradual but I sometimes have mini wake up calls, à la Eckhart Tolle, where I snap out my thoughts, and step back to become an observer of what’s in my present. For example, I might observe myself in an unengaged conversation, an angry mood I don’t want to be in or a petty argument which I am all heated up over. Sometimes when I am fighting with my kids, I get a fit of the giggles. I suddenly step out and see us there, all hot and bothered. It looks ridiculous. It is ridiculous! And when I get that gift of awakening and laugh, my kids can’t help but smile themselves, even if they want to stay angry and we laugh together.We are both awake. Next thing you know we are hugging and apologising, even joking about how we accidentally hurt ourselves or repeated ourselves and tried to hide it during the argument. The awakening is the beginning of the end of the argument; the beginning of love and closeness once more. I don’t want to fight and nor do they. It is fantastic to be able to ‘save face’ and exit stage left.
Being able to do this is such a gift. I actually think it saved my life. In Egypt 15 years ago I had 3 kids under 4 and was feeling particularly ill. For the first time in our 6 year marriage, I asked my then husband to come home from work early to look after us. As he took his time coming I was so angry with him that he decided to go and stay at a hotel. Another first. But because he is such a nutty engineer he couldn’t find any of his clothes to pack. As he was storming about the room where I lay in bed, I got the giggles and we managed to resolve the fight. That night on my way to the bathroom I passed out and defecated on the floor. I was in intensive care for a few days and the doctor said I might not have made it through that night. (Tropical disease, severe dehydration in case you are curious.)
Anyway I digress. Really being awake is where the fun starts, the new beginning. You begin to experience joy, optimism and hope, like when you fall in love. It’s the beginning of new experiences and your world seems at least manageable if not downright pleasurable. You have this inner voice that tolerates and appreciates, starting with yourself. If you are kind to yourself, you are more likely to be kind to others (see the post on All Criticism is Self Criticism).
Another way to picture the potential strength of an Awakening is to imagine winning the lottery. Suddenly your future happiness looks assured (of course it will not be as our internal world always prevails and the luxuries eventually fail to provide ongoing comfort as we take them for granted) and you begin to see everything differently.
So I repeat Damon’s words. Awakenings are just the beginning. There is so much more to come once you are awake. ‘Today is the first day of the rest of your life’ I have heard. So shape your life from here. It’s just as well to remember that and I am glad I am awake to get started!