It's Not a Journey...It's an Awakening

The metaphor of people being  like prisoners with all the doors shut, not even knowing they have the key to get out is easily understood. It's been said a million times. Upon realizing they have the key, most hesitate to use it anyway.  And if they do use it, fear immediately sets in.

It is easy for me to look over my past and see that there were times I loved my enslavement. When I was young, I remember that my life was all about my suffering. I embraced and operated out of Buddha's first Nobel Truth: Life is suffering. I was addicted to the drama and pain in my first marriage. My suffering was what distinguished me, what allowed me to identify who I was and why I was the way I was. There is, indeed, something inside a person who continues to suffer, a part of them that loves it.

"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." – Plato

I have spoken in the past of and will continue to speak about the nature of duality, the role of opposites. I often speak about the rise and the fall, the up and the down. But I never quite get to the point where I tell the truth. The reason I don't tell the truth-which I am going to do here-is because understanding the darkness is important if you ever expect to understand the light. Before you can gain an enlightened viewpoint of unity, you will first know separation, fragmentation. But that doesn't mean that's all there is.

My experience has been to confirm for people the aspect of their journey through time because that is what they know up to that particular point. The good and bad are interwoven. This understanding gives us the opportunity to somehow reconcile in our minds what is irreconcilable from any other point of view. This is what people believe. It's a good starting point. But there's more.

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us."  Ralph Waldo Emerson

At heart, there are very few, if any, beings who are not struggling. Struggle and pain make the journey seem so long, so hard and so difficult. But herein lies so much growth and so much enlightenment. Why do you think it is a journey? Because that is what you were told. Why do you think that something can only exist unless its opposite exists? Because that's what you were told. Why do you think you have to work at marriage? Because that's what you were told. Why do you believe ANYTHING? Because that's what you were told.

"The Divine (Self) cannot be the object of your knowledge because it is the subject who knows." Sufi Master; Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan.

But what if? What if it's not a journey? What if time is not needed? What if I were to say that it is not a journey...that it is an awakening...what would you say? Are you willing to consider that for the moment?

Terry and I were in a Wendy's restaurant several years. I knew immediately upon entering that trouble was brewing. A customer was irate about his hamburger.

"I am so sorry, Sir, what did you order?" the clerk said, trying politely to get him what he wanted.

Raising his voice and shaking the hamburger at her, enraged, he said, "Well, it sure wasn't this!"

I know what it's not...so do you. I know what love is not...so do you. I know what happiness is not...so do you. I know what peace of mind is not...so do you. But do you know what it is? Do you know what it is without the need to refer to what it is not? Can anything exists without its opposite? And the answer is, "Of course!"

So, try it on for size. Your life is not about getting somewhere or going anywhere (the "not"). It's about waking up. It's not about a journey...it's about an awakening.

"The final thought before the breakthrough was the very clear realization that there was nothing to be attained. For attainment implied acquisition and that implied change in content of consciousness. But the goal is not change but detachment from content. Thus I am already that which I seek and therefore there is nothing to be sought. By the very seeking, I hide myself from myself. Therefore abandon the search and expect nothing. This was for me the end of the long search, I died and in the same instant was born again. Spontaneity took over in place of the old self-determined effort, after that I knew directly the consciousness reported by the mystics again and again." Franklin Merrell-Woolf"The Philosophy of Consciousness without an Object"

I know what you don't want on your hamburger. What do you want?

Ashleigh Stoia