Awakin.org

Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Be Alight with Who We Are

--by Mark Nepo (Jun 12, 2017)


There is always purpose in being, but not always being in purpose.

How easily we get caught up in defining who we are in relation to those around us. I remember walking home from school in fourth grade, when I noticed Roy, a classmate I didn't really like, walking at the same pace as me on the other side of the street. Until I noticed Roy, I was lost in the joy of walking home, free of school, not yet enmeshed in the anger that waited inside my house. But once seeing Roy, I began, without a word, to walk faster, to try to outwalk him. He, of course, sensed this immediately and picked up his gait. As he strode ahead of me, I felt lacking and so stepped up my gait. Before I knew it, we were both racing to the corner, and I felt that if I didn't get there first, I would be a terrible failure.

I have lived enough in the world to know by now that this is how our ambitions often evolve. We first find ourselves alone in the joy of what we're doing. But somehow, there are suddenly others along the way, and we lapse into the breath-less race of comparison, and then we are hopelessly running to avoid being termed a failure.

From here, we often latch onto the nearest goal as a purpose; if we can' t find one nearby, we are thought to be adrift. But our lasting sense of purpose is in our breathing, in our being. As the humanitarian Carol Hegedus reminds us, "Our purpose is that which we most passionately are when we pay attention to our deepest selves."

So underneath all our worries about careers and jobs and retirements, our purpose really comes down to living fully, to being alight with who we are beneath all the names and titles we are given or aspire to.

Imagine Buddha in his moment of enlightenment, of being lighted from within. I doubt if he knew he was aglow. In fact, when Buddha rose from under the Bodhi tree, it is said a monk approached him in utter amazement at his luminosity and asked, "O Holy One, what are you? You must be a God." Buddha, not thinking of himself as anything but present, answered, "No ... not a God," and kept walking. But the dazzled monk persisted, "Then you must be a Deva," and Buddha stopped and said, "No ... not a Deva," and kept walking. Still, the monk pursued him, "Then you must be Brahma himself!" At this, Buddha simply uttered, "No." The monk, confused, implored, "Then what are you—Tell me, please—what are you?!" Buddha could not repress his joy and replied, "I am awake."

Can it be that our purpose, no matter whom we run into, no matter what we are told, is simply to be awake?

From Mark Nepo's Book of Awakening.

Add Your Reflection:

Send me an email when another comment is posted on this passage.
Name: Email:

5 Previous Reflections:

 
On Jun 15, 2017 Kapil wrote:

 Awake: A Wake - In fluid dynamics a wake is a region of recirculating flow immediately behind a moving or stationary blunt body, that is accompanied by separation or turbulence. We may be (a wake) when driven (moving with purpose) or (a wake) when we are still and stationary like a blunt body and observing the flow of life in/out. Its then we can begin to see the separation or turbulence being caused each moment. If we are not observant at the source, then when we realize we are (a wake) we may have gone far away. See the photo of a wake caused in the ocean to get a good idea. Some say the mind is like the ocean. Then being awake (a wake) observing the constant incessant creation of waves and their spread. As I look inwards I find there is a third dimension. As I begin to awake to the nature of my mind, I find that though I am still, why is it that there are continuous wakes occurring. I would like for the waters to calm down. Then I realize that waves are caused due to the blow  See full.

 Awake: A Wake - In fluid dynamics a wake is a region of recirculating flow immediately behind a moving or stationary blunt body, that is accompanied by separation or turbulence.
We may be (a wake) when driven (moving with purpose) or (a wake) when we are still and stationary like a blunt body and observing the flow of life in/out. Its then we can begin to see the separation or turbulence being caused each moment. If we are not observant at the source, then when we realize we are (a wake) we may have gone far away. See the photo of a wake caused in the ocean to get a good idea. Some say the mind is like the ocean. Then being awake (a wake) observing the constant incessant creation of waves and their spread.

As I look inwards I find there is a third dimension. As I begin to awake to the nature of my mind, I find that though I am still, why is it that there are continuous wakes occurring. I would like for the waters to calm down. Then I realize that waves are caused due to the blowing of the wind and the wind is caused due to the heat. As the observing mind (the sun) shines down intensely on the ocean of my own mind and body, the air slows down, because it is just rising upwards with the water vapor.  There is intense calmness and very few wakes are formed. I am (a wake) but in a different sense. I am awake to everything that is happening. I feel alight, yet there is nothing to do then to be alight.

I find this sort of awakening to be my deepest self. I allows me to be around people, engaging with them, listening, talking etc. Yet because there is so much heat of observation, there is an intense low pressure within. The winds can blow in from all directions, yet they immediately rise up. This allows for the clouds of rain to form. For the others too to experience being at the source of things.


Hide full comment.

On Jun 15, 2017 Brinda wrote:

 "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." - Henry David Thoreau  I have always resonated with this quote which I think reflects the spirit of the Awakin passage. In being true to your true being, you don't need to compare or compete with others, and you can just be present with the joy of being.  It also reminded me of something that Ani Choying Drolma said in last week's circle, that "I focus on what I need to be doing right now". This sense of being fully engaged and present is described in the passage as the joy the boy feels in walking home...and it is this joy which is lost when he focuses instead on outrunning the other fellow.  Finally, a poem shared by a friend: (which I think speaks volumes on how to access our inner light) Clearing by Martha Postlewaite Do not try to save the whole wor  See full.

 "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."
- Henry David Thoreau 
I have always resonated with this quote which I think reflects the spirit of the Awakin passage. In being true to your true being, you don't need to compare or compete with others, and you can just be present with the joy of being. 
It also reminded me of something that Ani Choying Drolma said in last week's circle, that "I focus on what I need to be doing right now". This sense of being fully engaged and present is described in the passage as the joy the boy feels in walking home...and it is this joy which is lost when he focuses instead on outrunning the other fellow. 
Finally, a poem shared by a friend: (which I think speaks volumes on how to access our inner light)

Clearing
by Martha Postlewaite

Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create
a clearing
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
patiently,
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world
so worth of rescue.


 

Hide full comment.

On Jun 12, 2017 david doane wrote:

 There is always purpose in being, but not always being in purpose.  So true.  I agree with Hegedus that our purpose is to passionately be who we are and let go of trying to accomplish some purpose.  Pursuit of a purpose often compromises our self.  In passionately being who we are, we are not competing, not comparing, not goal directed, and we are being true to ourselves and performing action that is right action in the moment.  I have had moments when my speech or action has been fully in synchrony with my real self, not purpose oriented, and I am alight with who I am at my core.  What helps me live fully and be alight with who I am is knowing that I am happiest when I engage in my right process and action and let go of concern about outcome.  It is the opposite extreme of being political.



On Jun 9, 2017 xiaoshan wrote:

The tricky part is to know who you are. who are you really? You are likely not who you think you are (there is too much illusion in there for the least). You are certainly not what others think you are (it is fairly easy to find evidence to support this). Nevertheless, these two sources pretty much are how we operate in daily life.  If you do not really know who you are, to whom you would be alright with?  :)



On Jun 9, 2017 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

 Reading this writing took me back when I was 5 years old. Every morning my dad used to chant the song of awakening. It has become a light house for me. The song is in Hindi. " Utha jaag musafir bhore bahi aba rayn kahnatak sovat hai. Jo sovat hai vo khovat hai, jo jagat hai vo pavat hai." Let me translate this song in English. " Hey traveler, wake up. Morning has dawned. How long will you keep on sleeping? One who wakes up receives blessings and the one who keeps on sleeping misses the Divine gifts."  To me life is a journey, a pilgrimage. We all are pilgrims of light. I am one of the pilgrims walking on my path. There have been times in my life when I took a wrong step. I hurt myself and hurt others close to me and around me. I woke up from my sleep and resumed my walking keeping my inner eyes open. I leaned form my fall. Got up and continued my pilgrimage. I have learned that light is within me. I do not need to look for it outside of me. The  See full.

 Reading this writing took me back when I was 5 years old. Every morning my dad used to chant the song of awakening. It has become a light house for me. The song is in Hindi. " Utha jaag musafir bhore bahi aba rayn kahnatak sovat hai. Jo sovat hai vo khovat hai, jo jagat hai vo pavat hai." Let me translate this song in English.
" Hey traveler, wake up. Morning has dawned. How long will you keep on sleeping? One who wakes up receives blessings and the one who keeps on sleeping misses the Divine gifts." 

To me life is a journey, a pilgrimage. We all are pilgrims of light. I am one of the pilgrims walking on my path. There have been times in my life when I took a wrong step. I hurt myself and hurt others close to me and around me. I woke up from my sleep and resumed my walking keeping my inner eyes open. I leaned form my fall. Got up and continued my pilgrimage.

I have learned that light is within me. I do not need to look for it outside of me. The face of light is covered by the veil of my egoic mind. When I become still and open, I discover the light within me and I follow it. Following this light brings joyful bliss in me. It keeps me on the path of love, compassion, and gratitude.I feel free from the grip of the past and the worry about the future. The inner world of worry and missing something takes me away from the Present, which is beyond time and space. Our suffering is created by the mental constructs creating divisiveness in me and  others. And I am still journeying living in the here and now. Life is a blessing.

May we walk on the path of life keeping our mind and heart open to be touched by the inner light of awakening!

Namaste.

Jagdish P Dave














Hide full comment.