'Awakening in Life’ is a simple name and hopefully it readily communicates some implied meaning as to its significance. That being said, let's begin unpacking what is meant by Awakening in Life in a simple way, and let the rest of the guide serve to do this more thoroughly:
First, the name ‘Awakening in Life’ implies that ‘awakening’ has often been taken a having an ultimate goal of going beyond life (otherwise, there’s no need to say ‘in Life’). Classically, awakening has meant some flavor of transcending or escaping life because life itself is seen as inherently suffering, including even the temporary happiness that arises in it. Now, as you’ll see in this guide there is in fact some partial truth to this, but that approach leaves our awakening experience, our individual life, and our collective existence, fragmented.
Awakening in Life is an approach to fluidly integrate awakening and life, and vice versa.
So, to begin our journey in this guide simply: Awakening in Life embraces both awakening and life in three ways:
1. Life: As the opportunity to awaken.
We don’t need special conditions to awaken. Obviously we might seek out supportive environments from time to time for formal practice, like a retreat, but these conditions aren’t inherently necessary or a dependency for awakening.
Said another way, wherever we are, no matter our circumstances, we have an opportunity to awaken. This isn’t to say that all circumstances will be relatively of the same ease or difficulty to practice or awaken. But indeed, wherever we are, whatever we’re experiencing, this is our opportunity for awakening.
2. Life: What we are awakening through.
Not only do we not need special conditions to awaken, we can take our whole life as our practice, in all its forms, in all areas of life.
We can still make great use of time-tested practices, specifically designed for the purpose of awakening (and for healing, evolving, etc.), which will certainly make our path of awakening more intentional and effective.
Here we simply recognize that it is not merely, primarily, solely through these formal practices that we are awakening. We are awakening through everything. And at some point in our path, if we haven’t yet realized that all of life is where we awaken, we will inevitably have to contend with the resulting fragmenting of our presence, our embodiment, and our response. And the way we shift this is to embrace the intimacy of life as our path and practice in its entirety.
3. Life: What we are awakening for.
We might not seek special conditions to awaken, and we might wisely include all of our life and experiences as our opportunity to awaken, but what are we awakening for?
We realize that our life isn’t something we’re merely trying to go ‘beyond’ or ‘get around’. Life is why we are awakening. We awaken to have meaningful participatory impact on life because what happens in life matters.
We are awakening to be more present with ourselves, others, and the world, to be more responsive and engaged with life. Because of this our awakening necessarily, emphatically embraces grappling with the problems of the world, as well as loving in this life, even though it is changing, uncertain, and fleeting.