Are YOU Awake or Asleep? - COTRUGLI
Strategies for a smarter and better future
Banking in Ancient Rome
Strategies for a smarter and better future
Banking in Ancient Rome

Are YOU Awake or Asleep?

Although you believe you woke up this morning, likely, you are still asleep! Not the kind of sleep that keeps you in deep ‘snooze mode’. But the sleepiness that overcomes us all to some extent or other, during our waking hours. It takes time and the conscious practice of self-awareness and self-understanding to awaken from the illusions, delusions and confusions that we accumulate on life’s journey. When you realize how asleep we ALL become it almost looks like a conspiracy. It’s just that if there were conspirators they would be asleep themselves! Waking up and staying awake means ‘seeing through’ the many illusions we assimilate and delusions that we create. That means noticing the false beliefs to which we are subconsciously clinging and recognizing that those beliefs are not true. Only when we reawaken a deeper awareness of what is true or accurate will our thoughts, feelings and behaviours change. Some of those illusions are so obvious we might wonder why we didn’t see through them earlier. Others are harder to see as we are so well schooled to believe that the beliefs that keep us blind and sleepy are true!

The Alarm Clock

Waking starts to happen the moment you realize that you are doing one of three things –reacting to something/someone, resisting something/someone or repeating a previous mistake. In each case it is the ‘noticing’ of some form of mental discomfort or emotional disturbance within our consciousness that signals we are lost in the sleep of illusion and delusion. This is the alarm clock called ‘suffering’. However just as there is a moment when we awaken in the morning it’s the next moment that holds the choice to either decide to stay awake or go back to sleep! Similarly, as soon as we ‘notice’ that we are reacting, resisting or repeating, it’s the next moment that will define whether we want to ‘wake up’ and stay awake or prefer to go back to sleep and allow the reaction/resistance/repetition to take over. Otherwise know as laziness. Perversely, as long as we can tolerate the suffering our laziness is ‘likely’ to kick in and win. More often than not it seems to be the easy option to return to our slumber (just as we do in our beds on weekends!). We won’t stay awake until the suffering, which is the price we pay for sustaining our illusions, is either so great we don’t want to go back to sleep or we just get tired of mental/emotional suffering! Either way, just as we eventually have to awaken in the morning so, some day, we will have to awaken from the illusions and beliefs that keep us unaware of reality. Are you awake or are you still asleep? Here are eight of the main signs and symptoms of someone who is sleepwalking through their life.

1 Stress Projections

You are still asleep if you blame others, situations or events for your stressful feelings. You believe others create your stress. Stress is a form of pain or discomfort that comes to tell you there is something you need to change within your self, not in the other. All stress is self-created regardless of the circumstances. That’s why some people appear to be emotionally devastated by some situations whereas others sail on through without a second thought. Every time you blame others for what you feel it means you are asleep to the truth that your thoughts and feelings are your response, therefore your creation, therefore your responsibility or ‘response ability’. The awakened person accepts full responsibility for their thoughts/emotions/attitudes/actions…everywhere and always! Not easy, especially when almost everyone seems to find it easier to point the finger, which means they have learned to mistakenly believe ‘it’s not me, it’s them’.

2 Self Comparisons

You are still asleep whenever you compare yourself with another person. It means you have not yet realized your own uniqueness and value. In effect you are saying, “I want to be someone else”. You believe that you should aspire to be like someone else and that when you are you will have achieved some sort of success. Which of course is impossible. Or you unconsciously believe, “I am unworthy, I am of less value than them”. Which is untrue! The awakened soul knows their value and is able to affirm their own worth. They never aspire to be someone else. They are constantly rising to the challenge of expanding their capacity and awakening their own personal potential.

3 Controlling Behaviour

You are still asleep whenever you attempt to control or manipulate others. Whenever you become upset with someone it means you subconsciously believe you can control what you cannot control. You believe that you can make others do your bidding. Sometimes it looks like they do, but they don’t. The truth is everyone makes their own decisions on how they will act and interact, regardless of the external situation and circumstances. If you are a clever sleepwalker you may even sense the vulnerabilities of others and be quite adept at exploiting them to your own ends. But that only keeps you locked in a false power trip that is actually draining your power. As you try to take advantage of the other, deep down your conscience knows that you are compromising your authenticity and acting against the grain of ‘right relationship’. The awakened soul never takes advantage of other sleepwalkers. They know their role is to awaken others, not exploit them. Sometimes they’re called ‘leaders’.

4 Emotional Indulgence

You are still asleep when you indulge your emotions, when you go searching for some stimulus to invoke the ‘feeling’ of certain emotional states. Perhaps you like to argue because is seems to enliven your day, which means you are indulging in anger. If you keep talking about what went wrong, what you have lost, it means that you like to wallow in your own sorrow. And if you keep looking into the future with trepidation and anxiety then you are likely to have an addiction to fear. The awakened soul has broken their addiction to, and dependency on, their emotional states. They have relearned to choose and create their feelings at each moment in every scene. Not so easy in a world where the most common currency of exchange in so many of our relationships tends to be the ‘emotions of unhappiness’.

5 Being Controlled

You are still asleep if you believe ‘you’ are being controlled by others, the government, circumstances etc. Just as we cannot control someone else so no one can control us. It can be hard to see this if we had parents and teachers and perhaps friends who believed they could control us. In which case we have been conditioned to believe we can be controlled. But they don’t (and didn’t) really control us, it just seems that way until we realize regardless of the situation we create our own responses. The awakened soul knows that they make their own decisions, create their own thoughts and feelings, and generate their own actions everywhere and at every moment of their life, regardless of the circumstances. Realizing this sets us free of the illusion that we are victims or slaves. Staying awake and internally free in a world that celebrates victimhood and slavery is a daily challenge. It’s not a battle for freedom, but a vigilant awareness of the moments we entrap ourselves.

6 Happy Purchasing

You are still asleep if you go shopping to be happy. It means you are still attempting to complete yourself with something that is not you! It means you are still trying to find fulfillment by filling your life with stuff. The awakened soul knows that they are already complete and can never be diminished. Their only effort is to remember and reveal their already fulfilled self every day!

7 Problem People

You are still asleep if you believe the ‘other person’ is the problem. You have not yet realized that it’s not what others say or do that is the problem, it’s how you judge them that creates your negative feelings about them. In effect, it’s how you see them that’s the real problem. But even that is not a problem. It just means you have not yet learned to ‘consciously choose’ how you perceive others. You are still at the mercy of old conditioned perceptions, based on beliefs created or copied yesterday. One clear sign of this is an absence of compassion towards others. To the awakened soul, the ‘other person’ is never the problem.

8 Detached Expectations

You are still asleep if your happiness is dependent on your expectations being met. You probably have not yet seen that your expectations are really desires in disguise. And all desires have fear (which is stress) built in – fear of not getting what you want. It means you still believe you are missing something in your life, in yourself. And when your expectations are not met you get upset and thereby chase your own happiness away. The awakened soul has ‘desire free’ expectations and if they are not fulfilled it’s OK, they don’t lose the plot, because their happiness is not dependent on their expectations being met. Waking up from these illusions and staying awake is the challenge we all face if we are to live peacefully, lovingly and joyfully. Hence the value of developing the art of paying attention to your feelings and cultivating an awareness of their origins. It’s not that we need to struggle to get rid of these illusions and beliefs but simply see them for what they are. As you do you will ‘see through’ them. Only then will they lose their power to shape your thoughts, feelings, and actions. On the journey between ‘here’ and being fully and consistently awake there are the inevitable fluctuations between waking and sleeping, victory and defeat, illusion and reality. Until staying awake and aware is as natural as being asleep used to be! After a while it becomes obvious that everyone, no matter how exalted or elevated, how humble or how simple they may be, will have to make the same journey, make the same effort, undertake the same awareness practice. As we sleep together so we awaken…together!

Question: To raise self-awareness review which of the above symptoms that you display the most – rate each one (1 is low and 10 is high)
Reflection: Take one of the above each day for the next few days and visualize the awakened state and see how well you can practice it during the day.
Action: Send this to a friend and begin a conversation entitled “Waking Up – Do You Agree?” and in so doing support each other as you develop your mutual understanding of how to change the above ‘sleepy’ patterns.

Written by our professor Mike George.