Why awaken? In this video, learn what enlightenment, awakening, Christ consciousness, or Buddha nature actually means for us as modern people who want to be more conscious. Discover why we would bother pursuing that state of being.

Enlighten-Up is a monthly livestream session with Dharma Teachers Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat. These candid talks on spirituality and awakening are to enliven and enlighten you, as the world spins in challenging times.

Why Awaken? Key Points from the Video:

Less suffering, more compassion.

Fundamentally, awakening helps us to suffer less, and to cause less suffering for other people.  Awakening allows us to be in a position to spread the joy and to be less subject to the suffering that comes at us from the world and other people. Suffering isn’t just major kinds of pain and distress, suffering can include boredom, restlessness and the irritations of modern life!

The Realization of Spaciousness.

Spiritual awakening is the realization of spaciousness – a true knowing of that space between one thought and another, between one feeling and another. It is in that spaciousness that your freedom lies, where there is no obstruction or difficulty.  Awakening is about living in the spaciousness and then going out and engaging in the world.

Why not?

The awakened state is about compassion, which includes everyone and everything. It feels very good. It is deceptively simple and natural. It is a beautiful thing, the birthright of a human being. To awaken is to become more conscious and aware. It is about turning the lights on, not being in the darkness of ignorance any more.  If we think of the metaphor of sleep and dream, most of us have lack of control or power over that state. The lights are ‘out’. Likewise in our daily lives we think we are awake but so much of what we do is actually asleep, we are operating from habit.

You can learn and adapt with resilience.

With awakening, the ego’s impediments and habitual patterns are loosened. Like a sleep walker waking up, the awakening mind has greater freedom and ability to explore in a wider range. it is the beginning of the ability to learn without veils and blocks.

Awakening gives you an ability and desire to keep growing and unfolding throughout your entire life. Awakening means you can actually listen without fighting the programming of your conditioning. You can be with different types of people, experiences and situations more easily. You have greater adaptability and resilience.  Every person will have several traumas in their life. Being more awake will help you move through those traumas more easily.

Question: How do you know you’re ready for your first meditation retreat?

Nobody ever feels ready for their next growth experience. Our view is that if the thought to start meditating is arising in your mind and the opportunity is there, then you are ready.  Just do it. Its good to start. Your first retreat is a tremendous milestone. Make a commitment, know what you’re getting into before you go and happy exploring.   Guidance in meditation is also helpful, which is why we recommend our Insight Meditation Retreats and our retreat center‘s online course, Ignite Your Spiritual Life.

Question: Waking Up vs Growing Up (Integral Spirituality)

There is a different between the relative truth and absolute truths of existence. Integral spirituality, the work of Ken Wilbur, describes ‘stages’ which your personality must meet and work for.  ‘States’ on the other hand, that spacious space of epiphany, awakening, experiences from meditation and so forth are also important. The two however are not necessarily integrated. Spiritual practitioners, even if they are in a good ‘state’, can have shadow aspects that they aren’t seeing, perhaps putting them in a lower ‘stage’ of development. Therefore it is important we work on our state of being as well as our stages of development.

Spirituality isn’t fixed, it grows and changes over time, it evolves. Buddhism itself has changed dramatically in Asia since the time of the Buddha. And it is still changing in the West, where it has met psychology.  Every generation, the state of awakening remains the same however the complexity of awakening, how it appears and interacts in the world, changes.

Enlighten-Up Live: Watch the next livestream in person.

Doug & Catherine Sensei will be streaming on facebook live each month. Look for the livestream listing by following the Planet Dharma facebook page.

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