I’ve always loved this story:
As Buddha was walking down the road, someone approached from the other direction. This person was awed by the radiance shining from Buddha.
Excuse me, but are you a god?
Are you a king?
Are you a wizard?
Well, then what are you?
I am awake.
That story has always inspired me. When I think about what I want most in the world, what I value and practice and aspire to, it is this state of being awake – fully present and aware, deeply experiencing and directly engaged with life in this moment.
I thought of this story recently when someone used the term “woke” in its current popular usage related to politics and social issues.
I was curious to hear this term used in a way. It seemed to me that it was being used to distinguish groups of people who take specific positions on political or social issues. The line is drawn between those who are woke and those who are not, with woke being the more desirable or the more derided, depending on who is using it.
Let me be clear that I am not commenting on the politics or cultural origins of this term. What I am commenting on is its use as a judgment or assessment of division, a means of attack, similar to the way we have weaponized other terms, like American or immigrant. And of course, the old standbys of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and more.
Awakening does not divide; it unifies. It does not judge; it accepts. It does not demand; it radiates. It does not fear; it embraces. May we all, like Buddha, be woke.
But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake. ~Pema Chodron
Your own Self-Realization is the greatest service you can render the world. ~Ramana Maharshi