A Handbook of Awakening – 36 key tips

Notes to self.

Get in the flow of Awakening: There is no end-game. It’s an ever-going process. However, there are thresholds, and with some practice, we can be in the flow of awakening, where it will continue to ebb and flow, go forward and recede, on its own, and the movement will be towards a being who is natural, with a tendency to enjoy all experiences, and a tendency to act from fresh innocence instead of stale beliefs and fear.

Awareness: This is the magic which makes it all happen. With some practice, awareness is technique-less, unbidden, effortless, and choiceless. It is innate—it requires no thought or concept or belief to be. You can develop this by observing thought, meditating, being utterly in the Now, or simply by falling back in awareness. The short moments of awareness add up.

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credit: justinlai

Release: learn a release technique which resonates with you, such as the beyond-karma release, the Sedona Method or EFT. Feel better right now, right here. Let go of the rubbish.

Learn: Read, listen, watch. Don’t get attached to any particular teaching or view of existence. See other articles here through search or the category button on the menu, External Resources, and you can also find excellent blogs through the comments.

Indulge in loving self-acceptance:  Acceptance is not something we do. It is something we stop doing. Acceptance is when we stop resisting what already is. It comes about naturally when we learn to release.

Accept ebb and flow: Awakening will bring about periods of deep resonance, as well as turmoil and inertia. External life, career, work, goals, relationships, lifestyle, outlook and the body can change dramatically, often in uncomfortable and confusing ways. Our tendency is to control. It is in patience and allowing and watching that we can see that the low times are often the resistance of conflicting beliefs, and we can release.

“Do not seek Truth; only cease to cherish opinion.” What trips us up on our way to innocent and powerful awareness is the clinging to beliefs and concepts. Don’t let the mind fixate on any particular belief or idea or viewpoint. I’ve found that every bit of resistance I’ve encountered has come down to some form of clinging to a concept or belief.

Understand the mind. Come into the right relationship with the ego and the mind. You are not thought, ego, emotion, beliefs, desires, aversions, thoughts of the past, or thoughts of the future, or conditioning. I generally use the word “mind” to refer to these thinking processes. The book Power of Now is good start in understanding the mind and ego.

Develop a gentle honesty with yourself.

Develop a Toolbox: observe thought, meditate, be present, keep attention in the body when listening and interacting; release compulsive thoughts; light up your chakras; send up metta (loving-kindness-friendliness), learn release techniques, observe emotions…See How-to-awaken category.

Be compassionate. This Buddhist saying has stayed with me: Whenever I am angry or offended at someone, it is always because I am afraid of the same thing in me. It’s just so much easier to be compassionate and open.

Be patient. Awakening will ebb and flow in surprising ways. Allow it. Every bit of the process is the releasing of resistance, and sometimes this can be uncomfortable, but never beyond our capabilities. “When you don’t get what you want, sometimes it’s a wonderful stroke of luck.”

Forgive: Forgiving is moving on, releasing the painful chains of the past. It is that, but in the end it is an internal process of self-acceptance, the dropping of resistance. It is seeing that there is no one to forgive, and no one who can forgive, and no one who needs forgiveness. Know that everyone does absolutely the best they can under the circumstances of their conditioning.

Be grateful: If you look back at the moments in your life that were truly and naturally joyful, you may find that they were infused with a natural and uncontrived gratitude for being alive and conscious. Gratitude is the appreciation of existence.

Write: Keep a journal. If you’re not used to doing this, start with sending emails to yourself. Writing out your experiences helps not only understand them but it also helps maintain an awareness from a broader vantage point.

Try Rational Recovery to overcome addictions.

Eat mindfully: Diets do not work. The body knows best, but with the complex of conflicting  beliefs we build in ourselves, we are far removed from the natural functioning of the body, and we are easily fooled by unnatural cues and heavy promotion of non-foods. Allow the body to do its thing, simply by paying full attention to how you feel before, while, and after eating. Simple rules: Eat when slightly hungry, eat whatever you want, stop when full, and pay full attention before, after, and during eating.

Enjoy easy movement. Enjoy walking, Hatha Yoga, Tai Chi or similar meditative movements. The secret to exercising all your life is not to exercise, but instead to relish in the joy of movement, every day, for the rest of your life.

Get plenty of sleep.

Get up early.

Be open to resonant purpose: For me, a love of writing and experiences with awakening have led naturally to writing about awakening. This purpose defines my life and makes decisions easy. Many of us are very concerned about finding our purpose or passion. It’s far more important to see that every being is the same Essence and every being’s inner purpose is to awaken. The purpose of life is simply to experience. When this inner purpose is realized, in this still presence, outer purpose will sometimes be invited.

Develop relationships: Family and friends are important. Be present and aware as a compassionate example. Take care of your personal agreements and social contracts. Sometimes agreements break, and relationships come to an end. Expand your purpose to include breakage with compassion.

Simplify. De-clutter your life and your surroundings. Pare down your commitments. Pare down your goals. Practice minimalism. Own as little as you’re comfortable with. Consume as little as you’re comfortable with.

Do less, enjoy more. Slow way down. Single task. If you really want to accomplish a goal, set exactly one goal at a time. Do everything that supports it. Avoid everything that resists it. Bring it down to the essentials.

Release the angst. We’re tempted to chase self-discipline, self-improvement, the law of attraction, positive thinking, optimism, motivation, passion, purpose, spirituality, the meaning of life and all the rest of it. We already know intuitively that living in flow cannot possibly this complicated. Develop awareness and face up to what’s negative in you, accept it, allow it, and release it, and you will find what’s left is positivity in abundance.

Go on news fast.

Go on a TV fast.

Go on an internet fast.

Travel as often as you can

Create as much alone time as you’re comfortable with

Simplify money. Think of money as energy. It helps us get things done. Money is a practical matter; don’t depend on money for completion. Be frugal. Get out of debt. Cut down on bills, cut down on credit cards, cut down the number of accounts. Own as little as you’re comfortable with. Consume as little as you’re comfortable with.

Be aware of non-sustainability of rigid structures. Many of humanity’s rigid structures are built on the collective ego. These will not sustain. We may be seeing the beginning of fundamental failure in many areas: the economy, ecology, fulfillment, religion, wars, nationalism, food and so on.

Send out compassion. Volunteer. Help others. The best way to change the world is by example of awakening. Inner peace is virally contagious.

Be friendly to the earth and fellow animals: Be aware of the institutionalized cruelty to animals. It’s a difficult subject, but we must be aware of the extensive institutionalized cruelty. Be aware of the unsustainable practices of abusing natural resources.

Be in nature as much as you can

No one can do this for you, but you are not alone: We have family and friends and books and resources, and now with the internet, there are many forums and blogs and people who are willing to help. We simply have to reach out and share. To explore more on any particular item, use the search box or the category button on menu at the top. Check out the External Resources page. Follow back to other blogs from the comments.

45 thoughts on “A Handbook of Awakening – 36 key tips

  1. Jodi at Joy Discovered

    Love these notes to self! I especially like how you phrased getting in the flow of Awakening as a “tendency to act from fresh innocence instead of stale beliefs and fear.” That is so poetic! I also think your advice to release the angst is crucially important. Thank you for sifting through all the information out there and listing this in a concise and simple format!
    .-= Jodi at Joy Discovered´s last blog ..A Small Dose of Self-Care =-.

    Reply
  2. Nadia-Happy Lotus

    Hi Kaushik,

    Great list on Awakening! You did a wonderful job.

    All of what you wrote is so true and very helpful. The one point that stuck out the most for me was the one about not seeking truth. There was a time, many years ago, where I believed in the concept of absolute truth. Now I realize that such a thing does not exist. And often opinion relates to one’s understanding of the truth which causes some people to view life in black and white.

    The beauty is that life is so much more than what we can see.

    Hope all is awesome! :)

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Nadia,

      Thanks, and I completely agree. When we can unmoor from specific points of view, life opens up in fantastic ways!

      I hope all is awesome with you too!

      Namaste,
      k

      Reply
  3. Patty - Why Not Start Now?

    Hi Kaushik – Just the word. Awakening. I love it. One of my favorite words. For me it speaks of such depth and release. And I’m so glad you included going on a TV/news fast on your list. Stopping that constant chatter has been such a help for me. I would also add, at least for me, go on a computer/online fast. Thanks for the thoughtful piece; you bring such a calm energy to your writing. I think I do slow down when I come visit here.
    .-= Patty – Why Not Start Now?´s last blog ..Meaning Mondays: The Singing Blog Edition =-.

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Patty,

      I like the word Awakening too. Enlightenment is too loaded with assumptions. Awakening signifies a process, not an end. It can begin anywhere at anytime.

      Thank you for you kind words.

      I hope you’re doing well!

      love and peace,
      k

      Reply
  4. Brenda (betaphi)

    Great reminders, k. I especially like “relish in the joy of movement.” I might add to your list, Get some fresh air every day, even if it’s city air. When nasty weather keeps me indoors, as it has lately, I miss being able to work in my yard or sit on my porch swing and breathe fresh air.

    I have enjoyed following your discourse with Janice. Her yearning to know more and your willingness to help her are inspiring. I remember when Jonathan used to ask you frequent questions and then he went off and started his own blog. Janice, if you’re reading this, let me assure you that you’ve come to the right place.

    Kaushik, your site is such a safe, sane, kind and consistent place to be. I always leave here feeling calm. Lately, I have been wondering about your eight little e-books. They look like they could be chapters in a book. Do you have plans to combine them into a single volume at some point? If so, I want one, with an inscription on the inside that reads, “To my dear friend Brenda, peace and love, k” :)
    .-= Brenda (betaphi)´s last blog ..Seat Work =-.

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Brenda,
      Yes, fresh air! I live in Florida near the beach and the weather never keeps me in.

      Janice is very honest and forthcoming and opens up the discussions in very practical, grounded ways.

      I encourage anyone to start a blog. Writing helps us recognize ourselves. I was playing with the idea of providing web site design services, and I have written an number of essays on how to start websites in wordpress and how to write–I’ll get around publishing those articles here or another site, but if in the meantime, anyone wants to start a website similar to this one, I would be happy to help.

      Ah, on the books–you know I have plans but then something different comes up. Yes, the books can be combined–in fact, the book Beyond contains much of the other material. I split them because different things resonate with different people. I am writing two more and then you’re right, it will be time to re-write the ones I have. My writing is much simpler than it was when I started. I am honored that you would want an inscription!

      Brenda, your words are always kind and encouraging and I am glad to have you as friend.

      love and peace,
      k

      Reply
  5. Alex Blackwell

    All good points here, but the one that speaks to me the most is gratitude.

    I have experienced that when I slow down and show true gratitude to others then my soul feels more alive and awake. It’s as if I’m feeding it exactly what it needs to thrive.

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Alex,
      That’s wonderful that gratitude works so well for you. I see gratitude as a release. When I can be still and free, what is left is a deep appreciation for existence. Thanks!

      love and peace,
      k

      Reply
  6. Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord

    Kaushik, this could be written up and published as a pocket guide to living peacefully. I would buy it, and carry it with me. Some beautiful images to support your incredible prose, and you’d have yourself a bookstore best seller.

    I loved so much of this post, but this line jumped out at me, “Acceptance is not something we do. It is something we stop doing.”

    Amen, and thank you.
    .-= Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord´s last blog ..Love, the Eternal Law =-.

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Megan,

      Yes, we often try to understand acceptance as a concept, and then it is more like “I don’t like this but I’ll accept anyway because I’m supposed to.” My insight came when I realized it is not something I do or accumulate, it is there when I can let go.

      Thanks for the kind words, and I hope you are well!

      love and peace,
      k

      Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Liara,
      It seems with awakening there are lessons to learn along the way. A while ago I learned that all resistance comes down to fear. Recently I’ve learned we must fully love ourselves, love ourselves enough to awaken. Detaching from inner critic is indeed critical.

      Thanks and namaste,
      k

      Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Lana,

      “Do not seek Truth; only cease to cherish opinion.” is from Seng T’san’s poem called Hsin Hsin Ming. I first came across it in one of Adyshanti’s books or articles.

      Namaste,
      k

      Reply
  7. Steven | The Emotion Machine

    This is powerful stuff. You just kept hitting all the right points. This kind of advice is always a breath of fresh air compared to all the “The Secret” blogs that just stir people’s desires, only to leave them feeling empty inside, with no sense of the beauty of emptiness in itself.

    Your the first “blog post to tweet” of the day. That means I really, really liked this post! Keep up the good work!
    .-= Steven | The Emotion Machine´s last blog ..Mindful Risk-Taking: In Life And In Business =-.

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Steven,
      Yes, in my experience, The Secret and similar belief systems leave people feeling inadequate. It makes much more sense to be aware and release all the stuff that’s built up in us an makes us feel stuck.

      Thanks for tweet!

      love and peace,
      k

      Reply
  8. Amit Sodha - The Power Of Choice

    Brilliant list Kaushik,

    I like what you said about not being too attached to one particular belief system and I couldn’t agree more.

    I gave up watching the news a long time ago and it had quite a big impact on my life. I do now watch it occasionally for research purposes but it definitely made a huge difference when I gave it up.

    Thanks dude! :-)
    .-= Amit Sodha – The Power Of Choice´s last blog ..7 Enlightened Thoughts For A Kick-Ass Day =-.

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Amit,

      Yes, it’s amazing how much lighter we can feel with a news fast. I cut it out quite some time ago and then slowly integrated some of it.

      Thanks for visiting and the insight!

      peace and love,
      k

      Reply
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  10. Janice

    Hi K,
    What a week! I was involved in a car accident and it looks like my car maybe totaled and gone. My partner’s favorite aunt has been placed in hospice. My job responsibilities are changing at such a rapid speed, learning curve is unreal.
    But, let me share what is the result of all, I was panic stricken on losing my car, the money issues and fear were overwhelming and then I thought, wait a minute, my car is more than money. My car was one of the only things I had left when my marriage ended and I had so much security in the fact that I had a way to work and to my friends. My car represents so much about my ability to move forward and I have been lucky to have a dependable “friend”. My job… my boss is a published writer. I have always been in awe of her writing ability. This week I was given the task of writing a marketing letter to a new set of vendors for one of our programs. With shakey hands I passed the first draft to her, she made no corrections/edits. She said, “take this letter, create a brochure to support the program and get it out”, I was in a trance. She is not an “easy sell”. I spent last night in a hospice with my partner visiting his beloved aunt. She expressed love to him more than his mother ever was able. This is a big one. I took my best body lotion, in case, she would like a foot rub. the only thing I could think of to share with her. That did not happen, but, she was clammy and hot so I rinsed off a cool towel and placed it on her forehead and she sighed. I felt my “higher power” and her energy. My partner’s family came to town to visit their aunt. His sister and husband are extremely wealthy. I am not. I was so insecure about our little house. They ended up sleeping in our comfy bed (for 9.5 hours!!) and eating my homemade beef & barley soup. I shared who I am. Right now tears are in my eyes because I know that I have learned these things from you and your visitors. I cannot thank you and your posters enough. The folks here, tell the truth about where they are and what they are learning and how they are learning it. It was a mad, crazy week, I was running around all over the place, but, the good news is, for the first time in my life, I ran into myself.
    Much Love & Light,
    Janice

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Janice,
      Sound like an eventful week! It also sounds like you were present to what was happening, and that’s wonderful.

      My experience has been that in developing awareness and releasing, the tendency is towards a state which enjoys all experiences, with full and loving acceptance. Old beliefs and conditioning and resistance comes off in layers, and so there are times of discomfort and confusion. And there times of being in flow, where we’re the ego has surrendered control, and we are in flow, just like you felt this week.

      “…I ran into myself.” I love that!

      Thanks for sharing opening and for expressing your gratitude. I appreciate it.

      with love and peace,
      k

      Reply
  11. Janice

    Thank you, K.,
    I guess what I was also realizing is that you can learn these skills of awakening, and process all the information in the world, but, until you actually practice awareness, and release, all the quiet time, reading and writing will only get you so far. Like you told me before, anxiety….label feeling, am I willing to release, release. Confusion, saddness, uncomfortable feelings….. awareness, let it be, don’t resist, allow.
    I promise you,this works. I had many opportunities to practice in stressful life situations this week and it really works.
    Take care,
    Janice

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Janice, yes, that’s it. Keep practicing awareness, and keep releasing, and soon it becomes very natural. Thanks for sharing your experience; it is very helpful.

      Love and peace,
      k

      Reply
  12. Paul Maurice Martin

    That’s been the way to go for me too. Sometimes I wonder if it’s always been and always will be that only a fairly small fraction of folks feel this way. Look what we’ve done and are continuing to do to nature.

    Reply
  13. Evita

    Hi Kaushik

    What an amazing and thorough list!

    So many of the points you mentioned are just so practical that anyone can do them now, no need for any lengthy explanations or waiting for the right time.

    You know last fall we disconnected our cable tv for 3 months – what a wonderful fast! I mean we don’t watch tv much as it is, but just knowing that it was gone felt so good. We seriously considered selling our tv :)

    Anyhow, the other part that I think is really important to emphasize is as you mention too about not getting attached to a particular belief system. As we learn, grow and evolve, there are many new opportunities to attach to things being this way or that way, but that just locks us right back up.
    .-= Evita´s last blog ..Essential Energy With Cyndi Dale: The Shopping List of Opposite Sexes – Significance versus Security =-.

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Evita,
      Yes, it’s a strange experience with TV, we might feel that it will be difficult to give it up, but in a very short time, we feel lighter. It’s the same with the internet.

      Attachment to a belief system is what the ego does. Periodically, we feel we’ve really discovered something important, and we cling to it. Or we cling to accumulated concepts. It can feel a little scary to let go of beliefs in the beginning, but soon we feel the natural lightness of Awareness.

      Thanks for your insight and thanks for the kind words!

      love and peace,
      k

      Reply
  14. Jenny Mannion

    What a wonderful post! Shared and stumbled – thank you. I think patience was the one that got me the most! When you begin to awaken you EXPECT a lot of yourself and when old patterns arise or you do get out of the flow it can seem heart breaking because you KNOW how good it can be. :-) Patience is so important because as long as you stay aware things are happening for a reason and there are lessons to be learned and emotions to honor – life can get back to flowing sooner rather than later. :-) Thanks again. Love, Jenny
    .-= Jenny Mannion´s last blog ..Past Lives – What do They have to do with Healing? =-.

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Jenny,
      Yes, patience is very important. Awakening ebbs and flows, and patience and allowing has helped me through the ebbs. Thanks for the wonderful insight and thanks for visiting.

      love and peace,
      k

      Reply
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  17. Lynn

    I found your website by ebb and flow this morning as I was surfing the web.
    I am amazed at your insight and will be back to see what food you have to offer.

    I plan to declutter my bedroom today as a result of your wisdom.
    Your expression of life is refreshing….Thank you for sharing…..

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Lynn,

      Thank you. I am always grateful when people express their appreciation and when something here makes a real difference. I look forward to hearing from you again.

      love and peace,
      k

      Reply
  18. Jan

    Kaushik,I am so glad I stumbled across you this morning..I have been ebbing more than flowing recently :)) .This morning I found your writings and feel realigned ..thank you. I like awakening it is what we do,every day,every moment and it is beautiful
    love and peace
    jan

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Jan,
      Yes, that’s an important point, that awakening is in the present moment, in every moment. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

      love and peace,
      k

      Reply
  19. Frough

    Hi. Lovely article. I stumbled across it when I googled compulsive behaviour in relation to my vegetarianism. I was thinking of quit being a vegetarian after being one for 5 years since I was 15-16, and I felt that vegetarianism was an essential part of who I was and couldn’t/can’t let it go despite it possibly being unhealthy for me.. Anyway, I read your article and reached the part about animal cruelty. It got me thinking about whether it was just a coincidence that I stumbled across this right when I was about to let go of vegetarianism as a lifestyle. Do you consider eating meat as part of the “institutionalized” animal cruelty? Is it possible that being a vegetarian is my way of maintaining my mental and spiritual well-being or is it just dreamt up on my part…?

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Thanks, Frough.

      You’re asking some complicated questions which I think only you can really answer. Why do you think vegetarianism is unhealthful? Most people who say this are concerned about getting enough protein–but if you eat a variety of vegetarian foods, you’ll get plenty of protein. In fact, in the west, we eat excessive amounts of protein, and this is linked with various health problems, including osteoporosis. There are a number of good books on vegetarian nutrition. The “China Study” comes to mind, and of course there many others.

      I’m vegetarian for several reasons. I don’t want to support the institutional cruelty. I think that people buy animal products and just assume that the animals must have been treated humanely in the process, and this far from the truth. Of course, I should really be a vegan for this reason, because dairy and eggs and leather goods promote even more horrific institutional cruelty than meat products. But I haven’t stuck to being a vegan.

      I’m also a vegetarian because I think it’s more healthful. There are lot of hormones and anti-biotics and chemicals used on animals to maximize production, and these are very unhealthful.

      Reply

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