Is Awakening Just Fake News for the Spiritually Minded?

By Jez Alborough on Thursday November 19th, 2020

Does Awakening Actually Exist?

Is there such a thing as Awakening? Is it a real phenomenon of transcendence in human life or is it just a rumour that has spread through the centuries with no basis in reality – ‘fake news’ for the spiritually minded, perhaps? If you’re a seeker, you’ll certainly think Awakening is real, otherwise: what are you searching for?

As a young seeker, I believed in it, not because of a need to escape from everyday life but because I’d been blessed with mysterious openings; glimpses into another way of being which didn’t relate to the struggles and stresses of my teenage life. These transitory experiences pointed to a possibility; they were the promise of a way of living which was infinitely more fulfilling than that which I experienced in the rest of my life. It wasn’t a fulfilment based on achieving anything: it seemed to be based on simply being. When, years later, I came across the concept of Awakening in spiritual literature, I naturally assumed that it related in some way to what I’d experienced. But how?

What is Awakening?

In the spiritual literature I read, the word ‘Awakened’ described a state of purity and perfection in which normal feeling and suffering are left behind in some kind of detached, almost inhuman state of bliss. This ‘traditional model’ of Awakening seems to be based on a deep psychological need in humans to create an ideal that we can look up to and fetishize. It’s no different from what happens in religions, except God in heaven is replaced by a guru with a clip mic. This system of belief defines Awakening as something that only happens to an imagined breed of divinely appointed father figures or holy mothers. It became clear to me that this reductive logic – ‘It could never happen to me, so the best I can do is worship someone who it has happened to’ – only serves to keep people in the dream-state of their personality or ego. In other words, it actually prevents Awakening from happening.

Redefining Awakening

Don’t despair seekers, because recently there’s been a reaction against this definition: Awakening has become more inclusive; the rules for admission to this exclusive club have been relaxed! Now anyone can be enlightened; all you have to do is give up seeking it. Just ‘be here now’ and accept how you are with all your unstable emotions, dysfunctions, addictions. It’s so simple and easy that you’re probably already awake; you just didn’t realise it!

Alt text hereDon’t despair seekers, you’re probably already awake! Image: Jeffery Erhunse

This sort of thinking has become common in the spiritual community. The concept of Awakening has gradually been downgraded until it has no real meaning. According to some spiritual authors, Awakening is no longer a permanent condition of clarity that one abides in; delusion, addiction and reactivity are all part of this ‘wholeness’. When hearing this sort of talk I start to wonder: Why even call it ‘Awakening’? Why not just call it ‘normal messed-up human life which most of the inhabitants of the planet are experiencing daily’?

Is Acceptance All You Need?

The ‘downgrading of Awakening’ approach may seem valid; it does a good job of demolishing that traditional model of perfection and democratises Awakening by removing the belief that it only happens to gurus. But what does it leave in its place? It seems to boil down to one central formula: If you accept everything, you’re Awake. This means that, even if you’re addicted, abusive or even just triggered by a comment in a Facebook thread and you react with anger or hatred, you can still be Awake. All you have to do is accept your reaction and your Awakened self-image remains intact.

Let’s be clear, self-acceptance is always a valuable, intelligent life strategy – self-condemnation only causes more conflict. But that’s not the point. The point is the question that this belief raises, namely: Is there an ongoing way of being which is beyond the suffering of Personality, or is that just a belief, part of the delusion of the more traditional ‘perfection’ model of Awakening? To give my answer, I need to share my experience with you. My seeking eventually led to an ongoing immersion in what I experienced in those openings of my youth. However, the actual experience of that fits neither of the two models of Awakening I’ve described.

What Awakening Means to Me

In my experience, Awakening is a spontaneous letting go of identification with Personality – the construct of ‘you’, an identity built on emotion, beliefs, desires and hope. This disidentification has many outcomes in the life of the being in which it happens; one of them is the arising of acceptance. But to define Awakening exclusively as the arising of acceptance would be like defining Outer Space as ‘dark’. Yes, it is mostly dark, but beyond that description there are endless other equally valid descriptions and definitions. For example, we could say that Outer Space is full of planets, stars and galaxies. It is a vacuum; it is infinite. Similarly, we could assign a string of descriptions to the word Awakening, such as: a state of oneness, openness, unknowing or presence. Of course, none of these nebulous words pin anything down conclusively or accurately. It is perhaps easier to define Awakening by what it isn’t; in other words, by what falls away after it’s happened. For example; obsessive thinking, attachment to emotions, self-criticism, the need for validation, hope and distraction. This means that reactivity and sensitivity to being triggered more or less disappear. This is not a theory I hold, it’s not something I’ve read; it’s my ongoing experience and it seems to be the case for quite a few people.

Alt text hereThe enigmatic nature of awakening. Everpresent, yet unobtainable by will. Image: Elia Pellegrini

Why is Awakening Being Redefined and Downgraded?

‘Seek and ye shall find’ said the wise man from Bethlehem, but what if you search for decades trying to find this thing called Awakening and you don’t find it? The idea of failure is very painful to the Personality, so what does it do? It very cleverly redefines that which it’s been searching for to include itself: it ‘moves the goalposts’. By redefining Awakening as ‘just accepting everything as it is’, the Personality is simply adapting the concept to suit itself. By including reactivity, emotions etcetera, it can pretend that the search is over and hide behind a new spiritual identity. The search may have ended, but it has done so through an intellectual conclusion, rather than from an organic letting-go of identification with Personality. And to still be identified as Personality is, in my experience, the very antithesis of what Awakening is.

If Seeking stops as an outcome of adopting an intellectual understanding, then it hasn’t come to its fruition; it’s a flower that hasn’t blossomed. The falling away of seeking happens by grace, not by choice. You can’t will Awakening to happen or pretend that it’s happened just because it makes you feel better. However, if my experience is anything to go by, when the search is truly sincere and total, life might surprise you and identification with Personality may end.

For more information on Jez Alborough please visit lifebeyondpersonality.com. Check out more articles from Jez: Is the Wave Separate from the Ocean? All is Made of Love How a Breakdown Inspired a Breakthrough



The global pandemic has many people sitting at home and being more and more introspective. The adage, ‘The only way out is in’ comes to mind. In the absence of travel and coming and going there is more space for inner private reflection. But how can we end our egoic chaos and suffering … what do we need to do this?

We will soon reveal a wonderful course and documentary series that has given the UPLIFT Team so much to think about and enjoy. Stay tuned for more on that. 

As always, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Much love





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26 Responses to Is Awakening Just Fake News for the Spiritually Minded?

  1. Hi Jez:

    I found this article through Stephen Bodian’s reflections on it. I had assumed he was disagreeing with you but I see that you both point to the same realization. Very nice and very simply stated.

    The key, it seems, is that shift in identity. Hopes, fears, preoccupations may arise, but they’re not happening to “me.” And over “time” (well, non-time – a bit challenging to put into words) not only the dropping of identity with those various arisings, but the nature of what arises changes significantly as well.

    Thanks for a thoughtful, much needed, well written article.

    • Hi Don,

      We’re so glad the article enjoyed the article. Thanks so much for your comment and for reading 🙏😊

      Team UPLIFT

  2. Craig Hamilton’s teaching, The Path of Direct Awakening, elicits the Awakening experience you describe. He also teaches how to grow more spiritually intelligent as a personality/ego. The Integral injunction to show up, grow up, clean up, and wake up helps me to understand what is happening in which parts of my lived experience.

    • Sounds like a great read Thia! Thanks so much for letting us all know 🙏 And thanks for being here 😊

      Team UPLIFT

  3. ….. and Awakening is allllllll about Consciousness and will be alllll about
    Elementals – Elementalism – Elemental Immersion – and the Elementalization of the human race – to finally know the Truths of Life and a connection to Pure Love
    Until then we stay immature
    (Immature sciences – beliefs – and half baked truths and theories that donot promote or cause growth)

  4. Hi Jez
    Consciousness is not so much ‘to be written about’
    Until one has experienced consciousness – so one cannot write about it until one has it, so to speak … and that is zero humans ( at this point)
    As consciousness is the Elemental mind and Beingness.
    And is strived/Worked for by the human by first connecting with their Elemental Guide to clear the karma that prevents consciousness from being embodied as a truth – and everyday Beingness.
    And this relies on connecting with the Elemental Beings who
    a) have all the karmic truths of every human – for clearing purposes
    b) have the consciousness embodying formula
    c) the biological/physiological and psychological changes that occur with each consciousness attainment/ordination
    Through an Elemental Mentorship.

    Consciousness is Emotional Maturity – Intellectual Maturity – Spiritual Maturity
    And all Maturity is through an intimate and close association with the Elemental Light Realm
    The crop circle makers – the new sciences are all there
    One just needs to connect to their Elemental Guide to interprete their amazing symbolic work

    • I don’t subscribe to your belief system Aurora, – no beliefs are necessary in this, in fact they are an impediment. I know you will not agree with me and that is fine. With best wishes.

    • Funny how the ‘awakened’ now seem to be trying to make their ‘club’ exclusive again. Going back to old traditions, scriptures, or whatever. Creating an atmosphere of conflict and stagnation, based on nothing but hearsay.

      Of course you can imagine ‘no self’, ‘thoughtless being’, ‘being awakened’ and the likes. The ‘problem’ or maybe ‘pitfall’ is that you are now dreaming the guru or teacher’s dream, while abandoning your own. While chances are that the guru / teacher (and now you) experienced some psychological issue or condition. (i.e. depersonalization / derealization.)

      Seen in that light, the ‘awakened’ and ‘enlightened’ ones are the final gatekeepers, spreading the same illusion.

      Going beyond your inferiority complex, your need to escape pain, suffering and responsibilities (which are basic ingredients of reality) and trying to be something you are not (perfectionism in a way) would probably be a more fruitful journey to take.

      The whole search for an awakening / enlightenment, is like you booked a holliday trip to a foreign country, decide to go there for 14 days, but after the plane has landed you decide to go back home, because of your imagination telling you there’s something wrong there and you believing that.

      Where all the above can’t be labelled as (absolute) Truth, but is just based on my own experiences with this ‘journey’, dp/dr, experiencing no self and imagining myself ‘being awake’ and going beyond / further.

  5. Thanks that’s great insight of Awakening – beautiful.
    What I see is, It’s when you go along and suddenly you see things falling into place and deep down you know it makes complete sense and you say to yourself why didn’t I see it before, because you realize it has freed you from a bondage mentality. What helps is when you completely accept yourself with all the limitations, good and not so good – not seeing yourself as separate isolated being but seeing yourself with all the faults and failing that is shared with humanity, interconnect to each other – that means in practice forgiving yourself and others and seeing yourself in the other.

  6. This is really good. Love these videos. Biology of Belief got me across Ohio as a road warrior- on audio tape. Have had a few conscious shift experiences which fortunately kept my mind ever open and learning across disciplines, faith traditions & cultures. Working on a rather incredible book. Will send for yr. input when ready. Peace, not as the world gives.

    • Dr. Bruce’s work is great, I agree! So glad to hear you’re working on sharing your own wisdom. All the very best with it 🙂

      Team UPLIFT

  7. I feel that awakening is when you finally realize that things happen for a reason . That reason is bigger than yourself. This allows you toinstantly let go of worrying, anxiety and the if onlies. Be grateful everyday be kind. Talk to your loved ones that have passed as they hear you and are only an arms length away. Realize how infinite and vast the universe really is. Become aware and still and open your mind to possibilities. Realize we are all one. Spendtimein nature. Remember when you are talking you learn nothing. Be still and listen

  8. Hmm…
    There is Something amazing / deep/ beautiful that we’re unaware of, and ‘AWAKENING is a very fitting word for it when we come upon it/it comes u[on us: it is this Deeper, purer, clearer realm of BEing… But these words can get assimilated by the personality-mind; it is only when that is still, that this Other comes into being, into Consciousness.
    Naturally we want it, it is so much more quality/alive/beautiful/meaningful -as the author here implies…

    I think one way to resolve this re-defining of awakening is that our personality-egos selves will always be monkey-like, imperfect, limited; and that is OK! But there is this Level of Perfection which is Awake-ness itself; once you contact it, you become this. It is Beyond the Human, or he fulfilment of the human, our true Destiny

  9. I don’t know why in your entire essay you don’t mention at all the consciousness..is it because in your philosophical conception the consciousness doesn’t exist? Or is it an unnecessary category for you? Ever since I started working in my spiritual development consciousness is the pivotal part inside us which has to “awake” and this awakening has to go on deep and wide as the consciousness expands and grows by practicing presence or self-awareness from instant to instant with no identification by accepting the things that are happening as they are.

    • I used a string of words to point to Awakening, ‘Being, presence’ etc, I could have easily added the word ‘consciousness’. Everyone has their own interpretation and connotations for these big words. I often use the term ‘Choice-less Awareness.’ I have written and spoken much about this, perhaps that’s the subject for another article.

  10. Awakening has been downgraded because seekers havnt really found what they have been looking for – absolute love, absolute healing, absolute enlightenment, transcendent consciousness – a consciousness that transforms, heals, changes everything and TRUTH.
    TRUTH of All That Is and Consciousness is not yet on planet Earth.
    But soon will be – in the form of Elementals …creator light beings.
    Who will change ‘awakening’ ‘enlightenment’ ‘consciousness’ – to include them and their Truths if All That Is, will astound, amaze and delight all seekers – because the Elementals are the spiritual missing link.
    They are communicable, and they are waiting to connect with all
    Thankyou for reading – i am an Elemental conduit – if you would like some ‘communing tools’ email me and i will send them free of charge.
    Blessings for a true awakening to World Harmony, Healing and Love and a brand new Elemental concept to change every human
    Biological Regenesis of the Human race
    Aurora. Email: [email protected]

  11. Interesting; if I may say my opinion, awakening for me is when you realize who you really are. That will happens unexpected without any thoughts and or feelings. Go inside, be more inside than outside and you’ll be guided to Awakening.

  12. My experience with “awakening” spans more than 60 years. And the experience, in essence, is a journey out, then in. Out, then in, Each time my awareness became broader, more inclusive. I have found the word “awareness” to be more accurate. Each step brings greater awareness, tolerance, perspective. In my experience, awakening, awareness, grow as we grow. But we must be in the now. For that is where it all comes together.

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