I woke up too early today. I felt rested and full of energy, so I climbed out of bed and waited for the alarm to beep. When the clock failed to sound when it seemed that it should have, I glanced at the display and noticed that it read, 2:31.

The first thought was that there must have been an overnight power outage and the clock must have “hiccuped” and resumed time-telling at the wrong time. However, I checked some of the battery-only powered clocks and wristwatches. They all agreed with the same hour. Oh well, if I climbed back into bed and tried for some extra sleep, I’d just be groggy the rest of the morning.

Since I’m up and at ’em, I might as well get the day under way.The coffee is brewing. The topic for the day is being awake.

“He is awake.
The Victory is his.
He has conquered the world.

How can he lose the way
Who is beyond the way?
His eye is open.
His foot is free.
Who can follow after him?

The world cannot reclaim him
Or lead him astray,
Nor can the poisoned net of desire hold him.

He is awake!
The Gods watch over him….

–The Dhammapada: The Sayings of the Buddha

The message is simple yet not easy. It might be called mindfulness plus patience plus ethical behavior plus compassion plus inner wisdom. There are no extraordinary claims. Its method is “proto-scientific”. It is not restricted to those who follow any particular creed nor those who follow no creed at all.

Some cultures call it “enlightenment”. If that is the case, I have a long ways to go to achieve it. Like many others, I bumble along and manage to stay alive. Like many others, I’ve had momentary glimpses of clear wakefulness or epiphanies. However, those are few and far in between. Anyway, those flashes of insight are perishable and short-lived. Aha moments are milestones at the side of the highway of life.

“Someone who’s awake in the middle of the night is a soul consciousness when everyone else is asleep, and that creates a feeling of solitude in poetry that I very much like.”–Edward Hirsch

Some of the best moments of certain days happen when I awaken before the alarm sounds. This is when the mind is in that twilight zone between sleep and consciousness, the mind is still uninhibited, without social norms and beliefs. These are when the thinking mind is fully awake even if the body isn’t ready to get out of bed. It is during that type of wakefulness that the most interesting ideas hatch in my mind. They might be bad ideas or good ideas. It is when the body is also awake that it is time to sort and analyze those ideas because I’m awake in two ways, not just one way.

I used to broadcast to an audience overnight. We were collectively a counterculture of people from various other cultures and stations within hierarchies. The overnight people might be factory workers, retail workers, police, firefighters, EMTs, work from home folks, miscreant teens up to mischief, plus a few insomniacs thrown in for good measure. The point is, that life feels profoundly different when a person’s regular awake-time is night and very early morning. Even if one works in a physically noisy environment, there is something about overnights that is mentally quiet and deep.

When we’re awake and fully present, life seems to fall into place on its own without struggle. Even if I’m experiencing some sort of ache or pain, if I’m completely awake, I notice some measure of joy. Such joy is not woo woo, it is simply the awareness of being fully alive.

The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes cartoonist Charles Schulz. “Sometimes I lie awake at night and ask why me? Then a voice answers, ‘nothing personal, your name just happened to come up.'”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, Health, Meanderings, philosophy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Awake

  1. Alien Resort says:

    The signal from all-night AM radio stations sure travel a long way. Occasionally an FM signal can travel thousands of miles too.

  2. Doug says:

    I’ve worked the “graveyard” shift almost my entire life. I guess you could say I like it.
    Sleeping during the day can sometimes be difficult, but I manage.
    I use to be a member of your overnight broadcast. Seems so long ago.

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