What we put beyond our reach remains beyond our reach. Awakening, enlightenment, God-realization, Self-realization, whatever you want to call it, is our natural state. When we place it on a pedestal we fail to recognize this and become like a dog chasing its own tail since no view that divides us can unite us.

Yet awakening is still a process of integration, the particulars of which and how it manifests in life differ from person to person. Some are content with waking up from the world, others say it must be integrated into the heart as awakened love, others that it must be integrated into the heart and body as living experiencing, others that it means being compassionately involved in the world through selfless service, and so on.

And since awakening appears to be universally unique to the individual, this implies that the unity of the colorful mix of expressions of awakened consciousness lies in their diversity as much as their sameness. People are different; so too are the realizations people have and their explanations of them. This, together with cultural conditioning, is part and parcel of the human experience. People are drawn to different expressions of it because people are themselves different yet the overall human experience is the same and so too are the realizations people have. It is not a question of higher or lower, but sameness through difference.

Even the process leading up to and after awakening is described as pretty much the same, so elevating awakened consciousness by devaluing ordinary consciousness merely serves to reinforce our sense of separation. All of this makes sense if you can understand that awakening is both an ending and a beginning; a returning to a mystery that is always here. So, making it into something superior and rare closes the door to the realization that it is our natural state.

I believe that this down-to-earth, life-affirming understanding of awakening is part of the broader rise of the holistic approach to spirituality of the new world age. Although this does not mean it is a New Age concept; it is actually the return of a perennial understanding of Wholeness that redresses the imbalances of the prominently life-rejecting one of the last 2,000-year Piscean Age. Not to say that one is right and the other wrong, just that it is easy to see why right now this down-to-earth, life-affirming approach is right for now. So together, let’s bring awakening back down to earth and into our hearts where it belongs.

Author's Bio: 

Mark H. Kelly has a background in applied physics, software development, and ESL teaching, although his real passion has always been spirituality.

Mark has spent several years on a spiritual odyssey traveling the world learning from traditional wisdom keepers and modern spiritual innovators. He is passionate about the modern renaissance of the life-affirming, full spectrum understanding of Oneness and enlightenment that he has come to know as holistic nonduality.

Mark is a contributing author in the best-selling book series "Adventures in Manifesting" in the edition exploring the power of Love and Oneness.