What is awakening?
What is awakening and does it solve the riddle of life and death? M.C
From one perspective, awakening is very simple and down to earth: normally we experience ourselves as somehow confined and conflicted, endlessly self-concerned and distracted by the constant movement of thoughts and feelings. We take this sense of self to be the truth of who we are, but who we actually are is something very different. Beneath the noise of the personal self lies our true nature: unlimited, peaceful, fulfilled and deeply connected.
The recognition and effortless abidance in our true nature is one definition of awakening. The personal self falls away or falls into the background, and we experience ourselves as freedom, wellbeing, clarity and joy as our natural ongoing condition. In one sense awakening does solve the riddle of life and death: we know beyond any doubt that we have arrived home and that all is well. The knot of existential angst has been dissolved. However, the mystery of life, death and existence remain a mystery. We feel deeply connected/not separate from all of life, but we can't claim to know what it is or how it all works (although many do). A spiritual experience is a glimpse of this expanded perspective, and can give reassurance and encouragement (it can also be wildly misinterpreted as having fully attained Liberation) that we are much more than we believe ourselves to be.