Question: From: herring@atl.mindspring.com (Bill Herring)
Newsgroups: alt.consciousness.4th-way
Subject: Constantly vs. occasionally awake
Date: Sat, 10 Aug 1996 02:06:06 GMT

    I don't currently think it'll much matter in the practical sense,
        because I'm not likely to attain the ideal, but here goes the question
anyway:
    Is it possible or necessary to consistently remain awake? I think I may have some inkling of what being awake feels like (thinks like?). But the concept holds some confusion for me.
    Is it like a fire I'm constantly trying to light, that maybe catches for a few seconds or minutes but then is blown out or rained out by all this drivel of attachment with the object of my thoughts? If so, is the goal to light the fire so that it blazes constantly? If so (this may sound dumb to some of you enlightened types) what happens when I am bodily asleep? ( I mean the kind of sleep where my wife pokes me for snoring.) Am I to be "awake" when I am asleep?
    Or, as I have sometimes wondered, is the value in being awake to catch a certain, let us say, possibility, that occurs from time to time, a slight chance to make a difference within myself that occasionally presents itself.
    An image that comes to my mind is that of driving on a highway with occasional exit ramps that can take me to new and scenic vistas. If I am consistently asleep then I am automatically remaining on the same old highway, going over and over the same terrain. I go nowhere new. If I am periodically awake, it still doesn't Always make any difference: I remain on the highway. But if I time it right, I can be awake when a ramp comes into view that can take me to a new road.
    In this light I don't have to be awake at all times, only when the ramps are coming over the horizon.

    Is it possible to be consistently awake? Yes. Does that mean one never falls asleep? No. Never and always are ideals that don't seem to exist in humanity.
    Originally asleep meant temporarily dead to consciously experiencing living -- but one had the potential to awaken through one's own efforts -- whereas dead is the way most of humanity ``lives,'' and there is no probability that they will ever awaken except by force of outside circumstances.
    Like someone else mentioned, there are no absolutes that we know of even here. There are many, many degrees of both asleep and awake.
    To stay in some degree of wakefulness consistently (as opposed to absolutely) requires some interesting changes in the way the body itself functions, as well as considerable desire on the part of the awareness living in that body.
    We really don't know how to make those physical changes (although they can be described). However, there is a biological intelligence within us that does -- it just needs to be activated by sufficient desire from the awareness.
    Once one has experienced considerable moments of awareness of experiencing living (instead of just the clickety-clack of the machine pretending to be aware of it by thinking and emoting), it's time to remember how intensely one desires that experience all the time. Thus the beginning of Self-remembering. So many folks spend all their time watching and trying to understand the machine that they lose sight of one of the biggest aspects of resistance to being awake: it is hard to remember that one wants to do so.
    If you know someone who can guide you to Self-remembering, use them. If not, do what you can to find out what it is. The words used to describe it just barely hint at the experience. It is one of the most powerful forces to keep the fire of desire always burning to be awake. That's where consistency may spring from.
    As to whether all this is necessary, I guess that's up to you. If you're satisfied with a mechanical existence with no real aim or direction to your life, then no, I wouldn't think it's necessary at all. If letting a machine ``live'' for you is not satisfactory, then I think it's more necessary than your next breath of air.
    Your highway metaphor is interesting. Once I was driving home after working far too many hours and I feel asleep. I was awakened by the sounds of sirens. The police told me that they thought I was drunk, because I was literally weaving between the two extreme sides of the freeway. How the body managed to keep from killing itself is unknown to me. But, I'm really glad that there was someone outside of me to provide the circumstances necessary to awaken me. I've never done that again. If I can't keep the body awake while driving, I pull over and sleep for a few minutes until I can.
    Remaining on the highway is one thing. Driving the car consciously, so you take the roads that lead to your destination (whatever it may be) is yet another.

    And, yes, it is possible to be awake while the body is in a coma (which is the proper technical word for what you called ``bed sleep''). Whether you should make an effort to experience that or not is not for anyone but you to say. Personally, I'd be much more concerned about wakefulness while walking about and let other's kinds of awakenings happen of their own accord.

    Really, only you can decide whether you want to ``be awake'' or not. It just might be worthwhile to make that decision in the light of real facts, without prejudice from the conditioned machine you live in.

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