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Beyond Perception Paperback – June 26, 2012
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From the Inside Flap
Becoming More Awake
When we follow the conditioned program of our mind and fall into habitual patterns of day to day living, we end up "asleep at the wheel" of our lives, and experiences pass us by like scenery on the highway. The programming of our mind automatically removes us from direct experience by making mental images out of sensory data. It is like going on a car trip and taking a lot of pictures without getting out of the car. We experience the journey through our pictures instead of actually being there. This can result in feeling lost and alone, removed from direct experiences, and only knowing about our life through hindsight.
The alternative to this is for us to become more awake. Waking up is not an abstract ideal or final destination. It is what we are here to do, yet it is not a goal to achieve some time off in the future. Waking up can only happen in this moment, and it happens by simply being present with what we are doing now.
In each moment we are either more awake or more asleep. There appears to be a gradual process of becoming more awake that allows for us to do it in our own time. Yet in reality time is not involved and there is no learning required. Unlike any other achievement that we know of, waking up is not a step-by-step process that the perceptual mind can direct and measure, and this is what makes it so difficult for us.
None of our learning patterns apply to waking up. Waking up is a decision that we make to be present, when we reach the end of our tolerance for living life from a distance. We don't learn how to do it. There isn't a way, there is only the will. When we want to wake up and be real more than anything else, it begins to happen by itself.
From the Back Cover
Many of us recognize a deep unfulfilled longing that is never touched by anything in the world. No manner of pleasure, distraction, material comfort, wealth, or fame seems able to reach that deep hollow and fill it. Most of us are unwilling or unable to face this longing directly because we have no idea how to resolve it. We may have tried at some point to address our primal discomfort, yet our attempts usually fail miserably and even the most optimistic among us become hardened in our belief that there is no cure.
This empty feeling is simply our innate longing for freedom from our mental programming. Until we decide to recognize this longing for what it is and stop trying to make it go away by feeding it candy or giving it trinkets to play with, our lives contain a certain amount of despair and impotence. We become caught in an endless loop where all of our attempts to free ourselves fall short and we unconsciously affirm the hopelessness of our situation again and again. This naturally leads to chronic depression or anxiety from which we can get only temporary relief through our addictive behaviors or medications.
The hard part of freeing ourselves is that we each have to activate the process on our own. We have to develop our capacity to see what is happening inside our own consciousness in order to recognize that we are bound by our mental programming and not by the circumstances of our life. This, however, is all that we have to do. Once we see our conditioning for what it is, our natural desire for freedom becomes awakened and takes over. A wild animal has only to recognize that it is caged, and then every fiber of its being wants to find a way out.