Awakening

By Anurag Shantam
(With R. J. Doucette)
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Introduction

For many it appears to be the end times. Whether the world is about to end or not remains to be seen. What does appear certain is that we are teetering on the brink of catastrophe. Whether terrorists succeed in destabilizing governments and plunging the world into chaos and a new dark age, or the continuing assault on the environment results in the collapse of the web of life, the future looks anything but bright. Everywhere we look, governments, social institutions and corporations seem corrupt beyond redemption. Contracts between people and the institutions serving them, once based on trust, have been replaced with fear, suspicion and anger. The social fabric is torn by acrimony and blame, and genocide continues to show its ugly face across the globe. The violence we saw delivered by large armies in the 20th century can now, in the 21st century, be delivered by individuals. A single person with a weapon of mass destruction can set the world ablaze.

The collective soul of mankind is in more peril today than at any time in history.
The problems facing us are so monumental that they seem unsolvable, even though they are manmade. While we are collectively destroying our lives, our children's lives, and life itself, we feel powerless in the face of the complexity of our dilemma to do anything about it, save to scramble to secure our piece of the pie. The collective soul of mankind is in more peril today than at any time in history. Experience has shown that neither political action nor education has been effective in eliminating suffering, and now we are in a spiritual crisis that will not be solved by politicians, educators, social scientists, or well-meaning religious leaders.

But we are not powerless to avert the looming disasters confronting us. In fact, we are the only ones who can begin to change the nightmare that life has become. This is so because we are, individual by individual by individual, its very cause.

What I propose with this book may seem radical to some, simplistic to others. But we are in the endgame, and only a radical shift in consciousness will help us avert disaster. This shift will not begin at the top, with the institutions that govern and direct our lives, and move down to each of you. It will instead begin with each of you, and move upwards to the institutions that we create. It seems that only a miracle could save the world now, and that is the point of this book - to ignite and provoke each of you to create a miracle.

The concepts that I introduce here will guide you through the process of awakening - the process that collectively can make the miracle real. These concepts are pointers to transcendence, to one-ness, to paradise - to enlightenment. Although the West has had its share of enlightened beings, the West has no tradition of enlightenment. The few awakened beings we know of have been turned into Gods with super powers, resulting in religions that enslave rather than liberate, and hold worshippers in a perpetual state of unworthiness. In the East, enlightenment has always been the goal, always recognizable as potentially attainable by any being seeking liberation. Enlightenment is misunderstood in the West. Even among those who seek it, few really believe that it exists, or is attainable. Many of those who do believe it exists also believe it is so difficult to attain that it will take multiple lifetimes to achieve.

In truth, each of us is already enlightened. What I teach is not how to attain an exalted state, but rather how to uncover something that exists in every being. I have heard enlightenment referred to as being extraordinarily ordinary. It is.

Throughout the book I use the terms enlightenment and awakening interchangeably, for they describe the same thing. As you move through the awakening process, you will feel as if you are awakening from a bad dream. This is the light of consciousness withdrawing from the ego darkness. In other words, to awaken is to reclaim your inner light.

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