The difficulty of awakening

Only a man who fully realizes the difficulty of awakening can understand the necessity of long and hard work in order to be awake

Author P D Ouspensky
"Theoretically the man can be awaken, but practically it is almost impossible” said G. once, “because as soon as a man awakens for a moment and opens his eyes, all the forces that caused him to fall asleep begin to act upon him with tenfold energy and he immediately falls asleep again, very often dreaming that he is awake or is awakening.

"There are certain states in ordinary sleep in which a man wants to awaken but cannot. He tells himself that he is awake, but, in reality, he continues to sleep—and this can happen several times before he finally awakes. But in ordinary sleep, once he is awake, he is in a different state; in hypnotic sleep the case is otherwise; there are no objective characteristics, at any rate not at the beginning of awakening; a man cannot pinch himself in order to make sure that he is not asleep. And if, which God forbid, a man has heard anything about objective characteristics, Kundalini at once transforms it all into imagination and dreams.

"Only a man who fully realizes the difficulty of awakening can understand the necessity of long and hard work in order to be awake. Speaking in general, what is necessary to awake a sleeping man? A good shock is necessary. But when a man is fast asleep one shock is not enough. A long period of continual shocks is needed. Consequently, there must be somebody to administer these shocks. I have said before that if a man wants to be awaken, he must hire somebody who will keep on shaking him for a long time. But whom can he hire if everyone is asleep? A man will hire somebody to wake him up, but this one also falls asleep. What is the use of such a man? And a man who can really keep awake will probably refuse to waste his time in waking others up: he may have his own much more important work to do.

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"There is also the possibility of being awakened by mechanical means. A man may be awakened by an alarm clock. But the trouble is that a man gets accustomed to the alarm clock far too quickly, he ceases to hear it. Many alarm clocks are necessary and always new ones. Otherwise a man must surround himself with alarm clocks which will prevent him sleeping. But here again there are certain difficulties. Alarm clocks must be wound up; in order to wind them up one must remember about them; in order to remember one must wake up often. But what is still worse, a man gets used to all alarm clocks and after a certain time he only sleeps the better for them. Therefore alarm clocks must be constantly changed, new ones must be continually invented. In the course of time this may help a man to awaken. But there is very little chance of a man doing all the work of winding up, inventing, and changing clocks all by himself, without outside help. It is much more likely that he will begin this work and that it will afterwards pass into sleep, and in sleep, he will dream of inventing alarm clocks, of winding them up and changing them, and simply sleep all the sounder for it.

"Therefore, in order to awaken, a combination of efforts is needed. It is necessary that somebody should wake the man up; it is necessary that somebody should look after the man who wakes him; it is necessary to have alarm clocks and it is also necessary continually to invent new alarm clocks.

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"But in order to achieve all this and to obtain results a certain number of people must work together.

"Therefore a man who wants to awake must look for other people who also want to awake and work together with them. This, however, is easier said than done because to start such work and to organize it requires a knowledge which an ordinary man cannot possess. The work must be organized and it must have a leader. Only then can it produce the results expected of it. Without these conditions no efforts can result in anything whatever. Men may torture themselves but these tortures will not make them awake. This is the most difficult of all for certain people to understand. By themselves and on their own initiative they may be capable of great efforts and great sacrifices."

[ Excerpts from "In Search of Miraculous" published in 1949 ]
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