If you stopped reading this post and just asked yourself the question.
Am I awake?
What would you learn?
You'd probably get a response from your mind saying, "Mhm. Feel awake."
I want to suggest that your mind is lying.
Were we ever awake?
I recently talked with my fantastic performance coach (Kevin Coale).
We explored the dark forest that is the human mind.
During our conversation, we spoke about how humans can spend so much of their lives "asleep" even though they are technically "awake."
Every night we slip into sleep.
But, if you look closely enough, you'll notice that we slip into sleep during the DAY as well.
Let's explore this further...
Is this a dream?
I want to make a liberating provocation.
Are you dreaming right now?
Come on, check!
How can you verify?
If you're being honest.
There is no evidence to prove that your current experience is NOT a dream.
What do you mean?
Well, if I asked you to find me a piece of evidence that proves that you are currently awake.
What would you show me?
Because I'd reply with, "that could exist in a dream too."
When people dream, they don't realize they are in a dream. Look back at the dream you had last night if you can even remember it, and see if you can recognize whether or not you realized you were dreaming.
You probably didn't.
In that dream state, whatever you were experiencing felt more real than real. The content of your dream could've been entirely wacky – you still wouldn't notice. You could only tell the difference once you woke up.
And so, that begs the question.
Is this real? Or is that real?
Is this reality real?
Or is the dream real?
When we wake up from a dream, we say: "Oh, that was just a dream." Even though the dream appeared very real to us at the time.
And now we're in the waking state, which also seems very real, but can we, therefore, conclude that we are not dreaming anymore?
We couldn't unless there was another state beyond the waking state to wake up to.
far-out. it goes forever.
It's that neither this nor that is real. Only you (awareness) are REAL.
Watch Here Below (Skip to 4:00):
Woah. WOAH. STOP!
Ok. I want to stop here.
Going down this line of thinking can be dangerous. Don't do it if you feel like you're going to spiral.
Daydreaming is like sleep dreaming.
Going back to my conversation with Kevin.
We explored how, at certain portions of the day, we can sometimes fall into conditioned, habitual, and somewhat unconscious processes.
Example - Going to the fridge
I am sure you can remember a time in the past when you got up and went to the fridge without actually realizing it.
It was only when you opened the fridge that you stopped and thought:
"How did I get here?"
Now compare this to when you go to sleep each night. You're laying there with your eyes closed, and then suddenly, you wake up halfway through the night or the following day.
And you think
"When did I fall asleep?"
See the pattern?
We're Always Falling Asleep
And it was this observation that led to a new insight.
We should strive to remain lucid at all times.
You can lucid dream. Both when you sleep and during the day
I hope everyone reading this has had the opportunity to have lucid dreams in the past.
If you haven't, I recommend picking up the book: Exploring the World Of Lucid Dreaming by Stephen LaBerge. And practising the techniques described.
The short explanation is this: a lucid dream is when you know you're in a dream. And can thus manipulate the dream to whatever you want to experience.
And if it's true that we can be lucid during a night dream.
What's stopping us from being lucid during a day dream?
During the day, we are constantly falling asleep.
Getting lost in our thoughts, spacing out, and just not being "here" all constitute very human experiences we have.
I'd argue that technology has made it even easier to fall asleep.
Fancy designs. Addicting interfaces. Engaging content.
It's all been designed to keep you asleep longer.
You need 1 question to escape this...
Coming back to my conversation with Kevin.
We finally started thinking about ways that this could be circumvented. Until Kevin made the helpful observation that simply asking ourselves:
AM I AWAKE?
Could be enough to get us the state change we needed.
NOTE: This won't work if you DON'T take the time to check. You can't just repeat the question repeatedly and expect it to work.
When you ask yourself this question:
- Your mind stops thinking. (It goes off looking for an answer)
- You feel a bit lighter. (Things seem more interesting)
- A certain alertness comes to you. (You feel a 360 sense of awareness)
Life seems to stand completely still.
It's a vacation from your mind.
You can think of this question as a one-way ticket to INFINITY for your mind. It will never reach its destination. But that's the point.
Your mind will run out of gas. You'll get distracted by something else. And your mind suddenly zips right back.
And then you're back to where you started. With a mind chattering about whatever.
A Similar Example
Imagine throwing a ball in the air.
Eventually, due to air friction & gravity, the ball will stop accelerating upwards and instead will fall back down.
When we ask, "Am I awake?" that is like throwing the ball (your mind) SUPER high in the air.
But eventually, new distractions come up that act like friction for your mind. Leading it to slow its ascent and eventually fall back down to the ground.
You got 2 options.
- Strap your ball (mind) to a ROCKET and achieve escape velocity.
- Catch the ball and throw it back up again, this time a bit higher.
Option 1 is hard to achieve. I suspect a psychedelic or a deep meditation experience like samadhi would give you this.
Option 2 is best for regular people.
We know the ball is going to come down. So once we catch it – throw it back up.
Ask the question again.
Get back into that higher state. But this time, try to stay there for longer.
To make this an effortless practice, you want to anchor this question to specific behaviours you always do.
Whenever you open a door -> Ask yourself, "Am I awake?"
Whenever you open a new tab on your computer -> Ask yourself again.
Create an association in your mind with all you do with the question, "Am I awake?"
Eventually – your mind will very naturally begin to surface the question – without any effort on your part.
And this is the place to be. Your life will look a lot different. I almost guarantee it.
All you need is 1 question.