The Work of Waking Up
My alarm goes off every day at 4 am. I am never excited about it. I come to more than I wake up. Today I even woke up before the alarm, on my own and I was not happy about that either. But my mind snapped on and it really didn’t care that my body wanted more rest. We were awake.
It is a lot of work to wake up. Really. Every day. But it is even more work to wake up in your life. I see myself wanting to go back to sleep again so often, in so many ways. Not see the dysfunction, not see how I am scared, not see how I am avoiding things that I do not want to deal with. This seems to be the human condition so I am in good company.
But it occurs to me that in every moment of my life, I meet the same resistance that I have every day when the alarm goes off and somedays even before, like today. I want to stay asleep. I get up early every day not because I really want to but it is the only time for me to write. If I do not do it first thing, then it doesn’t likely get done. My day takes off and me and my priorities are frequently lost. So I have to put first things first if I ever want to have a life that is me centered.
So when the alarm goes off, I wonder if I can just skip it today? Maybe I can do it tomorrow and just get some more rest this time? But I can’t because I know the price of going back to sleep is that I miss something important in my life. I am screwed because I make a simple choice to hit snooze and that simple seven minute act, changes how I show up and if I show up in my life.
So I don’t do it. I get up anyway, in spite of my tiredness. Sometimes I actually fall asleep while writing. I have come to see this as acceptable. It is just ok. Some days I am tired and I still write. And sometimes what I write doesn’t make as much sense as other days because I am tired. Today might very well be one of those days…I am sure you all can tell when I lag, founder and sag. It is ok, you can’t edit the page you never write. And I would rather write something that sucks, than not write at all.
I have come to see that the work of waking up every day is really metaphorical for my spiritual life. I resist waking up to my spiritual reality more so than I do every morning when the alarm goes off! I make so many choices in my life to stay asleep.
There is a scene in the Matrix when the guy sells out a whole bunch of other people, because he just wants to return to sleep. He says, “I just want to be rich, an actor or something.” He takes the blue pill so he can go back to sleep. He wants to be plugged back into the matrix. He wants to return to sleep and not know that he is living in a pod filled with goo. He wants to not know reality.
I get Cypher’s decision. I really do. It is hard to take the red pill and wake up to the reality that things are not as you would like, you are not as you would like. Things are harder in reality. So much easier when I just stay asleep in my pod creating heat and energy for the machines to keep me in suspended animation forever. So much fucking easier.
But I am Neo every time. I want to wake up. I have to wake up. I need to wake up. I guess even though at times (like daily) I would really like to go back to sleep, I know that I can’t. I know that I am here in this life, in this body to wake up and learn the stuff that has likely taken me many lifetimes to learn. To work for what is important and that, for me, is to learn to love. Myself. Others. Everyone. All the time. It is a hard life choice. So much easier to hate. So much easier to check or numb out, to take the blue pill and allow an alternative universe that is way more comfortable than reality to take over.
But like Neo, I have known all my life that there was more to the story. The entire story and whether I like it or not, I have had to wake up to that fact. I have had to wake up every day and choose to do the work, the spiritual work, to stay awake. And it has been hard.
I can see everything in my life is a result of choosing to wake up, rather than remain or return to sleep. And it is a lot of fucking work. Waking up is hard, remaining asleep way easier.
So every day when I get up at 4 am, I remind myself that it is a choice, I get to decide whether I want to live my life and learn the shit that I am supposed to learn, or if I want to hit the snooze and more back into ignorant bliss about myself, you, the world or reality. The choice, always and forever is mine.
And I have days, moments in time where I just want to be famous and rich, to be some actor like Cypher. But that is the most awesome truth: unless we really commit to waking up, we are all actors every single day. Playing a part in our own lives that is only loosely based on reality. I always, always get to decide.
It is hard work to wake up and even harder still to endeavor to help others do the same. I talked to someone yesterday who told me with absolute conviction that she was going to wake up as she spewed her bedtime stories which only served to put her back to sleep again. I get it. When faced with confronting your own reality, there is a lot of resistance, story spinning and contrary action. It is almost like you are more supported in your efforts to go back to sleep than to wake up. Woke is hard to see and hard to hear and hard to live with. So much easier to not be alerted to the injustices of the world, to remain comfortable in whatever reality you are privileged enough to inhabit. And those other people who suffer mightily, well they just aren’t your concern. Not your business.
But, they are. We all are. My waking up only to help you stay asleep doesn’t help me. Doesn’t help anyone really. Just makes me part of the whole machine that is operating in the background to keep us all enslaved to the idea that this time it will be different and that we can escape the painful reality that exists instead of the dreamlike state we like to co-create instead.
I have come to see the alarm sounding in the morning as a call to action. WAKE UP! Wake the fuck up. So I do. And every day I do my best to continue to see what I do not want to see, confront those things in myself that I would rather deny and work to change things for the better, for myself, and for everyone.
I guess somewhere long ago, I took that fucking red pill and it was so long ago that I can’t even remember. But I am glad that I did. I can handle reality, because I have learned that reality always wins even when I make the choice to go back to sleep. Reality doesn’t stop existing because of my decision, reality just marches on with one less woke person to deal with…one more person choosing to be plugged back into the Matrix where nothing is real but everything is comfortable. Hard and real or bullshit and comfortable? The choice is ours. No pills required.