“Awakening in the everyday life” by Pier Luigi Lattuada
The story goes that a Catholic missionary in the presence of the conditions of an African slum complained to God: “Lord, can’t you see how much misery, why don’t you do something? Then the Lord answered him: “But I have done something, I have made you.”
If we look around, we might perhaps ask ourselves what to do? And remain bewildered. What to do in the face of the blindness of war, misunderstanding and discord, the resumption of the arms race, the seemingly unstoppable climate change, global crises and the overwhelming power of world finance, drought, misery, pandemics, hunger?
The tools of reason cannot find solutions.
If we stop to reflect, we realise that when we are at peace with ourselves, we do not make war, we do not pollute, we do not follow false needs, we do not seek to prevail over others; this is a fact verifiable by anyone.
It is therefore evident that achieving peace with oneself and helping others to do so is the most direct way to contribute concretely to the betterment of this world.
Of course, achieving inner peace may turn out to be a complex matter that requires several conditions to be fulfilled.
The proposition of this short article is that awakening is among the most significant qualities to foster inner peace.
Various metaphors have been used throughout history by the wisdom of mankind to emphasise the importance of awakening; one thinks of Plato’s Cave Myth or Campbell’s Hero’s Myth, Andersen’s The Naked King, the shamanic admonition, the world is what you dream it is, to the very term attributed to Prince Siddhartha, Buddha the Awakened.
If we want to analyse the awakening process in detail, we could identify a contextual and a structural awakening, so to speak.
By contextual awakening we could mean the many little awakenings that may occur in our lives: when we have an insight, a sudden understanding, when we realise an overlooked detail, when we see a truth beyond appearances.
By structural awakening we could identify a real leap in consciousness characterised by a radical change of worldview.
At first glance it might seem that the latter is far more significant, but on closer inspection we realise that the latter without the former risks being characterised as the most classic of spiritual by-passes. A frequent risk in contexts with a strong spiritual imprint such as religious communities, human potential development movements, experiential groups of meditative practices or traditional ceremonies.
A certain psychology reminds us that we are so dormant in the sleep of consensual reality that we constantly come across occasions of awakening that, precisely because they are frequent and generalised, we tend to overlook.
Think of the most mundane of situations, reading and answering daily e-mails. The consensual reality is that we are in a hurry, we neglect details, we read without paying attention, thinking of something else, we answer trying to make the minimum effort, maximum output, the important thing is to get the task done. The awakening could be characterised by the use of a ‘second attention’ capable of making us realise that behind those few lines on a screen there is a person, a soul on a journey who has shared his time and thoughts with us, who would like to be listened to, understood, and respected just as much as we would like to be.
Or think about when we are wronged and react with anger, when we feel neglected and try to impose ourselves, in which case waking up might mean recognising the wounded child inside us and caring for it instead of getting angry with the other person, or even seeing the helplessness in our aggressor’s eyes and feeling the compassion flowing from our heart.
– Pier Luigi Lattuada