Awakening is a shift in consciousness in which thinking and awareness separate. For most people it is not an event but a process they undergo. Even those rare being who experience a sudden, dramatic, and seemingly irreversible awakening will still go through a process in which the new state of consciousness gradually flows into and transforms everything they do and so becomes integrated into their lives.
Instead of being lost in your thinking, when you are awake you recognize yourself as the awareness behind it. Thinking then ceases to be a self-serving autonomous activity that takes possession of you and runs your life. Awareness takes over from thinking. Instead of being in charge of your life, thinking becomes the servant of awareness. Awareness is conscious connection with universal intelligence. Another word for it is Presence: consciousness without thought.
The initiation of the awakening process is an act of grace. You cannot make it happen nor can you prepare yourself for it or accumulate credits toward it. There isn’t a tidy sequence of logical steps that leads toward it, although the mind would love that. You don’t have to become worthy first. I may come to the sinner before it comes to the saint.
There is nothing you can DO about awakening. Whatever you do will be the ego trying to add awakening or enlightenment to itself as a prized possession and thereby making itself more important and bigger.
(Inspired by Eckhart Tolle’s book ‘A New Earth’)