Monday morning came and I found myself at Starbucks across the street from my job (how convenient) getting some get ‘er done juice (my term for coffee since is this how I function properly) for the day. Like some of my fellow bean fiend’s, I am a zombie without my first cup. I am the very person that would really prefer for you not to speak to me until caffeine has fully permeated through my veins. Hey, everyone is entitled to their vices. Coffee is mine along with gummy worms (don’t ask)! Now that I had a shot of my opiate of choice, I am now awake and able to get through the day! Yay me!
Being “awake” has been a very popular theme I would assess for the past couple of years. Everyone is all of a sudden “woke”. Then this “woke” theme reached a higher height when Childish Gambino premiered the song “Red Bone” along with the movie “Get Out”. Now it is popular to tell others to avoid the “Sunken Place” and wearing dashikis and necklaces that have ankhs and black fists. Now I am not knocking any of those things because I have a few dashiki pieces in my closet right now and spend a few of my coins on natural hair products. That stuff AIN’T CHEAP! Yes, all those things are well and good, but do you really know what it is to be awake?
Being awake is not all about modern day slang. I dare even say it is not about being fully into one’s “Blackness” or “Whiteness” or anything else of that nature. I do not have a problem with loving your race/culture because there nothing wrong being proud of where you came from. Being awake is much deeper. To be awake is to come into a state where you realize your greatest potential and contribute to the place where you are right now by bringing forth your unique capabilities – Living Buddhism August 2017 pg 6.
Now that sentence said a whole lot but what does it actually mean?
To truly know what means to come into a state where you realize your greatest potential and contribute to the place where you are right now by bringing forth your unique capabilities, you first have to know what “potential” means. So what is potential? Well, the dictionary defines potential as having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future. Simply put, potential is untapped ability. It is the energy/gifts that are already in you that have not come to light. As humans, we have a habit of keeping our potential hidden because we are afraid of it. We fear what we are capable of. We fear being great because we get comfortable being mediocre. We fear being powerful because we are used to acting like sheep instead of being lions. We fear because we do not know and chose to live in darkness because ignorance is bliss. To live in fear is to remain in a place of slumber.
When you realize your potential you come into know who you really are. When you come into knowing who you really are you awaken from slumber. You become more aware. You are aware of yourself. You are aware of what you like and dislike. You are aware of others and make decisions accordingly on how to deal with them. You are aware of your environment and learn how to interact with it. You realize your place in the universe and begin to walk in your purpose. When you walk in your purpose, not only do you change your life for the better, you affect other lives around you for the better.
Living in an awaken state involves our capabilities shining the brightest when we take action for the happiness not only for ourselves but of others. We awaken people to their unlimited potential and empower them to become happy. Awakening means coming face to face with the innermost essence of your own life. It is knowing the ultimate meaning of why you were born and why you are alive. There is no greater joy, fulfillment or pride than that which comes from awakening to your eternal mission (Youth and the Writings of Nichiren Dishonin pg. 12)
Being awake means to live with purpose. The purpose would be tapping into potential and using the gifts that are inside. Finding what your gifts are (I say gifts because there is always more than one) will tell you what your purpose is. When your purpose is revealed, you will then affect the life of yourself and others around you for the better. That is what will bring true happiness, fulfillment, and life lived more in abundance.
Why stay in slumber? Why walk in fear? Why cut yourself off from your own potential? What are you afraid of? Do you want to live life as a sheep or as a lion? In The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, Ikeda writes this:
“Let us always press forward steadily, come what may, choosing cheerfulness over gloom, encouragement over envy, enthusiasm over anger. Let us live our lives with unwavering confidence, demonstrating a spirit of tolerance, not authoritarianism, filled with hope instead of despair, taking action instead of complaining, and engaging in dialogue, not violence. Those who fight against their own weaknesses and keep pressing forward resolutely – challenging themselves instead of giving up, and taking personal responsibility for victory instead of criticizing others – triumph in the end and attain happiness. Moreover the efforts we make now determine not just this existence but our past, present, and future.”
These are the principles of being awake. To live intentionally in purpose. To affect your life positively and those around you. Choosing to act with compassion instead of arrogance and with courage instead of fear. As stated before, the efforts we make NOW determine not just this existence but our past, present, and future. Isaiah 60:1a says, Arise, shine; for your light has come. The alarm is ringing Beloved. Time to wake up.