‘Stay Awake’: a Universal Call

Dr Kurian Perumpallikunnel CMI

‘Stay Awake’: a Universal Call

Both Buddha and Jesus instructed their disciples to ‘Stay awake!’ The word Buddha itself means “the awakened one.” Siddhartha Gautama lived his first 35 years engrossed in luxuries. However, for him that was merely a dream like existence. He wanted to wake up to real life. Hence he opted for the life of an ascetic. During the first six years of his ascetical life he tried one after the other all the traditional methods of meditation and asceticism hoping to wake up to reality. However, his efforts were all in vain. Thus realizing the futility of rites and rituals, beliefs and scriptures, he abandoned them all and sat under a bodhi tree, vowing not to rise until he obtained “supreme awakening.” During that state of contemplation he realized the passing nature of reality. The remaining forty years of his life were a continuous wakeup call to human consciousness, which normally would remain dormant, blinded and driven by instincts, desires, attachments and fears, unless awakened. So many leaders in so many traditions have taught the same thing: Hindu masters, Zen and Tibetan Buddhists, Sufi poets, Jewish rabbis, and Christian mystics to name a few.


Contemplation as ‘Mirror-Wiping’

Contemplation is like waking up from a deep slumber or shedding the scales of delusion or maya that blinds us. It is nothing but opening our eyes and facing and accepting reality as it is. It will empower us to grow beyond and go beyond our belief systems and enable us to call a spade a spade. True contemplatives will be fearless, free and faithful to reality. Contemplation is nothing other than looking at the unfiltered reality and admiring and appreciating its shining beauty and dignity. People often live in their past or in their future, fed and led by their imaginations, expectations, desirers and fears. Zen Buddhist masters tell us that we need to “wipe the mirror” of our minds and hearts in order to see what is there without distortions. Contemplation is a lifelong task of mirror-wiping. Conditioned by our culture, religion, and life styles we normally see life through a preferred, programmed and habitual mode of attention. Unless we come to recognize the lens through which we filter all of our experiences, we will not see things as they are but as we are. Mirror-wiping is the inner discipline of calmly observing our own patterns. It requires us to stand at a distance from ourselves and listen and look with calm, scientific, nonjudgmental objectivity. Otherwise, we are not in control of our thoughts and feelings, but they are in control of us. A clear mirror allows us to see the reality as it is. The Buddhists often refer to this exercise as ‘mindfulness’.


‘Stay Awake’: Jesus Demands His Disciples

Call to ‘stay awake’ had a special significance in the life and teachings of Jesus. In Mark 13:33-35 we see Jesus demanding his disciples: “Stay awake. Be alert. You do not know when the Lord of the house is coming”. Jesus thus refers to the eternal coming of the ‘Lord of the house’ that happens every moment and cautions us not to remain dormant. In the next five verses Jesus warns his disciples three times to “stay awake”.  He concludes with a direct command: “And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake” (v.37). With the repetitive command to ‘stay awake,’ Jesus was speaking to all his disciples throughout the ages about the need of an awakening in life.

extract taken from article: - 'Stay Awake!': Sanjuanist Call to Contemplative Proclamation by Dr. Kurian Perumpallikunnel CMI



Make a free website with Yola