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What is the defining factor that empowers us to experience the state of Being Fully Awake?

heart to heart The questioner's philosophy
My name is Edna and my spiritual inclination is that I practice the cosmology of G. I. Gurdjieff. I belong to a small group that meets to discuss our attempts to wake up to the moment in our ordinary life. Although I have had moments of true clarity and awareness through this practice, a huge part of me longs for more of the same on a more concrete basis. Perhaps more years of practice will lead to true awareness or it may be my approach. I feel sincere in my "wish" to be in the presence of God - my question is, "When will the questions cease, when in my spiritual practice can I begin to truly awaken?"
The questioner's hopes and aspirations
My hope is to "be" what I am in this lifetime for myself and for the people that I have been blessed to be around my life. I have five children and I would hope to leave them with the example of "Being" a conscience person full of a love of Mankind.
My question, while I have a profound acceptance of my spiritual practice, is what does it take in your insight to move a spiritual practice from just practice to "BEING"? It is important because in my own spiritual development through the years, I was raised a Roman Catholic and fell away from the practice, then I spent time wandering around testing and trying so many spiritual practices until I found, about 7 years ago, the teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff and I believe I have found the way to truly see myself as I am. These past few years have shown me parts of myself that I never saw before and because of the insights changes have taken place. The teachings have certainly become a huge part of my daily life. Of course the most important part of any teaching or practice is to verify for yourself; still I am curious to know and understand what does it take? What is the defining factor that moves the practice from just practice to actually living the teaching, in your insight?
Wallace's reply
This is a very interesting question and one I am glad to answer. You ask - what is the defining factor that moves us from being ego-centric to being enlightened, or fully awake as it is described in Gurdjieff's teachings? At the moment of enlightenment all searching ceases and one is simply awake and aware. This state is accompanied by heightened perception so that not only "you" have woken up but the world has as well. This is the divine state, where all our actions are determined by loving awareness and are a perfect expression of inner guidance, the point where our intuitions, words and deeds coincide, and we have attained a point of perfect integration of body, mind and spirit.

Is it possible to have a technique, practice, understanding, insight or other factor which brings this about? The answer is that these all have their role but that the actual moment of wakefulness is given by the grace of God and is unmistakable to anyone who experiences it. For most people who come awake, the state is experienced only briefly in the initial phases of full integration and then as time progresses the experiences of wakefulness gradually become longer and more frequent, until eventually one is established permanently in that state.

Initially, while on the path to enlightenment, one makes strident efforts at self improvement but as we progress along this path grace takes over more and more, until the actual transition to wakefulness is given by grace alone and not by one's own efforts. It is at this point that we see that what seemed to have been achieved by our own efforts was all the work of God.

Further Help and Resources
You will find the transition to this state of wakefulness described in my book Unfold Your Wings and Watch Life Take Off. The last part of my book, 'The Myth of the Sacred Swan,' is written in allegorical form in order to portray the progression from despair and disillusionment to enlightenment and, through the story of the myth, gives guidance on waking up and portrays what it actually feels like to be in this state.

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