by Augustine Tan
Before my awakening, I was asleep. I was an unhappy teenager who played video games and read a lot of fiction to escape reality. I hated reality, not only because it sucked, I also felt that something was terribly wrong. At one point, I realized that I had to find answers to why the world was screwed up, and so I sought them from people I trusted, but they could never give me a straight answer. I tried to understand the difference between “left-wing” and “right-wing” ideologies, but the knowledge I had accumulated left me with no conclusion whatsoever. Over the course of time, I searched for other possible answers with little success. Somehow, I knew that the answer lay somewhere, just waiting for me to uncover.
I call the phase when I was still asleep my “slumber in delusion”. When I was still asleep, my life almost seemed like a dream, probably because I was struggling with the trials and tribulations of adolescence. The people around me noticed my weary and depressed demeanour, the way I sighed most of the time and lacked the self-confidence to the point that I normally stared at the ground as I sauntered from place to place. I was attempting to find my place in this world, attempting to find something to satisfy my thirst for meaning.
The 5 stages of the awakening. It is based on the Kübler-Ross model, better known as the 5 stages of grief. The 5 stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. In order for a person to wake up, he must go through all 5 stages, a long and painful process of self-reflection, questioning and discovery. I have known about the 5 stages of the awakening for some time, but I am only beginning to understand their implications. It is possible (in my opinion, at least) that a person must go through the 5 stages a few times before he is fully awake. Each time he goes through the entire cycle, a barrier that once held him back is broken down, freeing him until he finally finds his way.
I do not wish to mislead by giving an anecdote of my personal experience on how I woke up. Let’s just say that I had to go through many terrible experiences that involved the 5 stages of the awakening before I was able to free my mind and fully wake up. By the time I arose from my slumber in delusion, I was able to look past the things that hindered me and finally find the answers I was looking for.