Spiritual awakening – a cosmic joke

What is actually meant when people talk about spiritual awakening? This text is about spiritual awakening using the concept of the 10 fetters as described by Buddha.

Automatically translated with Deepl

What is spiritual awakening?

Awakening is exactly the opposite of what is commonly thought. You don’t suddenly float above things – rather it’s okaysein.

It is also not that nothing touches you anymore. On the contrary, everything is immediate – even the emotions.

It is also not that you suddenly know everything and always have the right answer. On the contrary, you know that you know nothing at all – and can know nothing at all.

You have also not always become a “good person”. Because you don’t think in these categories anymore.

Awakening does not mean that you gain magical abilities. Or that you become an awakened somebody. No one will notice. And most people would find it ridiculous anyway if you tell them. You will not be anyone special. You won’t feel that way either.

There are many misconceptions about awakening.

Awakening is actually quite simple. Everything we need to know is obvious. There are no hidden secrets or mysteries that need to be fathomed.

But we think in such complicated ways – like we can’t see the forest for the trees.

We look as if through glasses that distort everything.

Spiritual awakening is the end of suffering. And suffering ends when we see what is.

How to awaken?

Buddha gives a simple instruction for this.

The seeker, a man from Bahiya, understood it immediately.

And this is what the Buddha said.

Bahiya, you will recognise this:

In the seen, there will simply be the seen

In the heard there will be only the heard

In the thought there will simply be the thought

In the cognised there will simply be the cognised;

In all this you will not be seen, heard, thought or cognised.

If you are not seen, heard, thought or cognised, you are not there.

If you are not there, you do not exist, there or elsewhere.

This is the end of suffering.

What does in the seen only the seen mean?

Buddha says that there are 7 filters (fetters, assumptions) that distort the view of what is real.

When you look at something, for example the tea glass on your table, you may think: Yes, I see the glass. And all I see is the glass. Nothing else. I can see the glass.

And right here is the first interpretation, the first filter: that you see the glass.

To remove this filter is quite easy.

Learn to differentiate between what you think about – because what you think about is not really there – and what you experience, what is really there. What is really there you can see, hear, feel, smell, taste. That is the life that the body goes through. Everything else is fiction. Find out what you interpret into the experience, add to it.

Self illusion

It starts with examining the interpretation I see, I hear, I feel, I think, I decide, I act.

Is it true?

Just see if there is a self in the experience. Or rather, whether there is a self in addition to experiencing.

Experiencing is everything except thoughts. Because what you think about is not real. It is a thought. Maybe a memory thought. Or a future thought. For example, when you think of your next vacation, you are not there.

When this self illusion falls away – that is the beginning. The first important step towards awakening.

When you see through the self illusion, suddenly you understand what all the spiritual teachers are talking about. Because now it is your experience too. It’s no longer a mystery, it’s a fact.

You feel very liberated. Self-centered thinking has become obsolete. All the “self-improvement thoughts” stop, because it doesn’t matter anymore. You know that you are not worth more or less, better or worse.

After a while you realize that you are reacting to what is. It feels very strange at first. Maybe your cravings become very strong. For sweets, for a screen, for pleasure. You get angry, annoyed.

That’s the next filter.

Desire and aversion

It is the assumption that you have something that wants you to have something (like a pleasure). Or, what something doesn’t want to let you have and pushes it away.

We bring something in or we push something away.

Is that true?

When it is clear that there is no entity that decides or controls, desire and aversion can be felt very clearly.

Incessantly we try to keep pleasant things and push away unpleasant things, with more or less success. When something is not as we imagine it, thoughts start and think what we can do to achieve what we want. Or the reaction is so quick and violent that we just feel the anger and resentment or burst into tears.

We look all the time to see if there might be something better we could have. To make us feel better or less bad.

This is what Sigmund Freud called the pleasure principle. We are always looking to feel good since our first breath. That is our basic principle. The final step to awakening, by the way, is to realize that we can’t always feel good, so that the search can end and we can be at peace.

How do you find desire and aversion?

You look for what makes you react and examine it, as if under a microscope.

During the examination you will find out that very shortly after a situation or thought you will feel bodily sensations. And this is followed by a reaction. Desire and aversion are the trigger for the reaction.

Is this true?

The body sensations are a lure. We fish with it desire or aversion. We don’t work with the sensations because this is not behavioral therapy. Feel the body sensations and wait for desire or aversion to come up. Does anything come up that pulls you into the response?

When this question is answered, you will see this clearly. You will be absolutely okay with what is. You will no longer react emotionally charged to anything. You will stop tugging and pulling at the experience.

Now you are ready to examine reality for yourself.

Subject Object Split

We believe we are separate from everything else. Demarcated. That there is a boundary, between our body and the environment. Separated from what we hear, what we see, what we feel, from our thoughts.

Is that true?

In this investigation, you’re looking for the subject. And once you see that there is no such subject, the boundaries fall away.

You learn that there is no separation. That there is nothing else outside of you.


We believe that there is a world outside of us that is reflected in our perception.

We believe that perception is our basic ability. And a world exists independently of us. Or we exist independently of the world.

When you see, hear, touch something, what is outside appears in your own perception.

Is this true?

This is the end of the world as you know it.

You realize that the world is not outside of you. Not the world you experience. We cannot experience a world outside of ourselves.

We cannot know if there is anything else outside of our experience.

I am

What is left now is the basis of our existence. The sense of I exist, I am.

Is this true?

This feeling is very subtle and when it falls away, there will be no identity left.

You will no longer feel yourself to be a woman or a man, a mother or a father, a Christian or a Buddhist, etc.

You will no longer experience an inside or an outside.


The next step follows very quickly. A very strong restlessness. The feverish search for something. Something safe. Something you can rely on. Something you can build on. Something you can trust. Something that makes it possible to always feel good.

There is something substantial. Something lasting. Something reliable.

Is that true?

The restlessness eventually subsides. And the view becomes clear.


We know nothing.

Is it true?

We make ourselves believe that we don’t know. We ignore the truth because we don’t like it.

In the last shift you will see clearly what is and what has always been.

Spiritual Awakening

Actually, it’s a joke because it’s always been there. We’ve always known it. It’s never been any different.

You’re not getting anywhere.

Now you know.

Everything you read into it – into what is – to create all these filters (fetters, assumptions) has fallen away: The not knowing, the searching, the I am feeling, the perception, the subject, desire and aversion, the self – all gone.

What is, is what is and what it has always been. It has not changed.

Buddha explained that there are 10 assumptions or 10 fetters that stand in the way of awakening. If you want to know what they are, read on here: Through the 10 Fetters to Awakening.