By  Mariamne  Paulus


When I was 29, I woke up. I had had glimmers of what awaited me, but I hadn’t known I was asleep.  What I had known from early on was that I longed to know God directly and to do His will. It was like having a deep thirst and looking for a way to satiate it. It was also like following my nose until it led me to what I longed for.

        In retrospect I can answer the question why it is important to wake up and why we do spiritual work. Based on my own experience, it is:

 To discover or remember who I am in reality.

        Most of us spend our lives believing we are the personality that carries our name. Remarkably, when we wake up, we realize that we are NOT the personality, though we function through it.

        In my case, my first realization was that I was Nothing, nothing at all.  There was tremendous freedom in that realization, because I had been focused on trying to be “something.”

        After absorbing the impact of the awareness that I was not the personality and was in fact nothing, I broke through to a new awareness:  in fact, I was/am All.

        Many people who “wake up” know immediately that they are All.  Many speak of this as awareness of the “I Am.”  This is a liberating realization that expands the sense of self to an infinite state of ultimate satisfaction.  It is to finally know who we have always been.

 To discover the simplicity of no inner conflicts.

        Before I awakened, I used to have arguments with myself whenever I had to make a major choice or decision.  It was as if I had two or more voices within that argued, seeking to be the dominant one.  After my awakening, I was only one.  I knew what response to make and no inner voices argued with that choice.  That was incredibly liberating and simplifying. I knew what I wanted or needed.  There was no confusion or indecision.

 To be able to live in unconditional love.

        Before awakening, I had made a conscious choice to live in unconditional love, but often that was not my first response to a person or situation. I had to take time to find my way to it.  After awakening, responding in unconditional love was my first and only response to every situation.  It was easy and natural.

To be at home in the natural world.

        Before awakening, I had convictions about the centrality and fundamental nature of the natural world, on a mental level. I had not ever lived “out in nature,” and it was not where I felt most at home.  After my awakening, I understood at some deep inner level what the Native Americans spoke of, and lived, namely, our oneness with nature and what we learn from her.

        When OSO and I were getting acquainted, I needed to know if she was awake.  We were walking down by the ocean one day and I commented that the ocean was “doing it.”  OSO responding immediately, “I know.”  And in that affirmation, I knew that she knew her oneness with all life. If anyone had asked me what I meant by “the ocean is doing it,” I would not have been able to explain it, and I can’t explain how I knew by her response that she was awake.  But OSO knew, so I didn’t have to explain anything to her.  We had both awakened to what IS.

 To be confident that I am “doing the Will”:

        Before I awakened, I longed to be able to do “God’s will.”  I didn’t know how to determine whether or not I was doing it.  After awakening I realized that I could not “not” do God’s will. The choices I made came from an inner sensing of what was next for me.  I realized that I could not make a “wrong” choice.  I was simply living out the pattern of my life, and whatever I chose, I would learn from it.

        That awareness resolved the pain I had carried since childhood that I was a “sinner” and that my actions each day confirmed that.  It was what I had been taught in Church. To realize that I could not go against God’s will was like being let out of prison. I didn’t have to prove myself worthy of God’s love. I was simply loved for who I am.

To live in a constant state of gratitude and joy.

        To be alive is to feel blessed. It is to feel grateful for everything. Joy wells up from within just because I am alive. It is not “because” of anything or even in response to anything.  It just is!

 To have a life purpose that guides and sustains me while contributing to the well-being of others.

        Before I woke up, I thought that the meaning of life would be revealed when I found my life’s work. I had looked at Albert Schweitzer as the ideal of what I was seeking.  He was devoted to service through his medical practice, and it took him to Africa where he was so obviously needed. I hoped one day to be of service in some similar fashion.

        After I woke up, I realized that it was not what I did that was most important but how I did it.  Whatever I did in my life would be an expression of unconditional love.  That’s what mattered most because LOVE was/is God in manifestation. When I was a child in Sunday school, we used to sing a little song that said that God had no other hands than mine, and no other feet with which to walk.

        I found this quote from Teresa of Avila that expresses the sentiment exactly: “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

        The depth of that realization only grows as I live.

 A Group Awakening

        One of the blessings of the Internet is that it makes it possible for us to know of others and how they are living out the larger Will.

        OSO and I never wanted to establish a group; we felt our work was to be with individuals. Nevertheless, we hope that each time a group gathers under our auspices it meets the criteria of an awakened group. We encourage individuals to support groups that contribute to the awakening of others, and we hope that our life work has helped to lift humanity a notch or two.  We are grateful for the privilege of contributing to human awakening.

        We had the privilege of visiting Auroville in South India in 1990. We stayed in Pondicherry, on the East Coast of India facing the Bay of Bengal. Pondicherry is now the capital city of the union territory of Puducherry, and Auroville is located not far to the west of Pondicherry.

        “The Mother” was the driving force behind the creation of Auroville, which aspires to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics, and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity. Today Auroville is recognized as the first and only internationally endorsed ongoing experiment in human unity and transformation of consciousness. It is a group embodiment of an awakened consciousness.

“Attentive to the Impulse, to do exactly what must be done – what is expected of [me] – for everything, absolutely everything! Attentive to do nothing except what has to be done.”
(The Mother 6/25/69)

        The Mother was Sri Aurobindo’s partner in doing the Great Work. They were a team on a mission to awaken those they encountered to their real nature, their true selves. Sri Aurobindo gave the name, “The Mother,” to Mirra Alfassa. He saw in her an embodiment of the evolutionary, Creative Force which in India is traditionally known as ‘the Supreme Mother.’

        We acknowledge that awakening groups meet the following criteria:

        1. The overall impact of contact with the group is uplifting and affirming.

        2. The energy of the group is open and welcoming, with no hint of competition between individuals or between the group and other groups.

        3. Individuals continue to grow deeper in their own spiritual lives as time goes on.

        4. Together the members of the community seek to contribute to the well-being of others in their own unique ways.

        Auroville is one example of such a group.  There are others here in the United States and elsewhere.  It is a privilege to support and contribute to such groups, even as we seek to encourage the individuals we know to live awakened lives.

Why Wake Up?

        A life can be lived by being swept along in the mass energy of opinion or belief. That life is woven into a pattern of responses and actions and is expressed without conscious choice-making or individuality. It is an easy way to function because little is required other than following the majority so that you can belong. That majority has pat answers for all questions. It encourages agreement and devotion to the parameters it has established.

        Millions of people around the globe live this way and are comfortable doing so. They are in a flow with like-minded people, feel supported, and not only do what everyone does but they are willing to defend their group at any cost because they think they own the truth.

From within such groups there are those who feel the beginnings of discomfort. It happens when they see they are part of an us vs. them configuration. They begin to yearn for a greater sense of harmony but they don’t know where to find it or how to look for it. They sense the more as if they, and their group, are living just under the surface of the water. They can see that there is something more above them, but they would need to break through the layer that separates them from the more.

That more is touched when their heads lift above water, when they see Light they have never seen before. And they realize that they had limited themselves to an accepted status quo. They see a vastness of possibilities that was never before available to them. They realize they need to step out of the sea of comfort which had them floating through their lives and step onto the new shore which beckons. This is the beginning to awaken:

         To discover or remember who I am in reality.

        To discover the simplicity of no inner conflicts.

        To be able to live in unconditional love.

        To be at home in the natural world.

        To be confident that I am “doing the Will”

        To live in a constant state of gratitude and joy.

        To have a life purpose that guides and sustains me while contributing to the well-being of others.

 The State of Knowing

        Why wake up? Beyond what we call ordinary living there is a state of knowing. There is the touch of ecstasy. There is a merging with all that is, a merging that thrills us moment by moment.

 To quote Dion Fortune:   “There is a certain emotional concentration and exaltation which makes the higher phases of consciousness available, and without which it is impossible to attain them.  The images of the astral plane pass over into an intensity of emotion that is like a burning fire, and when all the dross of nature has gone up in flames the smoke clears, and we are left with the white heat of pure consciousness.  By the very nature of the human mind, with the brain as its instrument, this white heat cannot endure for long; but in the brief space of its lasting, changes occur in the temperament, and the mind itself receives new concepts and undergoes an expansion that never wholly retracts. The tremendous exaltation of the experience dies away, but we are left with a permanent expansion of personality, an enhanced capacity for life in general, and a power of realization of realities which could never have been ours if we had not been swung forcibly across the great gulf of consciousness by the momentum of ecstasy.