In my experience, waking up seems to begin with awareness of a “presence” in your life. Your physical world does not change, but the way you see it does. You might look at an object with your eyes, and register its solid appearance, but you are aware of the presence behind or beyond that appearance. Or perhaps you will be entertaining a belief in your mind and suddenly be aware of the presence beyond that belief, rendering the belief to be insubstantial, even meaningless. As the belief dissolves, awareness of the presence grows and you begin to realize that the presence is the awareness itself, and the awareness is You! Whereas before it would seem to you that you were looking out at the world from within your body, in the awakening stage, the body – and the very world itself – are now experienced as being inside the awareness; inside You. At this point a wonderful little awareness game takes place.
One day you may be deeply absorbed in some feeling or train of thought that holds some personal significance. Perhaps someone said or did something to you that seemed to cause you discomfort, and you are obsessively thinking about what happened and how it made you feel. Suddenly you find yourself pulling back from it, and observing that thought or feeling more impersonally, while the narrowness of your awareness seems to expand. That personal thought or feeling is seen as if from a distance, its personal importance fades to some degree, and you are experiencing it with neutral detachment. In that neutrality is a pleasant sense of freedom from personal attachment, so you can fully experience the human dynamic of thought and feeling while remaining aware of the power and presence of what you really are. The “bad” feeling and thoughts you were having simply become part of the human experience, free from judgment and rejection.
The same thing occurs with what we call “good” thoughts and feelings as well. Awareness is transported beyond the realm of good and bad, into the blissful neutrality of PRESENCE. In the non-duality of presence the identity previously seen as “you” does not exist. One might say that you are, in Truth, the ‘not-you’. What you really are is the opposite of everything you believed yourself to be!
The human cocoon is an ongoing process. Thus people in this stage frequently experience consciousness but these experiences are not constant. Though conscious awareness and experience of ‘presence’ occur very often, you can also experience days when you are emotionally or mentally absorbed in the minutiae of personal challenges or dramas. But awareness always breaks through and the sense of presence reminds you that there is a big difference between what is personal and what is truly important. The personal is a human experience and You are not human. You are the power and presence of the unconditional, non-dualistic, undefinable, and thoroughly blissful “Being”. Once you are in the cocoon and beginning to see this more and more clearly, you recognize that the Truth was always right in front of you, hiding in plain sight.