The Most Important Thing

The most important thing is to be awake

John Everett Millais, The Somnambulist, 1871

The Most Important Thing. What is it?

The Dalai Lama says spreading a message of harmony is the most important thing.

Audrey Hepburn said it’s to enjoy your life.

Princess Diana said it was family.

John Wayne said tomorrow is the most important thing.

Steve Jobs said it was remembering that he will soon be dead.

John Wooden said it was faith.

Oscar Wilde said that when he was young he thought money was the most important thing but that when he was old he knew it was.

Some will say love. Some say success. Many say that to be happy is the most important thing.

What do you think is the Most Important Thing?

With respect to all of the above mentioned, I’ll tell you what I think is the most important thing.

The most important thing is to be awake. 

Wait! You might say. I AM awake!

Are you sure?

To be awake means not only to have your eyes open and walking around but to be aware that you are doing so.

Have you ever driven to work and not remembered the drive?

To be asleep and dreaming at night means to see visions taking place in your head, while being totally unaware that you are asleep. (except if you’re lucid dreaming.)

To be driving, (or working or talking or walking) while your head is crowded with thoughts and images that leave you without a deep awareness of what’s in front of you is just another level of sleep. And in my opinion, many people are sleepwalking through life.

The most important thing is to be awake.

How important can your family be if whenever you are with them, you are a thousand miles away, consumed with stuff in your head that  has no more substance than your nighttime dreams?

How important can love or money be if you are never awake enough to fully appreciate the love and money that you DO have?

To be awake is the most important thing because when you are awake you have a choice. YOU get to choose how you participate in life.

If you’re not awake, then you are on the couch watching an endless stream of sounds and images go by making you feel happy, sad or indifferent, never knowing that you have the power to change the channel whenever you want to.

If you are not awake, you are walking through life mechanically, like a robot, obeying your programming without question, a somnambulist (the technical term for people that walk in their sleep).

When you are awake, then it’s all simply fascinating and you can change the channel if you want to.

When you are awake, you are able to see what IS, unobscured by what should be, could be or how you want it to be.

When you are awake, you are aware that whatever meaning anything has, it has it because of you.

When you are awake, you are aware of the thoughts in your head as only thoughts in your head and aware of your tendency to believe everything you think.

When you are awake, it’s ok to feel the pain, just like it’s ok to feel the joy.

When you are awake, you are aware that your beliefs are beliefs and are not the “truth.”

When you are awake you can change any belief any time you want to.

To be awake, like Steve Jobs said, is to have the awareness that all too soon you will sleep the endless sleep.

Do you still believe you are awake? Did you once believe in Santa Claus?

If so, then challenge the belief that you are. Ask yourself “What if I’m not as awake as I think I am?” For a few days, go on the presumption that this may be true. Look for times when you are sleeping through your life while walking around acting as if you are awake.

Consider that it might be true that life is but a dream.  Because, how do you know it’s not?


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  1. […] The most important thing is to be awake and refuse to abdicate your own authority to anyone or anything. This is your life. You get to choose what to think and believe. Choose wisely. […]

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