Woke is used as a byword for cultural or social awareness. But being woke is dependent on how naturally awake, how aware, how alert you are. Unclouded awareness allows you to be successfully, actively attentive to important facts and issues including topics of racial and social justice.
How awake are you?
According to brain physiologists and psychologists, most people are using only 10-15% of their mental capacity. That’s like trying to play a Mozart concerto on the piano with just one finger. Obviously, to do justice to the piece, one wants to bring the other nine fingers into the performance. So it is with the mind—even for those who consider themselves to be woke, if they are not using their full mental potential then their effectiveness may be severely hampered.
The first step in becoming woke is to take a few minutes to transcend the busy-ness of the mind and the business of life in order to be awake in oneself. Transcending simply means to go beyond the activity of the mind to the source of thought itself–inner wakefulness— to access your reserves of energy, creativity and intelligence, infusing more clarity into daily life. If you want to be fully woke, you should learn to meditate.
Throughout history it has been understood that this expanded state of inner wakefulness produces the most balanced state of mind, in which moods and other superficial fluctuations don’t mislead us. From that platform you will be able to take the truest measure of any situation.
Stressed mind vs woke mind
In mainstream use, woke can also more generally describe someone or something as being “with it.” Being stressed and tired will skew your vision of the truth and reduce your mind’s ability to stay on top of things. By reducing stress and fatigue, your mind clears up and calms down, your perception clears. Being woke in its most effective sense means acting from a calm compassionate clarity and not a place of stress.
Fortunately, as one transcends to more silent wakeful levels of the mind, the body slips into a state of profound rest in which deep rooted stress is dissolved. This relaxed state of life leads us to be not only alert and engaged in life but to do so with an open heart.
Transcendental Meditation and social responsibility
Sometimes people are concerned that meditation will make them so peaceful that they’ll lose their passion for life, in other words—that meditating will make them passive. Not so with the Transcendental Meditation program. The effortless TM technique brings more dynamism to what we care about. Many women have found that the TM program gives them a great foundation for staying focused and being successful. For example:
Aziza Hussein graduated from the American University in Cairo in the late 1940s and then engaged in civil work with a special focus on matters related to women’s rights—especially their much-challenged reproductive rights—and rights of children. She also represented Egyptian civil society at UN conferences and meetings. She said that her practice of Transcendental Meditation helped her to keep her bearings in the complex political situation.
Alice Leahy, who received the Crystal Clear Award for her work in promoting health literacy, co-founded a Dublin organization called Trust which provides food and assistance to those in need. She’s been working for Trust for more than 35 years. Despite the decades of work, she is neither worn out or jaded, saying that she “takes an interest in homeless people as if she were seeing them for the first time… with an air of welcome and acceptance.” Though 70, Alice is not even considering retirement and attributes her stamina to walking routine and the benefits of the TM practice.
Lois Lee is the founder and director of Children of the Night, a privately funded non-profit organization providing intervention in the lives of children who are sexually exploited and vulnerable to, or involved in, prostitution and pornography. In the last 40 years they have rescued over 10,000 children—more than all other trafficking programs combined. She says, “I couldn’t keep the schedule I keep or see opportunities to change the world without TM.”
“Transcendental Meditation is something that can be defined as a means to do what one wants to do in a better way, in a right way, for maximum results.”― Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
About the Author
Vanessa Vidal is the national director of TM for Women in the USA