Are You Pretending to Be Asleep?

May 12


Keith Varnum

Keith Varnum

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For the last year I’ve been haunted by a revealing Navajoproverb that goes:“You can’t wake a person who’s pretending to be asleep!”I’m haunted in the ...

For the last year I’ve been haunted by a revealing Navajo
proverb that goes:

“You can’t wake a person who’s pretending to be asleep!”

I’m haunted in the sense that Ebenezer Scrooge is haunted by
the Ghosts of Christmas Past,Are You Pretending to Be Asleep? Articles Present and Future in Charles
Dickens’ beloved parable “A Christmas Carol.”

I’m haunted by the feeling that a profound realization is
floating all around me, calling out to me, hinting in the
phantom mist of an insight that will set us all free!

The Ghoul of Christmas Past   

The “Ghost of Christmas Past” is a ghoul because its story is
creepy and disagreeable. It’s the sad story of our collective
level of awareness. The Ghoul of Christmas Past speaks to the
prevalent understanding of what it means to say a person is
asleep or unconscious.

This generally held view is a cosmic Catch 22 conundrum: We’re
asleep, but because we’re asleep, we’re not conscious that
we’re asleep. So, because we don’t know that we’re asleep, we
can’t wake ourselves up. We’re not even aware that there
exists another state of consciousness that we could wake up
to. Thus, we don’t wake up!

This commonly held view is that most people are sleepwalking
through their lives in a state of perpetual
unconsciousness—unable to do anything about it!

Married to this “victim” view is the belief that it takes an
outside force to wake someone up: An enlightened teacher.
Special techniques. Secret ceremonies. Esoteric rituals. The
right circumstances. Exact celestial timing. A miracle or an
act of God!

And as the popular perspective goes, even with this external
help, waking up is very difficult. Even with a Perfect Storm
of outside forces, it takes great effort, work, desire,
courage, stamina, perseverance, and raw luck to wake up!

And so, most people don’t make it. They don’t wake up. And
those people who do wake up, only awaken for a split second
for a mere glimpse of the Oneness. And, alas, then these rare
folks unintentionally fall asleep again—forgetting they’d ever
awakened for a brief moment. Not a cheery prospect expressed
by the Ghoul of Christmas Past!

The Gift of Christmas Present

But through the dark shroud of this dismal outlook of the
ghoul, I vaguely sense the liberating spirit of the “Ghost of
Christmas Present!”

The message of the “Ghost of Christmas Present” is the
present—gift—of the Present—the present moment. The gift of
the present moment is the gift of the opportunity to choose to
be fully awake in each successive moment of life! This
momentary freedom is always available to everyone—regardless
of past beliefs, wretched experiences and karmic inertia.

And the Gift of Christmas (Christ Mass) Present is the
realization that this momentary bliss is actually all there
is. And it is also everything one could ever pray for!

The Spirit of Christmas Present informs us that there is no
past—or future—only now, the present moment. And in the
present moment we can instantly awaken. And if we keep
choosing to be awake each moment, we can be permanently free!

Let’s Play “Pretend”

The Gift of Christmas Present also reminds us of what we know
in our heart and soul—that we never actually are asleep. We
simply pretend we’re asleep—unaware, unconscious—so that we
can play on earth as a victim, buying into the adventure of
being buffeted by the whims of the universe. We pretend to be
unaware of our true power and freedom, so that we can enjoy
the human excitement of drama, trauma and karma!

Because if we don’t play dumb (asleep), we’ll instantly
remember that, in truth, we’re creating our life experiences
deliberately, by choice and free will—just for the fun of it.

We choose to forget who we really are in order to explore,
learn, grow and expand. But mainly in order to simply enjoy
the exhilarating human ride on funky Planet Earth!

In other words, if we don’t consciously choose amnesia, we
will remember who we are … eternal, omnipotent and free beings
who can create whatever reality we want.

If we don’t pretend to be asleep, we’ll recall that we can get
out of any predicament or problem any time we choose.

We’ll notice that, in fact, we actually get ourselves into all
kinds of trouble on purpose—just so we can have the excitement
of getting ourselves out of trouble in new and inventive ways!

We’ll realize that if we don’t forget who’s writing the
script, we won’t be able to dive into the direness of the
drama, thrill at the terror of the trauma, or cringe through
the crisis of the karma! What fun is that?

We want to enjoy life as soap opera. So, what’s a divine being
to do, but pretend to be a victim! … pummeled by all the
tumultuous forces of fate, at the mercy of every the fickle
gods of fortune.

The Phantom of Christmas Yet to Come

The “Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come” is, in truth, a phantom,
a fiction. In other words, it need not come to pass. Just as
Ebenezer Scrooge decided to change his ways when he was shown
his future misery (and the prophetic death of Tiny Tim), we
too can change the way we live our lives.

The good news of the “Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come” is that
the future is not set or fixed. It’s not inevitable. The
future is born from each moment—from the choices we make in
each moment.

There is in reality only the Now, the gift of the Present. We
create our future—the next moment—with each decision we make
in the Present.

With each moment’s decision to pretend to be asleep
(unconscious and unaware), we enter the future moment as
victim. With each choice to be awake (conscious and aware), we
play in a world in which we are the source of our own fate and

Up until now, we’ve been pretending to be asleep as a strategy
to stay safe in what looks like a dangerous,  precarious
world. Perhaps it’s time to realize that this strategy has
been brilliant and successful. Hey, you’re still alive and
reading this article!

But, my friend, is this pretending to be asleep really all
that enjoyable?

What future will you order right now from The “Ghost of
Christmas Yet to Come?”

A More Fun Alternative

Now that we’ve awaken enough to see through our own pretending
to be asleep, maybe it’s a good time to create a new more
nurturing life strategy for ourselves.

We could have our cake—and eat it too!

We could pretend to other people that we’re still asleep—but
not pretend to ourselves!

We could fully awaken to ourselves, but continue to
deliberately pretend to others that we’re unaware. As many
enlightened spiritual teachers do, we could “play dumb” in
order to move safely and freely incognito through human
affairs. We would appear to be asleep, our awakened state
undetectable to the ordinary citizen!

We could consciously play “unconscious” in order to mingle,
mend and mentor others.

We could keep up the public pretense as a conscious charade.
But in our own private universe, we could awaken to—and
enjoy—our natural power, wisdom and beauty.

Grab Your Freedom

This Spirit of Freedom resides in our hearts, whispering its
guidance to us to “let go and let God” … to release the
agenda, to let go of the “mental maintenance project.” If we
would simply go with the flow, we could allow the present
(gift) of the present moment to continue to unfold!

Which Story Do You Choose?

If you want to ride the rollercoaster of scarcity, sickness,
struggle, strife and sorrow, you must convince yourself of
your own story: I’m asleep and I can’t wake up!

(Just like the famous TV ad: “I’ve fallen and I can’t get

I Get It!

Ah, now I get the message of these new Ghosts of Christmas
(Christ Mass). As the Navajo know: you can’t wake someone
who’s pretending to be asleep! You can’t wake someone who
really isn’t asleep!

Your Choice

So, now I bow to your divine choice to play a game—the human
game. Cops and robbers. Cat and mouse. Cause and effect.

I honor your freedom as a divine being—to choose to be a
prince or a pauper, or a damsel in distress or a dazzling

I leave you with the wisdom of the final words of “A Christmas
Story.” As Tiny Tim observed, “God Bless Us, Every One!”


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