Chapter 1: Introduction to Simple Awakening

I’m sitting on a plane to San Francisco, returning home after giving one of my workday productivity seminars to the staff of a San Diego engineering firm. Here at thirty thousand feet, I’ve just finished taking a short session of “silence”—a meditation really. I’ve been taking these periods of inner silence nearly every morning and early evening for the last three years, but usually at ground level and usually in quiet and by myself. But today I ran out of time as I dashed to the airport, and I wanted to fit it in. It’s been a while since I took silence with so many people around, so sitting here with my eyes closed is leading to an interesting thought: If I were to tell anyone here what I’m currently experiencing, they’d be amazed. Actually, it’s more likely they’d just plain disbelieve me—or perhaps even dismiss me as a crank.

You see, I’m having yet another silence session that is filled with very sweet bliss. In nearly all my silence sessions every day now, a sweet and consistent sensation of bliss has started in my gut and has spread throughout my whole body. The best way to describe this bliss is that it’s like sweet honey being poured through me and saturating my being. It’s a pure and all-pervasive happiness experienced on all levels. Needless to say, it’s very, very, nice.

Based on Inner Silence

More important, that bliss is rising from a profound presence of inner silence. That silence is on the one hand very still but on the other hand bubbling with subtle energy and insight. The inner silence connects and grounds me with what I can only call my highest good. Really, the silence feels as if it’s the core of who I am—and at the same time, the core of everything else. Due to that silence, I feel profoundly expanded, incredibly whole, and deeply supported.

These experiences have been going on for almost three years now, increasing steadily over that time. As you can expect, they have gotten my attention! The silence is by far the most important and practical feature of this unfolding: it permeates and supports my whole day. As a result, my work—and life—have been deeply and dramatically transformed. I feel as if a rock-solid platform is supporting and facilitating my every move now, as nearly all actions I take are easy, effective, and satisfying. The presence of small fears and insecurities of the day, which in the past were typically either at or below the surface of my mind, have disappeared—they’ve been replaced with a consistent feeling of stability, grounding, and expansion. The sense of having too little time and too few resources to reach my work and life goals is gone.

Instead, a strong sensation of confidence, competence, and fulfillment sits in the background of my awareness at all times—it comes from that silence. Even my day-to-day work is much easier and more productive. As a result of all this, my life feels infinitely more satisfying. And along with all of this is the sweetness of that bliss—it’s like frosting on a cake because, even when it only sits subtly in the background, it adds a consistent layer of fulfillment as I’m moving through life. All this continues to grow month by month as the silence grows.

What Is Simple Awakening?

What is this all about? In a moment, I’ll explain what I found these experiences to be. I’ll explain how the silence and the resulting bliss and spontaneous improvements in life are the early and very practical stages of awakening—spiritual awakening, in fact. But it’s a very simple version of spiritual awakening, one that brings major improvements to all aspects of life, but without anything weird. This is not the spiritual awakening of the seventies with viewing auras, seeing bright white light, or communicating with spirits or deities. Rather, I have found that the establishment of deep supporting inner silence in my daily awareness is incredibly transformational without being “out there.” Because of that, I call it simple awakening. The immense grounding and expansion that comes with deep silence is better than those unusual things anyway. It’s simpler than that, sweeter than all that, and amazingly useful.

If I’m not meeting spirits, why do I call this spiritual awakening? You’ll see as the book progresses that I feel this pure inner silence is the truest form of spirit and that the best definition of spiritual awakening is connecting to and stabilizing that blissful and expansive silence as an all-time reality in your awareness. Stabilizing silence in your awareness changes everything. All the qualities and characteristics of spirit come rushing into life: compassion, positivity, right action, curiosity, inclusiveness, broad insight, courage, peace, wisdom, openness, and so on all tumble into and dominate life. The negatives in life mostly drop away. Life just starts to work right and amazingly well.

In the chapters ahead, I’ll talk about what these changes are and what this awakening means. I’ll discuss where it comes from and how you, the reader, may be able to culture it as well. In fact, that’s the purpose of this book: to convey to you, from a lay perspective, how transformational awakening to inner silence is and how accessible it is. I have found that it’s not just for spiritual devotees, as many previously thought. I truly believe that more and more “normal” people can have and benefit from growing awakening. That’s why I’ve decided to write this book—so that whether simple awakening happens spontaneously for you or whether you start some simple awakening practices to help it along, you can recognize and encourage the silence as it grows in you and then gain its benefits. But first, let me talk a bit more about how this came about and how it has so dramatically changed my life.

Completely Unexpected

In a way, all this has come out of left field—completely unexpected. You see, I’m a business author and I own a publishing and seminar company. Before that, I was a vice president at the large management consulting firm Accenture. My business work has been and still is very down-to-earth stuff. Currently, I teach people how to be more efficient and productive at work, which is a pretty normal topic area.

However, these awakening experiences, while also very pragmatic, are anything but down-to-earth. Rather, they are amazing and far outside the norm. When these experiences started three years ago, I was not seeking them—I was not meditating at the time, doing any other practices, or even studying the topic of awakening. But the experiences came, and come they have, every day and often quite intensely: a deep, profound, and consistent silence supporting all of my life and that experience of sweet honey-like bliss.

In contrast, for the decade prior to this happening, I was in the typical situation of so many Westerners: overextended and not satisfied with life. I was working way too hard and keeping way too many hours, often including weekends, and my life in general was predominantly unfulfilled. I was doing what many busy people do: trying to find time after work periods when I could finally do fun and satisfying things with friends or family, with the goal of finding a balanced and happy life. But that was hard to do—with all there was to do to succeed at work, where was the time for me to enjoy my life? And where was the meaning in life? The grind of business and success seeking typically sucked the joy out of life.

Trying to Control Life

The core problem seemed to be that even though I was doing everything I thought I should do to succeed and gaining lots of “things,” I was never reaching the sense of satisfaction I wanted. No matter how hard I worked, how carefully I arranged my life, or how many things I bought, there was always something more I needed to be happy—and I couldn’t be satisfied until that next thing was attained. Even when I did reach a distinct milestone of success—say, releasing a new book, securing a large contract, or affording a big purchase—the happiness was muted because I felt that I was giving too much to reach that success and not leaving enough of myself to appreciate it.

As I look back, I can see my approach was pretty typical of how most busy people approach work and life. I was trying to reach my intended outcomes solely through control, action, and smarts. If the result didn’t come, I just worked harder. We all believe that if we work hard, life should reward us. If we’re smart and make good decisions, life should unfold happily for us, right?

Well, I did try to work hard and cover all the right bases. And I did try to manage things intelligently. But I was finding that the more I tried to succeed by controlling and managing things, the more I had to do to affect what I was trying to control. The efforts seemed to expand exponentially as I identified every detail that needed attention. This gave me less time to do what I really wanted.

All this happened even though I had very good work processes in place. After all, I’m an expert on managing work tasks and managing communications—I write books on that topic—so I had mastered efficiency to a degree greater than nearly anyone possibly can. But even with that, I was working too hard and missing out on life. I longed for a richness and meaning in life. The meaning I thought I’d find in my business ventures, while fairly good, just wasn’t adequate. My personal life on the surface looked complete—even enviable. I had a nice home on a golf course in a beautiful town in Northern California. On my time off, I golfed and as often as possible took drives in my convertible up and down the California coast, enjoying the magic of that state. And I had a wonderful partner who cared for me deeply, and I for her. But deep inside I still felt as if I weren’t reaching what I wanted.

Inner Silence Arrives

All that transformed dramatically starting three years ago, and it has accelerated ever since. The solution did not have to do with changing my approach to work or life. I didn’t find new and clever time-saving approaches, and I didn’t force myself to take more time doing important activities. Rather, the solution came from deep inside, at first spontaneously and on its own accord and then with some encouragement from me. Inner silence started to creep into my life—and that changed everything.

The silence first appeared three years ago when I closed my eyes to say a silent grace at a Thanksgiving gathering. It was the first time in a long time that I closed my eyes with inner attention, and I suddenly found my awareness dropping into a deep field of inner silence. It was utterly quiet and completely still, with a sense of infinite breadth to it. I sensed I was on another plane of awareness. I thought to myself afterward, Wow, that was interesting. In the days ahead, I couldn’t get my mind off the experience, and I made a point of closing my eyes with inner attention as often as I could to repeat the experience—and it did repeat.

This wasn’t my first brush with a meditation-style activity. I’d meditated years ago and at that time studied it and the concept of awakening a fair amount. But after a while with no awakening results, I’d stopped and dismissed awakening as something not possible for me. Nonetheless, my study during those early years taught me what awakening was supposed to look like, and that served me well as this new experience of silence arrived—it was clear it could be part of an awakening process.

That encouraged me to immediately start taking regular silence sessions again and to start reading about spiritual awakening again. With daily silence sessions over several weeks and months, the silence increased. I embraced it and allowed it to grow, and now, three years later, it has expanded to the point that it can be called an authentic expression of spiritual awakening—with tons of related benefits. I can say now with certainty that spiritual awakening is real.

One goal for this book is to help you to recognize inner silence as it arrives in your life. If you get even a small sense of it, I want to encourage you to embrace it and accept its arrival in your life. It could be the start of a similar awakening experience for you. If you don’t embrace it at its early stages, if you dismiss it and don’t put a little time aside each day to culture that inner silence, you could be pushing out the very key to your happiness.

The Value of Silence

Inner silence is an amazing thing. We often hear from many different sources about the deep treasures of finding or taking silence—and those praises are all true! In nearly every culture, religion, and philosophy, inner silence is accepted as noble and refined, and as an extremely important thing, as it should be—it is noble.

Think about the common ways we all pay homage to silence. When we want to show respect for a loss, we take a moment of inner silence. When we want to bring order back to a chaotic discussion, we encourage a moment of silence. Those who rise above the mundane world in silent contemplation are deeply admired. In church, in study, and in intimate moments, silence is revered as sacred and deeply connecting.

The phrase “Silence is golden” is actually quite an accurate statement because there is immense treasure in silence. If you look around, you’ll see that the best things in our world ultimately emerge from silence. Study any of the ancient religions or philosophies and you’ll see that silence is the starting point from which many if not most spiritual insights emerge. Nearly all religions and philosophies have reference after reference to how important silence is to happiness and to connecting with the highest aspects of life.

In all walks of life, you’ll hear stories of how silence can guide your life—you’re told to trust “the still, small voice within.” You’re advised to look silently within to find the insights you need for correct action in life. Many of us know that is true—many of us find our best decisions come when we look silently inward. Many of us have experienced the peace and stability that comes from taking short silent periods or even days-long retreats into silence, whether in organized sessions or through simple retreats into nature. And many of us know how crucial such periods are to supporting our later busy periods.

Silence Emerges as a Presence

So inner silence, at even a basic level, is worthy of achieving. But when inner silence emerges deeply and profoundly as the first stages of awakening, it’s life changing, as this book will show. Furthermore, it’s important to note that inner silence is not so much imposed as it is accepted. When the right conditions are engaged, inner silence emerges on its own, as a profound presence. When I take a silence session these days, I don’t try to push out thoughts or images or noises. Rather, I just create the appropriate inner conditions, and then silence comes in powerfully, on its own, and clears everything from its path in an amazing way.

Later you’ll find that it’s not just during a closed-eyes session that silence emerges. Early on after taking regular silence sessions, I found that with time and just a little practice, inner silence even persisted into my awareness all day long, right into the busy activity of my day, with remarkable outcomes. Currently, that silence is an all-time experience underlying every moment of my life. I now see that such silence is at the basis of my entire being and everyone’s being; whether we sense it or not, it’s at the basis of who we really are. It’s at the core of life—we merely need to awaken to that.

Silence is not just at the core of human life, but it’s also at the core of all of nature itself. Silence is everywhere in nature. Think about it: It’s no mistake that silence is the thing you sense most when you’re in pure and pristine locations in nature. The silence of a quiet mountain lake at dusk, the peacefulness of a silent sunset, the magic of soundless falling snow, the quiet pauses between the laps of water up onto a beach.

Paradoxically, silence is also at the basis of nature’s noisiest and most dynamic expressions. Just as a wave emerges from a silent ocean to create the thunder of surf, silence is the underlying field from which all the most energetic aspects of nature and our life emerge. All the expressions of our manifest reality, from the quiet to the explosive, are the results of vibrations in the infinite field of invisible silence.

It makes sense that tapping into that silence and living from it can greatly improve and transform our lives. Spiritual awakening is the realization that that field rests inside us all and that we can bring it to the surface where we can benefit immensely from it. When profound inner silence permeates all your activity, you gain deep insight, wisdom, and the ultimate bliss of knowing all is well.

Practical and Guided

So silence—especially inner silence, if accepted—can be an insightful and beautiful thing. When silence is growing in your all-day consciousness in awakening, it’s also an incredibly practical thing. That’s because, with awakening, the ever-present silence firmly supports your daily activities. It serves as a rock-solid foundation for action. It provides the basis for clear, insightful, and meaningful thinking. It intuitively guides you throughout your day to your most valuable actions. And it brings you calm and collected results.

That’s exactly what I found. Slowly but surely, with the gradual growth of silence becoming permanently present in my awareness over the last years, I found my decisions getting better, my work getting easier, and my life reaching more accomplishments—ones with a lot more meaning. As silence grew more and more, I found myself enjoying work and life more and found the heaviness of life lifting off my shoulders. I soon found that my struggles in work and life were disappearing; rather, my work and personal actions started coming easily. There were no more feelings of being behind on things or missing out—work and life grew to become a consistent pleasure.

A question I often get at this point when describing my transformation is this: “But even if I gain inner silence, don’t I still have to do all the many things I need to do to support my family and my style of living? How does just feeling better with more silence accomplish all those things?” My answer is that awakening to inner silence is not just a matter of feeling better. It’s a matter of spontaneously living and working better. I get way more done in much less time because I spin my wheels much less often.

Think of all the things you do in work and life that don’t pan out, that end up being unnecessary or even down right wrong. With silence being consistently present, it seems now as if I’m being guided by that silence, that wholeness. It seems as if the silence is leading me to just the right next steps to accomplish the things I need with less effort and less time.

I know that may sound crazy to you, my claim that silence can actually guide you to your best outcomes, but that’s exactly what’s happening—so much so that these days, I rarely have questions as to what to do next in my personal or business life—the wisdom of the best next step is nearly always there. As a result, actions seem easy and simple even in the midst of my normally very busy business day. I don’t waste time, and my actions seem more and more to lead to the right outcomes. Business deals (the right ones) are closing with less effort, sometimes seemingly out of the blue, since I’m guided to the right decisions at the right times. All aspects of life are easier and more effective.

Pragmatic Awakening

These and many more very positive things are going on in my life as a result of this simple awakening to silence. I summarize much of that below and describe it in more detail later in the book. But let’s step back a moment and talk about what the heck is going on. I’m not complaining, obviously, but what is this awakening to silence and why is it happening?

After some research, I’ve come to learn more about this onset of silence, bliss, and internal guidance—this thing that I feel can be called a simple and powerful form of spiritual awakening. As I stated earlier, the concept of awakening is not new to me. I studied theories of spiritual awakening in my younger years. I even meditated twice a day consistently for several decades, looking for more peace and happiness, and admittedly hoping to experience some sort of awakening—at least as it was defined in those days.

But back in the seventies, when I first read about spiritual awakening, it was described as quite an exotic thing. It was portrayed as a life-rocking experience in which the meaning of life was suddenly dropped into your awareness and you were instantly transformed into a mystical being. In most cases, the awakened ones that got attention came from India or Asia; they walked around in robes and sandals and looked very different from you and me. These were the gurus and teachers of Eastern religions and philosophies, and they attracted many followers, including many people I knew.

Over time, however, I noticed that those who followed them did not seem to achieve any sort of awakening status. While many got some small and healthy benefits, decades passed with no life-transforming breakthroughs. None of my meditating peers seemed to be near the sort of awakening they aspired to; I never heard stories from meditator friends saying they or others they knew had reached it. Rather, the ongoing stories of awakening were still told by only a very select few, usually people who had adopted a very spiritual life—not people like you and me.

And so years ago I gave up on the idea that such an awakening was attainable. I’d decided that awakening, if it even existed, was a supernatural thing reserved only for a few exceptionally devoted people—that it was very rare. I decided that it was certainly not attainable by people like me, who were completely immersed in the business and material world.

Fast-forward to the last three years, and significant awakening experiences have in fact been arriving for me—at first just a little and then much more. Initially, I rejected spiritual awakening as the probable explanation for the growing inner experiences that were bringing me so many benefits. My experiences were not that mystical. While they were very profound, they were just too simple. Surely, awakening had to be more flashy than simply problems falling away, sweetness flowing in, intuition guided me, and a very satisfying sense of freedom and stability moving in. Didn’t it need to come with a set of “cosmic” experiences?

Awakening Is Very Simple

But as my experiences grew, I realized that the essence of spiritual awakening is very simple—it’s not necessarily the glamorous supernatural transformation that I’d heard about in the seventies. Rather, I now know that at least one form of spiritual awakening is simply profound inner silence, inner stillness, and inner guidance taking hold and fully transforming your life. And I now know that it can happen without the trappings or requirements of an Eastern (or Western) spiritual lifestyle, which I had long assumed was a necessity.

And even though it’s immensely simple, there are amazing aspects to awakening. That’s because the silence and bliss do take on nearly supernatural levels as they transform your entire life. For example, the sense and reality of freedom from life’s mundane limitations is totally amazing—as is the ease that permeates life as each next step in life is guided by intuition.

But still I think awakening is better viewed through very pragmatic eyes, as to how life improves in practical ways as a result of those underlying changes. My goal for decades has been to help people to solve their everyday problems, and that goal has not changed. While many people may be attracted by descriptions of silence and bliss, I still believe it’s the positive effects of awakening on everyday mundane life that most people are looking for.

When I talk to people in the work world about what they need most, the majority focus simply on improving their daily life. While many people list specific and sometimes lofty life goals they want to achieve, most simply say they want relief from the problems and headaches of life. A number of people list specific health issues they want solved—relief from such issues is really all those people want from life. A vast majority say they want freedom from overwhelm—they describe the same overtaxed life that I described for myself prior to awakening, and they just want to get ahead of that and perhaps find at least a little more meaning in life beyond merely chasing success.

The beauty of this simple form of spiritual awakening is that all those pragmatic things are exactly what you get—all of them! For example, I’ve already mentioned how my actions in my business and personal life are much easier and more effective. I’m finding that my life goals are simplifying and falling into place much more easily. My mind is amazingly clear and sharp but relaxed at the same time, and that leads to solutions to innumerable small problems coming easily. I’m even sensing, more and more, the ultimate outcomes of choices before they happen, so I’m making decisions much more accurately that unfold in a positive way. Most of my health issues have diminished or disappeared—I can see now that they were mostly stress related, and stress is definitely gone. And those issues that haven’t disappeared don’t seem to bother me as much now.

Experiencing Life More Fully

Really, the key is that nearly all my problems and dissatisfactions in life are dropping away, and that frees up space to live my life more and more completely. I enjoy all aspects of life many times more as a deep richness in life sets in with less of the internal filtering that often prevented me from enjoying life fully.

We all filter our experiences in ways that limit our lives. For example, the judgmental dialog that used to be in the back of my mind saying “this is bad to consume,” or “that is good to do,” or “I shouldn’t do that,” or “I should be sure to avoid this other thing”—all the controls I tried to place on life to try to manipulate my reality—those are gone. And that’s good because those controls never really worked anyway, and they just prevented me from living spontaneously. Instead, I now experience life simply, mostly nonjudgmentally, and joyfully; I’m seeing and enjoying the richness that life naturally has. And right action—even moral action—seems to be coming on its own rather than through constant control.

I’m also having the most amazing personal insights about people—for example, about what motivates people, why most people usually end up unhappy, and how such unhappiness is ultimately unnecessary. The Buddha said awakening ends suffering, and I’m seeing what he meant by that because so far for me, awakening is setting life up to be an incredibly insightful and joyful experience.

Business Practicality

Long before awakening set in for me, I had been teaching workday management solutions, so it’s amazing for me to see how, with growing silence, positive outcomes in business and work are now appearing almost automatically, along with a deep sense of fulfillment. So from a purely business point of view, it goes without saying that this experience, this state of being I’m describing, is very important. It’s a hundred times more important than just becoming more efficient at what I do.

No, it’s a thousand times more important than that. And in a way it’s the ultimate level of workday management. After all, imagine if work were no longer a struggle. Imagine if nearly all your tasks in work and life were accurately falling into place and getting done effortlessly, even blissfully. Imagine if instead of going home feeling tired and frustrated each workday, you went home fulfilled. What if I could teach you that?

So I’m also realizing that this awakening, for me, may be an incredible responsibility. As a writer and communicator—as a teacher who shows people how to improve their work lives—it’s becoming clear to me that I have to spread the word on this. I’m not being given this gift so I can go out and just make more money or sit back and soak in the bliss. I know I need to do much more than that. In fact, since it has such huge implications for the quality of work life, this is probably the logical next step for my current line of teaching. This book, then, is the first step of that.

Should I Be Writing about Awakening?

However, this book on awakening is a big departure for me. Previous to writing this book, I was a business writer. I’ve written seven books on workday productivity, and my primary day-to-day business was to give seminars on that topic. Prior to those activities, I was deeply imbedded in the corporate world. As I said, I was a VP and management consultant at Accenture. Before that I had various IT management roles in the software industry and in government, and years ago I even had a career as a civil engineer. My current activity of writing and teaching my system of task and e-mail management has been quite successful, and some of my books on the topics have even become best sellers in their categories. Clearly, I have a well-established career. And so the question is, should I switch gears and start writing about awakening? Isn’t that a bit crazy?

Well, yes, maybe it is crazy. But you see, even though it seems like awakening is a risky topic for me, there’s no doubt in my mind that this book is needed. I have now come to deeply believe that awakening is a real possibility for many, many people—even people who’ve never considered it before. And so I feel a book like this, one that presents awakening in a way that even a business person might accept, will help a lot of people who may never learn about it otherwise. Everyone—whether they be monks, artists, public servants, or people in the business world—should have a way to access this information.

I have recently concluded that a life dedicated to spiritual pursuit is not necessary to reach awakening. I wasn’t on a spiritual or new age path at the time awakening hit me; rather, I was focused on my business. So I’ve written this book in a very practical and I hope believable way—in a way that I hope will convince almost anyone that awakening is real, and that it’s even possible for them.

Summary of Practical Benefits of Awakening to Silence

That’s my story of what has led up to writing this book and how in general it has benefited me. In the chapters ahead, I’ll give many more details.

But again, I want to emphasize that while awakening was in the past mostly shrouded in mystery and linked with esoteric pursuits, it doesn’t have to be that way. It is really a hugely accessible and practical thing. Let me summarize many of the bottom-line benefits of what I’m experiencing with the onset of awakening to silence:

I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and that affects both work and life. But it’s not happiness like one feels when getting a new car or having fun with friends or reaching a life or business goal. Rather, my happiness is not conditional on having certain things or taking certain actions—happiness is just there, nearly always. It’s a deep-level contentment permeating all aspects of life.

There is nothing out of sorts in my life; rather, everything feels (and is) in balance. I have a deep knowing that all is well and that I’m on a perfect work-and-life path. I no longer have lingering suspicions that I should be working on something else, approaching life differently, or seeking other activities or other sources of income.

Life has gotten very easy. Work is easy, day-to-day relationships are easy, and moving through all the functions of life is easy. I don’t mean that I’m taking on only easy work and avoiding challenges. No, I’m still accomplishing all I did before and more—but doing it now is just very easy. I have a wonderful sense of freedom, as if work and life are no longer constraining me.

All sense of self-doubt and fear have left. I have no fears in social or business situations. I no longer have the feeling that I have to prove myself to anyone. And most significantly perhaps, I have no money fears (even though I don’t have a tremendous amount in the bank). I’m confident the money will be there when I need it—and for a businessman, that’s amazing. And I even no longer have a fear of death. It’s as if a profound sense of completeness has set in.

I now have very little striving. In the past, I was constantly trying to get to the next big thing that I had to reach for (whatever it was at that moment) and not quite getting there. So I tried even harder each time. Striving is the perfect word for that. In the past, I had a nearly constant internal conversation that went like this: “Once I get X, I’ll be happy.” This led to my striving for X. The item X could be a big goal like the next big sale, or the next job, or the next big purchase. Or it could be a simple short-term goal like wanting to arrive at my destination when driving across town. In all these cases, I was constantly living with the next milestone being necessary for my happiness or completeness. Of course, that milestone was consistently around the corner and just out of reach. And once I reached it, there would be another one just beyond it to attend to. In other words, I was constantly striving for some later attainment, living for the future, and never quite reaching it. But now that striving has gone away, I’m mostly living in the now, taking life for what it offers and spontaneously appreciating it unconditionally as I move ahead.

I’m more motivated about work and life than I have ever been before. That’s somewhat paradoxical, given how content I am in my current status. But no, I now have a deeper sense of inner purpose, and it motivates all that I do. But rather than working from fear or an itch to fill an incompleteness or even from the need to win, I’m working with a knowing that my actions are important and beneficial to others, and that I want to do even more to help.

I have a deep knowing that whatever I need next in life will appear when it’s needed. That confidence is there partly because I’m regularly experiencing that. And it’s there partly because my life has become very simple—I don’t feel as if I have huge needs that I have to hustle for anymore. I still have big goals, perhaps even bigger now, but they aren’t so much for me anymore, and they’re much less material focused.

I now have a very powerful and effective intuition, one that I deeply trust. That is perhaps the most important of all these points. Because of that reliable intuition, decisions are very easy; I look inside and the answers come—answers that seem to nearly always be the right ones.

So that’s my list. And there are a lot more things I could point to. I could describe each item on this list much more deeply. For many items, I will do that—I will elaborate on them later in the book. Many of these points also beg for a deeper, almost philosophical discussion. After all, much of what I just listed are topics that have been debated by deep thinkers throughout the ages. I’ll try to identify and wade into those philosophical points as well, but from a very practical and personal perspective. I’m not aiming for any literary awards here, and I think you’ll like how I explain these ahead.

In Closing

That’s my experience. It really is happening daily, and the experiences are increasing with each month. There’s no doubt in my mind, however, that I have a long way to go. I know that while the silence and bliss in my life and the benefits they bring are a profound first level of awakening, full awakening is some ways off. Why do I think that?

Well, first of all, I’ve always heard that full awakening is a non-variable, consistent state. However, everything I describe above is somewhat changeable in its expression. There are times (admittedly rarer these days) when the awakening experiences seem to drop off somewhat, and there are times when those experiences flow in more strongly. But luckily, the dips are slight and the silence and bliss continue to expand month by month.

The other reason I sense there is more to awakening is this: In many writings, full awakening is associated with highly spiritual insights—seeing into the cosmos, perhaps understanding God, and so on. I know one awakened person who, when he closes his eyes, travels throughout the spiritual realms. But, I seem to be experiencing a much more practical level of awakening. And that’s fine because the list of benefits I discussed above is nothing to scoff at! And if those greater things do come, I’ll just write another book! But still, I recognize there’s a huge range of experiences above the first levels of awakening.

Next in this book, I could continue to describe the results of my experience of simple awakening even more. But instead, in the following chapters I’d like first to talk about what I think this awakening really is and what it means. I’ve become a bit of an expert on it now, as I’ve studied it to figure out what is happening. I have a unique perspective in that I come from a business world where I’m still fully engaged. It’s a down-to-earth and practical perspective, one that I think you and many others can relate to.

Here’s how I’ve laid out the next parts of the book. In the next chapter, I’ll talk about the early onset of silence that eventually led to what I call awakening—what that looked like for me when it first started, how you might recognize it in your life, and what I think it means. After that I’ll discuss more profound silence and awakening experiences—what they were and why they’re important. Then I’ll discuss how you may be able to develop silence and awakening—what you can do to increase your chances of experiencing that. After that, I’ll talk more about intuition and how it grows with awakening. Then I’ll discuss the influence of awakening on work and business life—and a lot more! In all this writing, I’ll try to link everything to practical aspects of life. And especially, at all times, I’m going to try to keep it real. So stay with me.

In stores March, 2016.