Awakening simply means to wake up from the self-created dream and regain the pure awareness we had so long ago, before our parents, teachers, schoolmates, and the media told us who we were. That untainted awareness is our natural state. We cannot force it to happen. All we can do – and indeed, what virtually everyone does – is create ideas that obscure it: the belief that we are a particular nationality, color, gender, religion, political position, social class, or job title, and that we must do or acquire certain things in order to uphold that image. Awareness is like breathing: we can’t force ourselves to breathe. We just breathe naturally. However, we can interfere with breathing by holding our breath. If we simply let go of our breath, breathing will happen with no effort on our part. Similarly, if we simply let go of our egoic ideas, awareness will happen without our trying to be aware.