Some people wake up and realize that they have been fooling themselves. “Everything is wonderful, really. I'm healthy, I have a wonderful family, a wonderful home and a big bank account, why have I been so miserable? What tremendous power there is in self-deceptions.”
Other people wake up and realize that they have been mean and selfish for decades. Maybe drugs and alcohol have possessed them, maybe the idea of making a career or status-striving. Some of those people might say to themselves, “Oh my God. I completely forgot about my children. How can I make up for all this?”
Some people wake up from political delusions. Ingmar Bergman, for example, sympathized with the Nazis in Germany for many years as a young man.
Another kind of awakening is the small awakening that happens when we wake up from a daydream, when the attention shifts away from the thoughts for a moment.
When Eckhart Tolle talks about awakening, he is talking about enlightenment, a huge awakening, a sudden, radical shift in ones perception of the world, a complete loss of ego, an end to all interpretations. I have not experienced this kind of awakening. I don't really understand what he is talking about. I still have an ego after years and years of meditation practice and philosophical studies. However, "my" ego has lost much of its power. When it is going on an on about something and wants to direct my actions I simply tell him to stop all that stupid nonsense. It actually works, sometimes.
To me it doesn’t really matter if the world is 15 billion years old or if it is 150 billions years old, if it has always been there or if there are many more worlds out there. Matter consists of empty space to more than 99,99%, empty space between the electrons and the nucleus of the atom. So what? To me it doesn't really matter if I will reincarnate or if I will end up in heaven or hell when I die. All such thoughts are, as I see it, nothing but speculations. I live here in this world, in this time period, in this world of form, in this moment. This matters to me. In a few minutes I'll have to rush to catch my train to get to work in time. In the great scheme of things, human beings are as insignificant as ants. So what? To us it matters if we will be wiped out in a nuclear war or if we are ruining our planet because of insatiable greed, carelessness and stupidity. This carelessness and greed is not due to cosmic perfection. It is carelessness and greed, which is similar to alcoholism.