Whatever you want to call it. Awakening. Realizing the Nature of Things.
It’s what we all ultimately want — the ability to live in a comfortable and satisfying way, help and care for those we love, shrug off the shit that life dishes out, and carry on with aplomb and a modicum of enthusiasm.
Religion tells you that you can’t get it on your own, that you have to have Jesus’ or Mohammed’s or Buddha’s help. Never mind that those very guides taught responsibility and thinking for oneself (at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). Subsequent interpreters, clergy, theologians, imams, Zen masters, and grand poobahs will tell you that you need their interpretations to really understand what the heavies said.
I say you don’t need the interpreters or the heavies. Life shows you how it is to be lived. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Take care of things that need attention while they’re little and easy so they don’t get big and difficult. The universe is not about you — don’t take it personally, either the good stuff or the bad stuff. It’s just stuff.
Waking up (being liberated, being saved, enlightenment, etc.) is just a matter of recognizing that you are a process of awareness operating in a body. The body (with its brain) is the computer and you are the program running on it.
The physical matter that we can interact with is around 2% of the universe. No one knows what the rest of it is (yet — scientists are working on it). In one small, insignificant corner of space, a small fraction of this 2% has somehow organized itself into devices that have become aware of themselves, that can think and dream and experience sensations and feelings. Whatever story you choose for explaining this to yourself (god, the big bang, elephants and turtles, whatever), that’s amazing and awesome!
Pay attention and enjoy the ride. As far as anyone has been able to find out, it’s one to a customer. Some of the stories claim there are repeats and/or an eternal life after this temporary one. Sadly, hard data to support such stories is lacking. So it behooves us to pay attention this time around and get the most out of it we can. The only time you can pay attention to is now. The only place you can pay attention to is here. Get to it.