What does ‘being woke’ mean?

Being woke means having your heart and mind open to truth or reality. You see, most people go through life playing out some drama in their minds. Have you ever seen The Matrix? It’s like that. (And if you haven’t seen The Matrix I highly recommend it!) In The Matrixpeople are plugged into a simulated computer reality. In real life, our minds are programmed to whatever we’ve experienced in life. Our minds are like biocomputers using our five senses to gather data from our surroundings: news, movies, games, conversations of people around us, how people treat us… Literally everything we encounter gets recorded in our brains. Our brain uses that data to construct a “reality”. Only, that reality isn’t reality, it’s a version of reality–a story.

Being woke means rather than buying the story our brain makes up, we look beyond our story. You see, when people live out the story in their heads, it’s like they’re zombies going through motions or simply reacting to everything. Reacting to life means we’re at the mercy of our circumstances. This isn’t a very happy life (unless we really and truly luck out which, who wants to wait on luck?!)

The beautiful side of being woke is that we get to choose our reality. Rather than reacting to everything, we get to take a step back and evaluate how each circumstance can be used to propel us in the direction we want to go. Being woke can me following our dreams, pointing out the positive side of everything, and expressing gratitude and joy for even the smallest things.

The downside of being woke is that some people can become bitter about the harsh realities of life. It’s true, life can be a constant struggle. People can be petty vicious, cruel, ugly, hateful, violent and hurtful. Our dreams don’t always come true. Some of us very rarely get what we want or ask for. It’s not a fairytale world out there, it’s a frequently nightmarish zoo of human awfulness.

So I’ll ask again, What does being woke mean? Those people who get embittered about the harsh realities of life are only ‘half-woke’. If we get bitter about life, all we see are the bad things. Every cloud has a silver lining. Every rain feeds sweet fruits and flowers. Every failure carries many more opportunities. Being woke can feel disempowering at first, but being TRULY woke means we have a choice. We just have to be courageous.

True satisfaction in life doesn’t mean feeling happy and jazzed all the time. Fulfillment in life comes from doing our part to help others and make the world a better place. We just have to be brave enough to take the red pill and step up when life calls us to action. My mom and I recently were having a conversation about this and she said something that is now one of my all-time favorite being woke quotes: “It’s a tougher life for the woke.” To that, I would just add, “but it’s a better life.”

Being woke is better. I hope you’ll take an opportunity to evaluate your “reality” and choose to look at things honestly and with courage. From there you choose what happens next. Will you stay woke and make things better? Or will you live like a zombie?


Photo credit: @mango_quan on Unsplash

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