How do you know you are awake Adam?
I can ask myself who am I? And I can locate the 'I' behind the eyes looking out and that is it. I feel I exist, I am here and nothing else. I am aware how much story, identification attaches itself to this awareness of existence.
I am aware of thoughts (very bad and disturbing ones) and though I don't identify with these thoughts any more, like I used to, they carry on regardless. Though at times the thoughts can exhaust themselves and the mind seems to quieten down (only for very short periods at a time).
Then the body seems to have so much sensations. Sometimes so intense it can be very painful, again, it always passes.
I can become aware of fear being there and that leaves too, especially when the body flares up so much sensations in the body, sometimes I can have moments of swelling inside my chest, breathlessness, then it can disappear in the next few days.
Are we awake Adam when we truly trust the process and no longer seem to care about disturbing thoughts and pain in the body? When nothing matters any more (I don't mean this in any negative way) Where consciousness is just allowed to express itself in any way it wishes/desires? I can't find the right words to articulate what I mean, but I see you as an awakened consciousness and I am seeking answers, truth. That is all.
Consciousness already expresses itself as it wishes. I’m not sure if I can say a great deal in response to your question, it seems to be from the “me” that wants to determine how awake it is, how well it is doing or how close it is to complete freedom. What it can’t understand, even if it pretends to understand, is that it itself is a complete illusion, and that the freedom it hears about is when it no longer exists, or when it is seen to be a mere play of energy, rather than an actual self.
All experience passes, so to give an experience as evidence that you are awake would be deceiving.
Indeed, be less interested in the content of your consciousness. This has been said before by different teachers. You already are awake. Consciousness already is, and already is awake. Something arises inside it which feels small, and tries to awaken, or thinks that it is on an awakening process. But this identity is just an appearance, transient content. It is not wrong, it is not something that is to be condemned, but it is an appearance rather than a reality.
What you say sounded good at the end, but it is not personal. It is not like an autonomous individual becomes skilled enough to allow consciousness to express. The sense of being a person is already an expression of consciousness, which is already being allowed by consciousness itself.
Perhaps stop trying so hard? Does that resonate? Give it all back to the universe, you need not dictate or measure any apparent awakening.
Perhaps we are truly awake when there is no longer someone who is interested in whether they are “awake” or not. When the game of trying to be enlightened has ended, and life remains to express as it wishes, as you said. And as you also mentioned, the words about it are trying to convey something wordless, far too simple and easy for the personal mind to understand or convey.
None of this means personality has to be obliterated. Character is still there, as an expression rather than a solid identity.
Give up words. Then notice how awake you already are!