Some argue that what separates humans from the rest of the universe is one word:
Consciousness sensing itself is a pretty tricky business and that’s why the majority of us spend our whole lives unconsciously running from sensitivity. We dull our emotions with techniques ranging from addiction to avoidance and effectively separate ourselves from not just our emotions but what it means to be alive.
To experience awakening, there is no need to radically restructure our lives, we only need to train ourselves to feel whole in the present moment instead of the past (worry) or future (anxiety). One way to touch awakening is to meditate, stopping to feel stillness and the union of all the energy in the entire cosmos. In this feeling lies the true meaning of being conscious and when we realize this potential for even one second, we notice life flowing more smoothly, sweetly, and peacefully.
It starts with ONE conscious breath (I actually remember my first) and then we begin to notice the space between our thoughts and then the tiny moments of stillness aggregate into a whole twenty-four hours of consciousness and that is when our truest, highest self has been awakened. It’s not necessary to know how we will get to that point. All that we can do is know the what and the why and Nature will take care of the rest.