Santa Monica, California, USA
Hi Regina, carrier-of-the-pragmatic-wisdom-of-our-common-lineages-and-stuff:
Re" "I’d like to read something new that really works: The philosophical with the spiritual in character and in story. Sans the mushrooms, peyote, burning bushes, Tibetan quests, etc. Something a little more homegrown with regard to an awakening. Any suggestions anyone?"
Sure. Stop reading for a bit. There is nothing in the (at least) twice-removed- from-the-nature-of-reality of books that lead to an "awakening."
Aside fom the notion that you are already "awakened" and there is nothing to look for, there are a number of practical ways that you can experience "right here, right now" if you take it on as a conscious pursuit.
1. Try rappelling of the side of a cliff. Even (and only!) in the most controlled of environments where you intellectually "know" you are not going to go SPLAT at the bottom, trust me, you will experience the "present."
2. Sky-dive. If that don't bring it all home, I don't know what will.
3. Drive on a congested freeway. That should pretty much provide an awakening to what it means to "Pay Attention!" (That, of course, is a very common experience, just not recognized for what it is.)
Or, in Stephen's epistomology, just remain open to the possibility of an epiphany along tht road to Damascus. This is long term and passive. You can speed it up. (apologies, Stephen)
This may be cross threaded, but don't get excited about the nature of gurus. All the word means is "bringer of light." Guru's is everyplace, though not all of them try to make a living at. You might just find one blocking them grocery aisles.