Some say awakening occurs immediately as we let go of the illusion of separateness; others say it takes a lot of preparation to reach that point. Which is it?
However it happens, it's no doubt like a lightning flash, a total surprise to ego-mind's usual state. Maybe this follows years or lifetimes of practices, maybe suddenly bestowed on someone full of hidden merits and good fortune; either way a gift of grace.
What about those who feel an inward call to awaken but are lacking in follow-through?
I think most of us are in that boat. The urge to awaken is felt, but the grip of ego-mind's sleep state is stronger. Hypnotized, we lack the juice to do anything about it, to incorporate it, to maintain this contact. We lack a center of being to connect the dots of daily life with this inner connection.
Sounds like we're not up to the challenge; spiritually challenged you might say.
A first step might be seeing that who we think we are is never up to the challenge. If we start to realize our own actual nothingness as separate selves, we have a chance to shift gears to a deeper part of our being.
A very tall order for a first step. Any other options?
Cultivating a sense of humor, a feeling of gratitude for life and a readiness to explore without undue stress and strain.