Awakening experiences are powerful and transcendent experiences that profoundly affect the individual. There appears to be an essential core experience of oneness. It is experienced as a completely subjective phenomenon where awareness contains reality and the notions of an external reality and a separate self are perceived as delusions. A model is presented of awakening experiences that postulates 3 layers of processing, sensory, perceptual, and cognitive, that separate external energy from awareness. The model hypothesizes that awakening experiences results from the progressive removal of the cognitive, perceptual, and sensory layers of information processing. This to some extent returns awareness to a primal state that was present before the development of neural information processing. The model simplifies, summarizes, and explains awakening experiences and is consistent with neural system activity observed during contemplative practice, transcendent states, and hallucinatory drug use and with the effects of changes in the neural systems on experiences.