What is 'Enlightenment'?
What is 'Enlightenment'?
May 07, 2003, 04:49 AM
Joined: Jan 22, 2003
Member No.: 9
It's certain that enlightenment means different things to different people, and so I'm curious what it means to other people, and also to throw out a few questions to provoke thought.
Is Enlightenment an experience, process, realization, way of living, or what?
Is Enlightenment a multi-faceted word that is context-dependent and relative, or are there absolute truths that are invariably associated with any type of Enlightenment?
What are the 'truths', if any, that would invariably be realized/experienced thru Enlightenment?
Is Enlightenment an all-or-none experience (AHA experience) or is it a gradual accumulation of wisdom?
What is the relation of Enlightenment to mystical experience?
Please note that the above constitutes a partial list and is not meant to exhaust the range of questions that could, and should, be asked.
Personally, I believe the statement, "We are the Universe conscious of Itself", is on a par with Buddha's "All that we are, is the result of what we have thought" from the opening of the Dhammapada, and that both constitute part of a collection of truths that are invariably experienced during what I think many would call Enlightenment. The task at hand, though, is to clarify this notion of Enlightenment to the best of our abilities thru mere verbal communication. Is anyone up to this challenge?
May 07, 2003, 06:00 AM
Enlightenment is very personal in the sense that it is never about anyone else only you.
The question would be who are you?
The answer inevitably leads to the realization that you are all that.
There may be many ways to approach this, and by surface appearances many languages and methods but in truth they are all the same. You remove the illusions and no matter how it is described the infinite one remains the same. The road to it may look different but if you travel the road the trip is the same trip and "it" the "Goal" or destination never changes, only the many stops that can be misconstrued as the destination. Once one releases the beliefs that bind one to their ideas then the mind expands. I'm not talking about just an experience for experiences are many and they constantly change. You could watch a movie and have an experience of it, watch it again another day and have another experience. So it is not the things around us that are stable and it would be a waste of time to try and stabilize the changing ideas and the world around us. The stability or expansion is into the relationship we have with change and the world and then beyond to the consciousness that has or can have a relationship. Although the Self can have many experiences and appear to evolve, it doesn't, only the awareness of it evolves.
From a reference point of earthbound awareness in the human experience most limit themselves to their personality, beliefs, and experiences that will exist in the inevitable or the popular belief of being born, living your life and then dying.
What drove man/woman to the question of who am I was the spark of inner knowing that it all comes from somewhere and has to have more to it. Mostly this comes from personal revelations in experiencing serendipitous events that can't be explained but are easily cast aside as something that is not of any relevance if it doesn't fit somewhere. Those that have looked further into finding a way to fit the unfittable have found deeper meanings to their worlds and their lives.
The intellect expands and then it goes even further as the intellect runs out of room to contain all its ideas. Then the Self gets bigger than just the idea of the human body and the birth and death process.
This process has been described in as many different ways as can be imagined but they all have the same inward stroke of expansion from limited to the unlimited, or uncontainable, of the awareness of consciousness recognizing Consciousness.
Is it mystic? to some it would be easier to swallow to leave it all to an outside force like magic, that things happen, even miraculous things.
No one can ever convince another of the reality of the absolute infinite unchanging presence that has a zillion names and yet can't be named. It is a personal experience that grows with faith and acceptance of something greater than what one experiences in any given moment. Most sages speak of a surrender to something greater always, in any experience that exists, and it continues to drive or support every action and experience in all things. Realizing that and uniting with that is always subject to ego and its interpretation based on the idea that "I think therefore I am." "I" can be so limited or so expanded but if it is based in separation or duality then there can be no union.
Enlightenment is a name given to the awareness that starts out in limitation and expands into limitless Self. IT can be called anything you want and has. You can talk about it analyze it and also realize it. Talking about it involves very little effort in actualizing it, doing it involves the discipline to create a different paradigm by moving the awareness into something greater and more stable than experience. If you can find it and track it, it will by its nature expand awareness gradually, or very fast depending on how easily you allow each experience along the way to go and be replaced by the next and then inevitably let it all go for the brass ring that has always been there underlying the experiences, the ideas and the process.
Enlightenment is a process, it is a way of living and a name given to something because maybe it sounded good in respect to the minds created ideas in definition.
Like anything else it has an application to the surrounding environment and the laws that support its continuing structure such as living and dying. How that is colored can be chosen but the basic game board seems to be upheld by popular belief and choice to maintain its design. It only takes one to initiate a change. That'd be you.
Enlightenment can happen instantaneously, in a single lifetime or in many lifetimes, there are no rules. Once one aligns with the upward currents of life and creation and realizes their immortal Self there is no more concern, no more investment into the ideas of good or bad. One sits in the infinite peace that passes all understanding and enjoys the bliss or the freedom from the nervous systems reactions to likes and dislikes, fear, hate and suffering.
I really liked Maharishi Mahesh Yogis answer to a young college student at one of his open forums in the late sixties concerning the importance of enlightenment over the suffering conditions of the world. He specifically asked Maharishi if it wouldn't be better to focus on feediing the worlds hungry and changing the conditions that caused suffering. Maharishis' response was that what created the conditions were learned in the minds of the people that created the conditions and beliefs in competition, good and bad. People isolate themselves from each other in their own values of worth and classes. Man will step over man in the competition to establish security in their lives and if it is all taken away then what do they have. Stability comes from within and if a man is hungry and enlightened he will be a "happy" hungry man. A happy stable person is much more focussed and able to create from an open perspective than a suffering man who carries with him the idea of defeat and negativity. If life appears to be non supportive then man would have no reference point in stability but remain a victim to circumstances ever waiting for some outside force to provide the inspiration to create his or her life.
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