The word enlightenment conjures up the idea of some superhuman accomplishment, and the ego likes to keep it that way, but it is simply your natural state of felt oneness with Being.
What is an Enlightenment
It is a state of connectedness with something immeasurable and indestructible, something that, almost paradoxically, is essentially you and yet is much greater than you.
You then perceive yourself, consciously or unconsciously, as an isolated fragment. Fear arises, and conflict within and without becomes the norm.
The Buddha’s simple definition of enlightenment as “the end of suffering”. There is nothing superhuman in that, is there? Of course, as a definition, it is incomplete.
It only tells you that enlightenment is not: no suffering. But what’s left when there is no more suffering? The Buddha is silent on that, and his silence implies that you’ll have to find out for yourself.
He uses a negative definition so that the mind cannot make it into something to believe in or into a superhuman accomplishment, a goal that is impossible for you to attain. Despite this precaution, the majority of Buddhists still believe that enlightenment is for the Buddha, not for them, at least not in this lifetime.
What is mean by Being
Being is the eternal, ever-present One Life beyond the myriad forms of life that are subject to birth and death. However, Being is not only beyond but also deep within every form as its innermost invisible and indestructible essence.
This means that it is accessible to you now as your own deepest self, your true nature. But don’t seek to grasp it with your mind. Don’t try to understand it. You can know it only when the mind is still.
When you are present, when your attention is fully and intensely in the Now, Being can be felt, but it can never be understood mentally. To regain awareness of Being and to abide in that state of “feeling-realization” is enlightenment.
The Greatest Obstacle to experience this Reality
Identification with your mind, which causes thought to become compulsive. Not to be able to stop thinking is a dreadful affliction, but we don’t realize this because almost everybody is suffering from it, so it is considered normal.
This incessant mental noise prevents you from finding that realm of inner stillness that is inseparable from Being. It also creates a false mind-made self that casts a shadow of fear and suffering.
He had, in fact, given expression to the most basic error: to equate thinking with Being and identity with thinking. The compulsive thinker, which means almost everyone, lives in a state of apparent separateness, in an insanely complex world of continuous problems and conflict, a world that reflects the ever-increasing fragmentation of the mind.
Enlightenment is a state of wholeness, of being “at one” and therefore at peace. At one with life in its manifested aspect, the world, as well as with your deepest self and life unmanifested – at one with Being.
Enlightenment is not only the end of suffering and of continuous conflict within and without, but also the end of the dreadful enslavement to incessant thinking. What an incredible liberation this is!
Identification with your mind creates an opaque screen of concepts, labels, images, words, judgments, and definitions that blocks all true relationship.
It comes between you and yourself, between you and your fellow man and woman, between you and nature, between you and God. It is this screen of thought that creates the illusion of separateness, the illusion that there is you and a totally separate “other.”
You then forget the essential fact that, underneath the level of physical appearances and separate forms, you are one with all that is. By “forget,” mean that you can no longer feel this oneness as self-evident reality.
You may believe it to be true, but you no longer know it to be true. A belief may be comforting. Only through your own experience, however, does it become liberating.
A Slave to the Mind
Thinking has become a disease. Disease happens when things get out of balance. For example, there is nothing wrong with cells dividing and multiplying in the body, but when this process continues in disregard of the total organism, cells proliferate and we have disease.
To put it more accurately, it is not so much that you use your mind wrongly – you usually don’t use it at all. It uses you. This is the disease.
You believe that you are your mind. This is the delusion. The instrument has taken you over. The mind is using you. You are unconsciously identified with it, so you don’t even know that you are its slave.
It’s almost as if you were possessed without knowing it, and so you take the possessing entity to be yourself. The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not the possessing entity – the thinker.
Knowing this enables you to observe the entity. The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated. You then begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence.
You also realize that all the things that truly matter – beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace – arise from beyond the mind. And you begin to awaken.
If possible, put into practice what he has taught in your daily life in order to experience it yourself. I will share more in my next blog post. Keep connected!
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