Wow, enlightenment is everything and nothing. It is what it means to us but is also universal. It is like a knowing that cannot be easily defined. How do we find it? Lots of ways and in no way. We can seek it but it comes when it is ready to come. It cannot be taught or, in my opinion, even really practiced. It is my contention that we are all born into a paradigm of thinking and we all ascribe to it. Maybe not exactly the same way. Maybe our differences with one another seem huge–but they are in the grand scheme of things–really very small. We don’t realize for the most part that we are born into a belief system that is all-encompassing. I don’t mean just a religion or a work ethic or a way of relating. It’s like the whole level of conscience places us in a box and we don’t know there is life outside this box because all we have ever known is this box. There is no view outside the box either because there is no way to view beyond the box. More importantly–there is no view that there even IS a box. Why? Because it is a given and it is all we know.
But what happens? What changes it? It seems just as much an enigma that it happens as how it happens and when it happens. I have always been a bit intrigued by this idea or state of enlightenment. It seems esoteric. It seems romantic. It seems elitist. It seems damn hard to get there and out of the grasp of most of us. But that too is a wrongheaded paradigm that we can‘t see until we see! It almost seems like we cannot see the bigger picture until we see the smaller picture and the smaller picture won‘t come into focus until we see the bigger picture. Well–that is an enigma I guess.
Wrap that up with the issue of timing. We can read about enlightenment, practice achieving it, and desire it BUT it comes when it comes. An event, an insight, or maybe it is a built-in moment into our DNA or our life‘s path. Somehow we hit a point or event in our lives and the fog clears. Not from any specific effort we make–but almost like it is revealed unto us. Not that we may not be struggling and suffering–but that alone will not yield enlightenment in my opinion and experience.
It comes. It comes slowly or it comes as a flash. We can’t stay the same after that. We are changed forever. We not only see the box and tear it down–but we don’t care about the box anymore and we don’t analyze that box. We simply see it for what it was and then there is no time to ruminate about the box because now things are limitless. You are what is, what was, and what will always be. Boundary less. Unencumbered by what this world holds because the box no longer detains your mind or your being.
For me, it came as an almost simultaneous knowing of my own little ecosystem and then the dynamics of the entire ‘everythingness’. I felt, in that moment, as if a camera had elucidated MY life circumstance but just as quickly as it was elucidated–it was as if the camera had been quickly panning out in an infinite zoom that characterized that ‘everythingness’. A connectedness without beginning or end. Seamless. ‘Compartmentalless’. No division but simply oneness.
That is both awesome and frightening at first. Because to some degree–that box provides us some extreme false sense of security and control. We see ourselves as master of our own domain and creator of our lives. We see the world the way we have been programmed since forever. What we should do, think, become. How we should act and what we should achieve and get and buy and do and own and use up. We possess, in our own minds, that we are somehow separate from it all.
But enlightenment changes all of that. It shifts us into THE paradigm or the lack of paradigm. Later, as we acclimate our beings to the facts that we are souls with bodies and not bodies with souls–we find comfort in what initially caused anxiety. We find security where we initially felt fear and vulnerability. We realize that this knowledge makes us invulnerable. We are connected. We are part of something so large and amazing that it is limitless and it is not able to be characterized. It isn’t necessarily fun because it is a shattering of all that was held to be true and to be real from our beginning. It is an understanding that what many think and hold to be true–is simply not true.
Once you find your enlightenment–the enlightenment–you can never be that person you once were. Everything has changed and nothing has changed because it was there all along. But now YOU know. You can’t look at your self, the world, your relationships, and your future the same way ever again. It is like the bell not being able to be “unrung”. You can’t put the genie back into the bottle. You can’t “unsee” something. So you transform into a new being and you grow to understand how that flash of knowing that you achieved will fit into your remaining physical life. You just know.
It is then that you realize that enlightenment isn’t making ourselves better or understanding some unknowable truth–it is about seeing THE truth. About the view of what just is. It makes life sort of interesting because–at least for me–those who are enlightened stand out now. They possess a different dimension to themselves. THEY don’t project it–it simply IS projected. Like you know they know and they know you know. Those whose journey hasn’t yet brought them there are oblivious and now it is as if you can see them–those unenlightened–as beings struggling just as you did. You don’t judge anymore. You just are and you let them just be.
You gravitate towards those who have passed that threshold. You know you are bonded to every single thing that exists. They know they are too–bonded to everything. There is comfort in that knowing. But in the whole picture, I am still getting use to my ‘knowing’. It still has the capacity to frighten me. It still has the capacity to make me feel as if I am in a free fall. It strips away any illusions and beliefs and lets you see the truth. While they say the truth sets you free–I think the truth has implications that we simply cannot fully grasp in this state of being. Our transformation from this existence into the next, I believe, will reveal what cannot be revealed fully here. And I am o.k. with that.