Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Who is enlightened? - Part 1

Who is enlightened?

Ask this question to a seeker and he will point to the masters and teachers - someone other than himself.

What if we change the question slightly:

What is enlightened?

We are so accustomed to viewing enlightenment as the preserve of certain fortunate individuals, that asking what, instead of who, is enlightened, can put us in a bit of a quandary perhaps. :-) Let's throw another spanner in the works, and qualify the question further:

What is already enlightened?

This question now raises a prior question:

What do we mean by enlightened?

Enlightenment has been defined in several ways, and since I am concerned with enlightenment lived rather than enlightenment theorized, I am partial to the definition given by spiritual teacher and Jesuit priest, Anthony de Mello.

I believe he defined it thus:

Enlightenment is absolute co-operation with the inevitable.

Byron Katie says something similar - she invites us to drop the argument with reality.

Imagine your life lived in co-operation with reality, exactly as it occurs. What would it look like? What would it take to live so?

Is it possible to live in absolute co-operation with reality and still be 'unenlightened'?

Now with this definition of enlightenment, let's return to our question:

What is already enlightened?

In other words, what is already in absolute coperation with the inevitable? What simply does not argue with reality?

Look deeply within, and see what you discover. Sit with the question, as though only the question matters and not the answer. Don't settle for any pat answers. Let the answer reveal itself via the experience of holding the question with sincerity.

Feel free to share what you find with other readers on this blog.

I will return to this topic next week with Part 2.


Ron Marson said...

Reality must already be enlightened because Reality fully cooperates with Itself. How could it not? Surely nothing stands outside of Reality....

Yet when I'm feeling separated and unenlightened, I DO feel that I am standing somehow apart. Or I may project my feelings onto 'other' and blame the devil for standing apart. How ridiculous! How could I or the devil ever stand outside of Reality? So I must be enlightened, and the devil too! And these difficult feelings that I must become something other than I am must also be enlightenment. Every apparent 'part' of ONE cannot be other than ONE.

Ameeta said...

Thanks for your post Ron. As usual, you touch my heart.

Sorry to reply late but I wanted to wait until I posted Part 2.

When we feel separate and unenlightened, it is the enlightened awareness experimenting with feeling separate and unenlightened.

When we are the unlimited everpresent, silent awareness, we are free to experiment with being limited, temporary, and argumentative body-minds. :-)

It feels restricted only when we see the restriction from the restriction. But see the restriction from the vastness of who you are, and all restriction shows itself to be only a shape and a play of awareness.

How to see the restriction from the vastness? Simply observe the whole truth of your experience. Yes it is true that you are feeling separate and unenlightened. And yet, is that the whole truth? What else is here? Notice the everpresent silent awarness in the background. Is this not your experience also? Mind tends to skip that part of experience. But we need not. We can see this background to everything. And we can see that we are that.


Chris said...

"When we feel separate and unenlightened, it is the enlightened awareness experimenting with feeling separate and unenlightened."

Ameeta, I love the way you put that! Sometimes the I who I take myself to be just wants that hiding game to stop :-) I'm guessing there must be a higher reason for this playing at being separate?

There is some difficuly here at seeing that this awareness is what I truly am...

Many thanks

Ameeta said...

That's ok. If there is difficulty at seeing yourself as the awareness, see the difficulty. What sees the difficulty?

You see you can't avoid it. Whatever you do and whatever you say, the you who is doing it is aware of the doing and the saying.

The mind simply raises objections to knowing yourself as the awareness because that is its job -to preserve the separation. Look beyond mind's objections. Who is looking? What registers mind's objections?

There is no escaping this awareness that we are. Even despite the strongest objections. Something registers the objections.

You are the awareness. Even when you don't 'know' it. Drop the need to know - go directly to being that which you are.