Saturday, January 31, 2009

The myth of exclusive enlightenment

There are many myths about enlightenment, and as many myths about what an enlightened person is like.

Look inside. You will find an idea about what an enlightened being is like. He/she must be experiencing life in a particular way. He/she would act only in a particular way, and so on. And then the implicit assumption is that when I start to experience those things and act like that, then I will be enlightened.

Even the most experienced spiritual seeker, who has been exposed to all the myths, still harbors a very subtle and maybe even highly sophisticated idea of what enlightenment is. And this idea comes in the way of knowing what we are. The mind keeps comparing our idea of an enlightened being with our own self, and finds the self wanting.

In a recent satsang, we talked about squiggles in a painting. What somebody said was that if we zoom in on a squiggle inside a painting, it appears meaningless and ordinary, but when we zoom out and see the whole painting, it suddenly acquires meaning and beauty. This is something we can all relate to, right?

A wonderful analogy, but it still does not come close to capturing the essence of this awareness that we are. The squiggle is not beautiful only in its relation to the painting. This would still be to find the beauty outside oneself. Rather, the totality that is the painting, is as much and as fully in the squiggle, as in the painting. When the squiggle recognizes itself to be the same totality as the painting in which it appears, this is the end of the separation of the squiggle from the painting. They may retain their different forms as squiggle and painting, but they are essentially the same totality - like a holograph.

How is this connected to what we started out with?

When we try to put enlightenment and enlightened people into a box with only some specific attributes, we lose the totality. And we miss the point. Enlightenment and unenlightenment co-exist as one. You who think you are unenlightened - you contain both enlightenment and unenlightenment within you. The teacher who you think is enlightened also contains both enlightenment and unenlightenment within himself. The totality excludes nothing, and includes everything.

The difference between you who think you are unenlightened, and the teacher who you think is enlightened, is that the teacher is fully ok with the unenlightenment within. There is no wishing for it to be different than what it is.

The enlightened squiggle :-) loses its identification with its squiggleness, and sees itself as being the totality that contains the squiggle form. Now the squiggle is not the squiggle. Yet it continues to appear as the squiggle. But it would not be true to say that the squiggle is enlightened, because there is nothing that identifies itself as the squiggle anymore. And yet the squiggle form continues. Until it doesn't. But it is only this totality appearing as the squiggle.

Examine your idea of enlightenment. See how it excludes so much. Can enlightenment exclude anything? Can totality exclude anything? So long as you identify with your enlightened self alone or your unenlightened self alone, you miss the totality of you that contains both.

See through the myth of exclusive enlightenment.


opalair said...

I like the analogy of the sea and the wave. This wave tries to see that it is the sea and fails.

Alpesh said...

"Examine your idea of enlightenment. "

Enlightenment is when all ideas disappear.

Aum Sai Ram

Ameeta said...

You say 'This wave tries to see that it is the sea and fails.' Yes this is the sad, frustrating reality for the seeking wave. But its so-called failure can never change its reality, can it? The wave is the sea, is it not? No matter what it believes, that is its truth and nothing can change that. The seeking wave, the non-seeking wave, the enlightened wave - these are all superfluous overlays of thought. Take away the belief in these thoughts and they are all simply waves - beautiful expressions of the sea.

The Doc Mobile Blog said...

You sound like a person who might like our blog. It's called, The Squiggle Sense - 'sixth sense' of the complementary nature.

Here is the URL

"May the squiggle be with you!"