Thursday, December 1, 2005

What is Enlightenment?

I've had a couple people ask me in a previous post what I thought enlightenment is. Instead of responding under the comments, I'll post this here so everyone can see.

I don't know of a direct response to that question, and no, I'm not even going to look the word up in the dictionary, because I feel that enlightenment is very personal and can't be defined by a dictionary.

I think enlightenment is that which fills the void. It is waking up and touching universal consciousness. It is finally not only realizing, but feeling that I am One with everything. I think that no matter how many friends or relatives I have, there is a loneliness that lies deep within, and only enlightenment can take away that loneliness. The loneliness is there as a calling. Its purpose is to lead me toward enlightenment, and the work that must be done to achieve it. I believe that until that longing is gone, I am unenlightened.

I once believed that enlightenment meant getting answers. I thought that with enlightenment came answers to questions such as "Who am I?", "What is my purpose in this life?", "What will happen to my soul when I die?", and so on. Basicially just receiving answers to the most enigmatic questions of all time.

I also believed that once I became enlightened I'd have special powers. I'd be able to have increased abilities, especially in intuition. I'd become suddenly more knowledgeable, more intelligent, more wise. I would be able to talk and walk with spirit guides in another plane. I'd have visions.

But I now believe - even though I haven't attained it yet - that enlightenment is actually a very simple thing. There are no special powers that come with enlightenment. There are no answers. There is just being One and finally being able to be at rest with that.

So, that is what I think enlightenment is. Now, we all have our own definitions of what enlightenment is, and my perception of enlightenment may be all wrong. But whatever it is, I hope someday I can become enlightened.

Now, I'd like to ask all of you something. What do you think enlightenment is?

70 comments:

~j~ said...

You said

"The loneliness is there as a calling. Its purpose is to lead me toward enlightenment."

Yes indeed!

I would say it's purpose is to lead you toward "the calling of your heart".

What better definition is there to enlightenment than "the calling of my heart"?

____

And then you said:

"I believe that until that longing is gone, I am unenlightened."


Here I must disagree!

That longing is the source of energy that feeds the flame that sheds the light that fills the life that Stacey built.

______

I am very happy to see you relinquish the desire for "special powers" - not because they are impossible, or even wrong.

Any such thing you may develop will be as a natural response to how you live.

Just like you will get more muscular if you use your muscles a lot, you become more intuitive as you use your intuition more.

And as always, "special powers" or no better than "regular powers".

The fantastic and amazing gifts of just being alive to wonder and enjoy and suffer and regret, to touch others and be touched, to glimpse god and tease the devil.

____

The temptation to think that enlightenment will mean the end to all negative feelings is very strong.

And, in fact, enlightenment, can mean just that.

However, the price for that particular brand of enlightenment is very high:

Would you have no sorrow?
Relinquish joy.

Would you have no fear?
Relinquish hope.

Would you have no pain?
Relinquish pleasure.

Would you have no suffering?
Relinqush life.

____


I am happy that you continue to choose life.

_____

You say a very profound thing when you write:

"There are no answers. There is just being One and finally being able to be at rest with that."

Yes! Being able to be at rest. Beautiful!

I would add that, as all things in life, enlightenment is cyclic.

longing
searching
resting

longing
searching
resting

____________

Anyway, thanks once again for the inspiration.

you are a light

Donavon said...

Practical Hippie recently wrote this in her blog:

pay attention
(see the perfection)
radiate Love
(be the perfection)

It just resonates with me and keeps rolling around in my head!

jbmoore said...

Words can not express or describe what enlightenment is. I have felt the peace that passes all understanding, then my mind comes back and I am a simple human being again. Zen Buddhists say, No self, no problem. There is a Zen proverb that states, "Before enlightenment, carrying water and chopping wood. After enlightenment, carrying water and chopping wood." implying that enlightenment is just a change in perception. Possibly the simplest explanation of enlightenment is seeing the world clearly for what it is. An enlightened person is simpler than the most ordinary man or woman because there is no false self to uphold, defend or feed. The latter statement comes from Eckhart Tolle. It is rather simple, but describes much. It explains why the leaders of the day didn't recognize Jesus Christ for who and what he was. Egos follow egos, darkness can only follow darkness. Light recognizes light. The light is not outside you but is in you and of you, your very essence. You are an incarnation of God, but your mind may mask it and tell you otherwise. So, shine your light. That is all you can do anyway.

Bliss beautiful Stacey of the Light,
John

Bob said...

Stacey
I like this post. Especially that Enlightenment is a simple thing.
I hope you get there!

rauf said...

Dear Stacey
Why there is void in the first place ? The void is our own making. Again it is a state of mind like loneliness, or paradise or hell. You are not filling any hole, Life itself is a big hole. Questions will always be asked, even after enlightenment, there is no end to them, new questions will spring up. After filling up the void, it doesn't take much time to create another one. Enlightenment is not the answer. the quest keeps us going, desire keeps us going, curiosity keeps us going, If Enlightenment is the answer, life after that would be very boring.

Paul said...

Stacey, thank you for your response. I do not know what enlightment is but I can identify with what you describe.

It's interesting that some concepts can be described more easily in the negative -- it's not special powers, it's not more knowledge, it's not...! Defining or describing enlightment in the positive may be much more difficult.

Thanks for putting the time and effort into an honest and thoughtful reply.

Chinna said...

i think if you can loose all your hang-ups you will be enlightened. the problem is the harder you try the further it gets.

Bob said...

AARON
On the one hand there is a roller-coaster ride of pleasure and pain, winning and losing, beauty and ugliness etc. and on the other hand there is insight and peace.

The choice is ours.

Red Bark said...

It is a question of existance.

When we have no self awareness we do not exist as sentient beings. We still have bodies and minds, but without self awareness they are like robots and computers.

Sometimes we have the brief experience of feeling "How strange, I am here." This is existance. This state is better, not because it feels better, but because it is something and usually we have nothing.

Unfortunatly I think that these words are inadequate to say what I want to say.

George Breed said...

I have no idea what you guys and guyesses (gals and galers) are talking about.

Castor said...

What is enlightenment?
What is! Enlightenment.

It is peeing when you have to pee.
And shitting when you have to shit.

It is realizing you have thousands of lives. You die in the evening and get reincarnated in the morning. And realizing how lucky you are it is Friday.

It is not letting yourself be intimidated by the little fat baldhead of a boss because he thinks he is the son of God and he is entitled to a bigger slice of the cake at the party.

It is laughing at the German
website designer for laughing at you thinking he has a bigger house and a BMW.

It is laughing with the beautiful
young cleaner telling you go to hell and she'll go to heaven.

It is laughing at yourself because you are so stupid you have to work for a living.

It is being laughed at and you don't mind because they think you said something funny.

It is being crazy but it doesn't matter.

It is being called crazy and you don't know why.

It is being so stupid you don't even know you are enlightened!

Pollux said...

It is having an opinion and not being afraid to express it.

But it is not shoving it down someone else's throat.

It is not apologizing for saying something out of ignorance.

It is not saying: "Don't judge that you may not be judged. You brood of vipers."

It is not composing a letter about love in angelic language and saying: you will all go to hell if you don't believe what I believe.

It is not being cruel to yourself in order to become a world teacher.

It is not letting yourself be intimidated, manipulated, and exploited by anyone who thinks
he is an "ancient soul".

It is not believing in being chosen and being the only way, the truth, and the life.

It is not being afraid to burn in hell if you don't believe in hell.

It is not believing in a heaven that only a few will discover by grace.

It is not believing in enlightenment only the wise will find.

It is not wearing beautiful clothes even innocent children could not see.

It is not knowing what enlightement is but being kind and friendly at least.

It is being childlike but not childish.

It is being self-aware but not self-conscious.

It is what it is. But I don't really know what it is.

~j~ said...

Rob said:
"On the one hand there is a roller-coaster ride of pleasure and pain, winning and losing, beauty and ugliness etc. and on the other hand there is insight and peace"

Why do you believe these to be exclusive?

Is it not possible to possess insight and peace while on the roller coaster?

You seem to be suggesting that insight and peace are somehow better than beauty and ugliness etc.

Why?

I am ever grateful for the rainbow of experience inherent in being alive and question both the desirability and the possibility of a life without duality.

At the same time I wonder how one can know peace without knowing conflict?
How one can know insight without knowing confusion?

The existence and interaction of opposites can be viewed as conflict or dance or illusion - I choose to dance.

What are you choosing?

__________

Returning to the analogy of one hand and the other.

Remember that both hands belong to the same body!

___________

Assuming I understand what is being said, I agree with Beard:

"When we have no self awareness we do not exist as sentient beings. We still have bodies and minds, but without self awareness they are like robots and computers."

Adding further (and perhaps deviating from Beard's intent) it is that self-awareness that provides labels like pleasure and pain, beauty and ugliness, etc.

Destroy those concepts and you destroy the self.

Some call this enlightenment.

I call it suicide, and suicide for anything other than self-defense, is murder.

I cannot believe that self-destruction is the secret to enlightenment. It will make a human into a robotic computer, or worse, kill it.

Can murder be enlightenment?
Can suicide?
Can eliminating the uniqueness that is the self?

__________

I believe that dying is the only way off the roller coaster, and I choose life.

__________
__________

Once again I am heartened to see so many brilliant comments, demonstrating

1) The mosaic of experience this enlightenment thing offers.

2) The willingness to share and learn inherent in this enlightenment thing.

3) That despite minor differences (as in my nit-picking of Rob), a clear undercurrent unites us and provides reassurance, confirmation and clues for our exploration of this enlightenment thing.

Chuck said...

Maybe a simple definition is clear vision. Seeing yourself for no more and no less than what you really are; and, seeing the world in the same light.

Aaron said...

Yeah, what ~j~ said.

Bob said...

J

My choice is to move towards Enlightenment and away from the roller-coaster of dualities.
If you choose differently then I respect your choice. Only you knows what works best for you!
I cannot choose for you nor you for me.
It is my belief that the dualities distract me from finding my true goal.
The dualities have a purpose -but I believe that one gets less caught up in them the more one becomes enlightened. As the old self dies a new self is brought into being.
For further illumination try reading the Bhagavad Gita!
Best wishes, Rob

~j~ said...

Hi Rob,

Needless to say, it goes without saying that we honor and respect each other's choices -
but it is still nice to say anyway.

Thanks for the dance!

For further illumination try reading the Sunday Comics.

______
______


Tip o' the hat to Aaron.

wildpic said...

I am satisfied with the mystery of life's eternity and with a knowledge, a sense, of the marvelous structure of existence as well as the humble attempt to understand even a tiny portion of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.

Albert Einstein 1931

observing nature is ur answer n ur question ...

Bob said...

-j-
Paradoxically the more one frees oneself from the allure of the dualistic world the more one is free to enjoy it.
Thus the enlightened person lives in the world, experiences and enjoys duality yet makes inner peace the priority.

Anonymous said...

You really cannot escape from reality by creating an inner world of peace and tranquility.
That would be creating dualities
consisting of the inner and the outer, the higher and the lower, the worldly and the other other-worldly, the heavenly and the hellish, the sacred and the profane, etc.
If you choose to live in your inner world of beauty, you would be using all your energy trying to
keep the ugly out of your life, which can only lead to endless
conflict with yourself and the world. This will lead to hypocrisy and irritability.
Always judging and condemning the world by your standards and sense of beauty and keeping the ugly out of your life. This leads to conceit, vanity and intolerance.
I can go on and on.
But how do you solve this problem of duality?

Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as enlightenment. In the absolute sense! If there is, then you are absolutely non-existent.
-copyrighted
Please buy cd.

Anonymous said...

What is enlightement? (nX)
Aha! Ha, ha, ha! (LOL)

Zensous said...

Enlightenment is absolutely non-zen-sick-all.
-Zen zaying.

I Am This said...

Such a moot question, don't you think? The word is not the name. How can you define that which you've never experienced? What is the motive in defining? Perhaps this should be the question. What do you hope to discover in the labeling of that which you do not know.

In looking to reach a state which you think you are not already in, you create a space that lies between you and that which you desire to experience. You are here and that which you desire is over there. In this space there is separation. Within this separation conflict and discontent are born within you. And the illusion continues.

Anonymous said...

I am this,
How do you know I haven't experienced it yet?
That's why we are trying to define it in the first place.
To see if any of us has already experienced it.
I wouldn't worry about the motive for the time being. Whether it is egoistic, vain, arrogant, etc., is not the point. I agree with you or anybody that I am selfish, proud, arrogant, and vain. But for the moment let's forget about that. We are not here to judge or condemn each other.
But at least we don't want to be vague and abstract about it.

"In looking to reach a state which you think you are not already in, you create a space that lies between you and that which you desire to experience."

The statement is quite contradictory. Well at least, there is something wrong about it. You cannot keep looking to reach a state you think you are already in. Rather, if you are already in the state, you will inevitably stop looking for it.

Anyway, if you ask me what enlightenment is, I'd say I don't need to be enlightened.
--Nobody

Anonymous said...

I am this,
"In looking to reach a state which you think you are not already in, you create a space that lies between you and that which you desire to experience. You are here and that which you desire is over there. In this space there is separation. Within this separation conflict and discontent are born within you. And the illusion continues."

Are you implying you are enlightenment itself? Well, I'd say that's good definition!

Bob said...

I am this

Our paths have crossed before if I remember correctly. Didn't you tell me your therapist practises K as taught by M?

Bob said...

Anonymous

It seems to me that the key to Enlightenment is SIMPLICITY and not convoluted and hypothetical discussion. LANGUAGE HAS ITS LIMITATIONS -it cannot describe something which is beyond duality; this does not mean that non-duality does not exist.

Anonymous said...

Common, fling all your definitions at me!
What can possibly happen to Mr. Anonymous?

Anonymous said...

Rob,
It's me, Le Clerc, masquerading as onion and garlic seller!
Just a joke.
You have a point there.
What is enlightement?
Eeh-aah!

Anonymous said...

Rob,
What's wrong about having a therapist?
Aren't we all trying to find enlightenment?

Aren't some of us victims of these gurus and teachers selling enlightenment like they are enlightened themselves.
I wouldn't pay a penny to become enlightened.

Bob said...

Anonymous

I never said there was anything wrong with having a therapist!

rauf said...

Dear Stacey
You must be having some ice cream with your cat on your lap. I am getting a cocktail of enlightenment reading all these comments mine included. good discussion, I am enjoying this, wish we all could sit under a tree on a sunny afternoon, sipping some tea and have a discussion, with our cats running around. I posted a comment and deleted, I am sorry, my today's blog is on this subject.
I have to type mkrcji on word verification thing and my eye sight is not very good

I Am This said...

'Are you implying you are enlightenment itself? Well, I'd say that's good definition!'

Yes, thats what my response says. However, I would say WE rather than I.

Did someone say "wrong"? Illusionary thinking, dualistic nature. Conflict, conflict, conflict.

Rob, spiritual counsellor is a student of Maharaji, yes. Teaches 'K'? You mean, a teacher of Kundalini? Absolutely not. You are getting confused with my personal experiences of awakening kundalini (which have no affiliation with my counselor) and that I have a Spiritual Counselor.

So um, whats the point you were making?

I Am This said...

"Aren't we all trying to find enlightenment?"

I hid my copy underneath the Bodhi tree next to the pot of gold.

Anonymous said...

Rob,
Eeh-aah!
Nice try.

Bob said...

I am this

I was just checking that you were the person I contacted some months ago. It is good to hear from you again, that is all!
It seems to be quite a co-incidence to run into you again.
Best wishes, Rob

Anonymous said...

I am this,
I am that!
Nice meeting you!
I think you are a pretty girl.

I Am This said...

"How do you know I haven't experienced it yet?
That's why we are trying to define it in the first place.
To see if any of us has already experienced it."

Would it not be fair to say that the state of enlightenment is timeless? Where does time come from? It is the ego that lives in our yesterdays and tomorrows. The Self, does not. The Self lives in the here and now; this present moment. Yesterday is long gone, it’s dead. It exists only in the mind. Tomorrow, isn’t even here yet and any image you generate of tomorrow is nothing but an illusion.

There is even a post way at the bottom of this blog that states “I am now learning how to live in the Now. Not in the past, not a few minutes ago, not next week or even 50 years from now. Simply Now. Now is all that exists.” Perhaps we should be with a tree to learn the art of present moment living!

So how could one have “been enlightened”? Enlightenment is a state of timelessness. It is free from ego. Enlightenment has no involvement with ego. Thinking you were enlightened one moment but not the next is illusionary and the work of the ego-self.

The moment an admission is made by the ego that time is essential to arrive at enlightenment, we find ourselves trapped in the illusion once again.

The Sutra of the Heart of Transcendent Knowledge says: "There is ... no path, no wisdom, no attainment, and no nonattainment ..."

P.S. Thanks anonymous #0100100010

Blow'n in the wind said...

"What is Enlightenment"...

Knowing that an 'I' can never be enlightened.

Sophia said...

Blow'n,

Where have you been?
You disappeared. :(

-Stacey

Blow'n in the wind said...

Nah...just an illusion :)

I actually very much there with ya...

Sophia said...

Haven't seen or heard from you in quite a while. And you haven't posted anymore pictures on your blog. :(

So, who is this Blow'n person?

Blow'n in the wind said...

(Oops... typo above)

Re photos...I just haven't found one to post.

And as for "who is this Blow'n person" hmmm
I have yet to figure that one out!

Sophia said...

(I make typos all the time... especially tonight for some reason.)

So, who does Blow'n think they are at this minute? Who is Blow'n now? What is their earthly organism like? What type of human experience is the spiritual Blow'n having?

Red Bark said...

Hello Stacey,

That was a good question. It got a lively response. You have a talent for creating a nice forum.

Perhaps you would be a good talk show host.

Sophia said...

Hi Beard (Be Now),

You changed your name!

I know, it did conjure up a lot of comments. I am actually writing a post this very minute about the amount of comments I've been receiving.

I am too shy in my non-internet world to be a talk show host. :)

Red Bark said...

Stacey,

Yes I thought this name would help myself (and possibly others) remember to be self aware every I see it. All of this talk of enlightenment helps too.

I am looking forward to your next post.

btw. I sent you an email at optamystigal etc.

Sophia said...

Be Now,

I need that reminder to "Be Now". Thanks for using it as your name. :)

You mean you sent an email to optamysical@gmail.com?

I haven't checked that one in ages since I started using enlightenedblog@gmail.com.

I'll go check it. :)

Blow'n in the wind said...

Oh Stacey, Stacey, Stacey... :)

We could get sooo lost in a long story about me and whatever I could come up with would be sooo off the mark... and somehow I don't think that response will quite do.

I will say that the "human experiences" :) that this, "earthly organism":) is having, is a shattering of almost every previous belief or understanding I had about the world and reality.

(oh, the typos I referred to were mine, not anything you had written)

Red Bark said...

Stacey,

Thanks for "enlightening" me about your new email address. I will use it in the future.

Sophia said...

(I know you were referring to your typos, I was just trying to make you feel better by saying that I make mistakes, too. In fact, more mistakes than just typos!)

What kind of previous beliefs and ideas about the world did you once have? How have they changed?

I still want to know who your earth being is. We must indulge sometimes. :) Bill, Bob, Bud, Patti, Sandy, Shirley.... you know... a name... kid, teen, adult... piano player, guitar player, card player, book reader.... you know... those kinds of things.

Sophia said...

Be Now,

You're welcome.

Want to hear something kinda eerie?

Just now, I didn't see the words "Be Now". I literally hallucinated and saw "Beard".

Red Bark said...

Stacey,

I would say that was quite observant of you noticed.

Many times we imagine things instead of experiencing(seeing) them, and never realize it. In my humble opinion this is the difference between sleeping and waking.

Sophia said...

Be Now,

I just sent you an email to your succeed account. Check it out.

I am That said...

I am this,
You are my favorite!
Theoretically, what you are saying is correct. All these so-called enlightened people seemed to have said what you just said.
Anyway how infinitesimaly short is your "the now". If you have done some Calculus and Analytic Geometry, the now is almost something like zero. And division by zero is not possible. It would mean an infinitely big reality of a number. You can't even say "I" when you are always in the now, and know who you are.
Thoughts are meaningless in the now. I might as well keep quiet and not say a thing.
However, if you are interested I have some interesting links for you and a free book:

http://whatenlightenment.
blogspot.com

http://www.stripping
thegurus.com

http://www.stripping
thegurus.com/stgzip/
stgsourcecode.zip

By the way, thanks for your telephone number. It might come in handy.

Red Bark said...

Stacey,

The forum sounds like a great idea.

It must be almost daylight there where you are.

Thanks for the company and have a good night. :)

donavon said...

I love it when the intellectuals come on board – fascinating I Am That! Who was that guru on the Mount who said ‘Worthy is the trustful child of faith; he shall sit in the throne of power’? Ah, but I suppose he’s also been stripped and put in that book ...

I am that said...

Donovan,
You may have the last word and laugh last.
But I have no idea who you mean.

donavon said...

i am that, lol :) no intention to confuse, but I’m a treehugger you see (all 6” 210lbs of me). I have excellent communication abilities with animals of all shapes and sizes but have difficulty translating the natural into the human techno babble. My shortfall entirely.

With reference to my last comment: Isn’t the Sermon / Message more important than the Master?

I am That said...

Donovan,
Well, I'm not really sure about that. It might be a good topic for discussion.
Let me think a little bit.
And my answer could be:
If there was no teacher, there would be no teachings.
But I don't really believe in mediumism, if there is some God or Spirit out there who is trying to reach us. If the medium is not living according to the revelation of the Spirit Teacher, then he's probably not a worthy medium. And the Spirit Teacher is therefore not a good Spirit Master.
Well anyway, I encourage you to think for yourself. That there were and are a lot of false teachers out there, doesn't mean you are a false teacher yourself.
Examine yourself. And see if you are one of them. If you are not a teacher yet, I congratulate you.
I am not a teacher myself and don't intend to become one. If I became a teacher, I would be a very bad one and a terrible example for everyone.

I am That said...

Donovan,
On the other hand:
If the teachings comes from the teacher himself but he does not and cannot live according to his teachings then I'd say his teachings is useless. Not worth
anything!
"By their fruits you shall now them."
By the way, I am not the author of the book "Stripping The Gurus.
I prefer to remain anonymous.

I Am This said...

Which came first?

The teacher or the teachings?

;-)

I am That said...

I am this,
Before the teacher the teachings.
Before the teachings the teacher.

The teacher is the teachings;
The teachings is the teacher.

I love you!

Lyman said...

I was just pondering this question this morning. I like the Buddhist idea of seeing things as they truly are... but do I really want that? I want to want it, but I do like my illusions!

Thanks for the great post.

Ann said...

I can offer this, an enlightened being will be recognizable by at least three distinguishing attributes: Joy, Trust, and Knowing.

:)Happy New Year!

Doctor Marco said...

Enlightenment is the result of the unbiased gathering of knowledge. Darkness, blindness are situations associated with lack of information. Anyone can take advantage of someone who is in the dark or who is blind. The one who brings knowledge is the carrier of the light, the one who enables us to see everything.
Take a look at my blog!

PROFESSOR SMILE said...

I agree with you that loneliness vanishes when you/I accept One-ness with all. Perhaps that is enlightenment, realisation of one-ness?
With hindsight at age 54 I'd be inclined to say that enlightenment is a process or series of experiences rather than a once and forever magical "solution to everything". That is why it is possible to see a person go through stages where they seem to demonstrate and experience supernormal "abilities" then they run into "low spells" like the rest of us. I enjoyed my magic when I had it and hope it will return to me soon with the next enlightenment!
Anyway, blog on and enjoy the journey rather than put all your hopes in some "destination".

Franklin said...

Very good thoughts. You are much wiser and mature than you may know. Or maybe you do know.

You are already enlightened. It is not a destination or attainment one reaches.

It is spiritual growing.

I do believe an enlightened person will gain answers and powers. However, these things will not be looked upon as such. The reason being is that when they are attained they will be part of you and be normal for you at this point of enlightenment.

http://svision.blogspot.com/

Moonpie said...

Hi Stacey,
I like your blog. I'm familiar with the feeling of needing to learn more about spiritual matters maybe it's something about being 27! It's nice of you to share your experiences.
On 'Enlightenment' I would like to agree with Franklin above that it is not a destination, I feel it is more the journey, it's the actual action of being in motion rather than the result. Enlightenment happens each time you discover a new piece of information or see a painting or hear music that resonates deeply within your psyche. Recognizing these occurances using intuition leads you a little further along the path but it's the keeping moving, the keeping an open mind, listening to the inner voice that's the important part.This is my opinion anyway.
Wow you have so many comments!