Monday, December 5, 2011

What is Enlightenment ?

What is Enlightenment ?
There is no answer to this.
It means different things to different people.
Certainly for those who have passed through the 'gateless gate' it is obvious how contaminated the word is.
If we look at a thesaurus, then the first three word that come up are insight, understanding & awareness.

Insight, understanding and awareness of what ?
This is much easier to answer.
Insight, awareness that the I or Me is an illusion. (Deleted understanding as that is only intellectual.)
To see is not to realise (make real), but seeing can precede realisation. 
Blind identification with an I/me is definitely UNenlightened. 
Re-cognising that the concept of an I/me has a limited, but useful role to play in interacting with a world full of people who do have blind identification with an I/me, is enlightened behaviour.
If you are naturally left handed, but teachers and parents from a very young age always insisted that you use the right hand for all single handed tasks, you would grow up thinking that right handed-ness was natural for you and you would even have trouble writing with your left hand. 
It had been a conditioning that you took as normal. 
This is the case for the unenlightened. It is a conditioning that is taken as normal.
How does one learn to use their left hand again?
The first thing is to believe that it can be done. The next thing is to practise it. 
This seems like work or discipline is required and if that is true then that is where the analogy must end.
In the case of the conditioning of thoughts to identify with an I/me, once it is seen that it is just conditioning then identification only occurs when buttons are pushed, when emotional responses are evoked then the old conditioning reasserts itself. This is usually for less time and with less intensity and fades with practice. In this case practising comes naturally most of the time and requires no discipline.
So what is a usual attitude of one who doesn't blindly identify with an I/me ?
This might be best answered by describing a thought process of one who does blindly identify.
When I believe that I own My thoughts, then I am responsible for them. That also means I must judge each thought according to a moral code (that They conditioned into My brain) As my behaviour is seen as a response to My thoughts, everything I do is also judged by that moral code. This means that every waking moment, I am being good or bad (or somewhere in between) and having an emotional response to that. How exhausting !
What an incredible release from all that, to wake up to the illusion of an I/me. 
To react to 'what is' without all that emotional baggage allows an incredible amount of energy to be freed.
There is an easy, relaxed willingness to 'go with the flow'
There is a chuckle that bubbles up with each recognition of how it used to be, of how stress used to greet this situation. Everything from a red traffic light to a queue at the supermarket, or the wife interrupting your blog writing to do some chore.
Further to this is an appreciation of everything from the shape of a tree or the colour of the grass to the human-ness of somebody upset with somebody or something. (even yourself) 
Don't quite know from where this emanates, possible a result of the extra energy available.
Ok, have run out of energy for all these words. Going to shower & bed now. May continue at another time. Probably will...