Getting into the nitty-gritty of enlightenment.
As the 21 Enlightenment Retreats in Madeira event gathers pace, questions about enlightenment are being asked and I find myself wrapping words around the unwordable. Here is a little update on what is coming to light.
Enlightenment. Enlight. Lighten. I’ve said it too many times now, it’s gone weird.
One question that has come up is about the word enlightenment itself. Do we, “enlight” ourselves? Perhaps realisation is a better descriptor, self-realised?
In my experience being enlightened encompasses both aspects of the meaning of lightness.
I light up from the inside – I am enlightened.
Also, I shed a lot of heavy unconsciousness in the instant of becoming enlightened so I became lighter in myself – I am enlightened.
What is more important than the name is the dynamic behind it because in essence, the whole idea of enlightenment revolves around a deep feeling of not being something that another person is.
It is hearing about a way of being and feeling excluded from that way of being. The hearing about enlightenment highlights the perception of separation from it.
Then the, “if onlys,” come in.
If only I could be smarter.
If only I could be more pure.
If only I could be more conscious.
If only I could be more holy.
All of which boil down to, “If only I could be not who I am.”
Climb every mountain
In the scheme of human endeavor, it is wonderful to aspire to great heights. To climb the highest mountain. To swim the deepest sea. To work diligently towards a significant goal, all in the service of discovering what we are capable of.
When we apply the same approach to consciousness it is doomed to failure.
If you want to climb the highest mountain there is a very tangible way for you to know whether you have done it or not.
Behold the mountain.
Behold the top.
You either get to the top or you don’t.
There is no mountain to behold with consciousness. All you have to go on are reports. Maybe someone will tell you they are enlightened or maybe you will read about someone who is enlightened, either way, there is nothing tangible for you to latch onto. There is no mountaintop to behold and without that, you are left to your own devices. This is where the perception of separation is illuminated and the trigger for the quest for enlightenment is sparked.
Tap me on the head, please!!!
Another question that has come up is whether enlightenment happens internally or from an external source – does someone else enlighten you?
“Enlightenment,” gets bandied about like lots of other important words such as love, or God, with the result that the meaning of enlightenment gets a bit frayed around the edges.
Someone can enlighten you as to where the local library is.
People say things in friendly conversation like, “Do tell, enlighten me please,” or, “Can you enlighten us Timmy as to where all the biscuits have gone?”
All of which give the impression that someone outside you, someone like your spiritual teacher, for example, can tap you on the forehead and you will get enlightened.
Do you need someone else to help you get enlightened?
I certainly did. I needed a lot of help. A possie on the horizon and then two people in particular.
The possie was comprised of all the enlightened people I read about, Paramahansa Yogananda, Osho, Krishnamurti, Lao Tzu, Meher Baba, Sathya Sai Baba, Papaji, Buddha, Jesus, Indian Gurus, Zen Masters.
Of the two people in particular, the first was my spiritual master, Barry Long. He made no bones about being enlightened and was direct enough to say that being around him made it easier to get enlightened. So I spent as much time around him as I could, read all his books, listened to his audio recordings, and did my level best to live his teaching.
The second person was Catherine Ingram. It was in her presence I finally did become enlightened.
Did they all help me get enlightened? Yes.
Did I receive enlightenment from them? No.
Other people can bring you to the door but only you can step through.