Why Enlightenment is Hard

A place for anything that doesn't fit into the existing forums
Post Reply
User avatar
Sighclone
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6382
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:22 pm

Why Enlightenment is Hard

Post by Sighclone » Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:22 am

Enlightenment is not about adding things…it’s about the subtracting of things. Things that everybody thinks are important, like self-image and identity. These are not things we want to throw away. Particularly since they have been our anchor to society and “the real world” our whole life. Adya’s CD set “The End of Your World” suggests the magnitude of the change that happens.

And so it’s a little scary. To add confusion, is the fact that the subtracting is not something we do actively. We don’t say “OK…now I’m going to subtract all my anger at my mom.” Or “I’m done with all this frantic grind on the treadmill.” Rather those fixations drop away, or become less important as our perspective changes. One day we wake up and say, “Wow, I sure feel lighter…I’m definitely not so obsessed with {whatever}.”

But the abiding sense of unity isn’t fully realized yet, so we are dislocated. Disoriented from “who we used to be” and not yet centered (or completely uncentered) in Self. Then there is the little island along the way called “the witness.” It’s a point of refuge, and there can be great bliss and relief there. Moreover, even as we “move past” it, it can be a “base camp” to return to. But it’s kinda dry, as Adya says. Fortunately, however, the eternal witness is a way station to another experience which is actually very alive.

Next time you rest in the “witness void,” see if you are aware of another kind of energy present. Some have called it a “higher vibrational state.” I don’t agree or disagree with that. My first experience of that was kind of shocking, actually. I was sitting on our patio looking at a dormant tree in winter…just witnessing everything. My sense of self had disappeared. Then the tree just seemed to burst with energy. I was not a hallucination or anything, just the “suchness” of its reality burst out on me. It was very exciting in a way only us nondualists can babble about. It stayed for a few seconds…basically as long as it took for a thought to surface and replace it. And in that moment, I realized it was not the first time I’d had that experience, but it was the first time it entered purely through the witness state. Pretty cool.

During dislocation it’s important to own your progress. Now that might sound egoic – such as “the enlightened ego builds its empire.” Actually what I am saying is that there is a kind of innocent self-love that is important here. You already know that your life has changed forever. You will never be deluded by the structures and content of ego when you are aware of them arising (and yes they can still sneak around a corner now and then.) Just because you are in a period of transition and uncomfortable is no reason to despair. The cup which was full of confusion and misdirection is half empty. That’s a good thing. And it emptied itself.

If you find yourself kind of repeating old behaviors, just let it be. Until you are more spontaneous and comfortable acting from Source, the old habits are all you have. Forgive yourself for being human, and understand that your particular process will not likely be like Eckhart’s or Jac O’Keeffe’s, but much more like Adya’s.

Eckhart is about the finished product and why it’s real and true. Adya is more about the process. This is reasonable, since Adya took 15 years and Eckhart blasted through in one evening (taking several more years to get a context for his shift.) Adya keeps talking about the steps, the distractions, and “after awakening.” So in a way, he’s a better guide for those of us bouncing down the hall of mirrors. Eckhart holds the light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s scary and hard, yes, but inexorable, gratifying, spectacular in a sublime way, powerfully comfortable and liberating when it’s over. All that’s really left is Big Love. And then you get to be yourself, too. But “yourself” (your “little me” self) is the residual personality you’ve always had, with the rough edges mitigated by Presence.

The ten bulls of Zen
1. In Search of the Bull (aimless searching, only the sound of cicadas)
2. Discovery of the Footprints (a path to follow)
3. Perceiving the Bull (but only its rear, not its head)
4. Catching the Bull (a great struggle, the bull repeatedly escapes, discipline required)
5. Taming the Bull (less straying, less discipline, bull becomes gentle and obeyant)
6. Riding the Bull Home (great joy)
7. The Bull Transcended (once home, the bull is forgotten, discipline's whip is idle; stillness)
8. Both Bull and Self Transcended (all forgotten and empty)
9. Reaching the Source (unconcerned with or without; the sound of cicadas)
10. Return to Society (crowded marketplace; spreading enlightenment by mingling with humankind)

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

18andlife
Posts: 392
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:40 pm

Re: Why Enlightenment is Hard

Post by 18andlife » Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:13 am

Wow, that was a good one andy! :!:

Plorel
Posts: 254
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2008 1:59 pm

Re: Why Enlightenment is Hard

Post by Plorel » Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:52 am

I liked this immensely and could certainly relate to it.
Thank you, Andy, for your encouraging, loving and deeply thoughtful contributions to this forum over the years!
Who am I without my story?

User avatar
Sighclone
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6382
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:22 pm

Re: Why Enlightenment is Hard

Post by Sighclone » Fri Mar 26, 2010 6:01 pm

You're welcome, plorel, and your contributions are always a pleasure.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

Quinn
Posts: 408
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:52 am

Re: Why Enlightenment is Hard

Post by Quinn » Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:58 pm

Thank you, Andy. That was a great read and something I needed to hear right now.

What do you think about being in the process of #4 - catching the bull, when, since we're not in the ashram, we are pressed to be at #10 - return to society? I've heard a lot of people comment on not wanting to go out, go to work, be with friends, etc. I often feel that way, although it's getting a little easier.

I guess what I'm asking is how to keep the discipline (and desire) in the early stages when we're still dealing with family, world concerns, work, etc.

runstrails
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2216
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:33 am

Re: Why Enlightenment is Hard

Post by runstrails » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:09 am

Quinn wrote: "I guess what I'm asking is how to keep the discipline (and desire) in the early stages when we're still dealing with family, world concerns, work, etc."
This is a great question that a lot of us are struggling with. I'd love to hear more opinions on this.
It's interesting that discipline is mentioned in #4. Perhaps that is the key--to be disciplined with respect to some practice that allows you to put your attention on presence regularly (i.e., meditation, spending time in nature etc..). I understand that its effortless, but its still important to make the effort to be the witness (or whatever pointer) while the awakening is in its early stages.

Thank you Andy, for a wonderful essay. This really helped me.

User avatar
Webwanderer
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6821
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 12:03 am

Re: Why Enlightenment is Hard

Post by Webwanderer » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:39 am

Well done Andy. A thoroughly enjoyable read. To bad we don't have and emoticon for an applause. Well, just pretend like we do and that I just gave you a double. :D

WW

Ralph
Posts: 596
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 12:08 am

Re: Why Enlightenment is Hard

Post by Ralph » Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:23 am

Well said, Andy, I do enjoy reading your posts.

In my case, the teachers you mentioned such as Eckhart Tolle, Adyashanti, Jac O'keefe, and Tim Freke all played a big role in my search of my true nature. I've been at this game for quite some time (many years) and it now appears that I've reached the point of 'there is nothing else to do, search, or get'. To continue searching just kept me in the game of looking for some satisfactory answer for the 'false self' that I believed I was. So what to do now ? Well, in my case, it was just to stop (put the brakes on) and when I did that it was all over. I woke up !

.... and now enlightnment is not hard anymore, it's who/what I am.

Wings
Posts: 142
Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 8:50 pm

Re: Why Enlightenment is Hard

Post by Wings » Sat Mar 27, 2010 7:36 pm

Andy Wrote:
And so it’s a little scary. To add confusion, is the fact that the subtracting is not something we do actively. We don’t say “OK…now I’m going to subtract all my anger at my mom.” Or “I’m done with all this frantic grind on the treadmill.” Rather those fixations drop away, or become less important as our perspective changes. One day we wake up and say, “Wow, I sure feel lighter…I’m definitely not so obsessed with {whatever}.”

Hi Andy,

I’ve been gone for awhile, not visited this forum for a bit but in opening your take and personal explanations it touched sensibilities with pleasant reminders of how changing perspectives can lighten up the load and yes, add more skip to your step in life.

I enjoyed this reminder which tells of the inner motions one goes through to stay immersed in a sense of well being while not going about life analyzing and having to be accountable every step of the way and recognizing it as a part of being conscious. It was when I finally gave up the intensity of this quest, this warehouse of accumulated baggage, then and only then did this release, this letting go of all my aspirations did that indescribable let me live as who I really am and who I've always been, yes, just me! My life is just so much more relaxed with the kind of pleasant flow which releases an easier playfulness with myself and others. I hum and sing to myself more often and enjoy smiling at others, especially when a smile is returned with a genuine sparkle in one’s eyes.

I do catch myself from time to time witnessing in an effort to connect with that which reminds me of the negative energy pulling and trying to draw me into something unpleasant and unneeded. It cycles through me every now and then but on a conscious level which surfaces is a reminder that yes, this is the same old worn out yarn gone through so many, many times and hey, just let it go, it will vaporize into the nothing from whence it came. Freedom to move within and without is the smooth lubrication appreciated, cared for and well needed.

Good post Andy, enjoyed the way it was said!


In addition: Ralph Wrote:
To continue searching just kept me in the game of looking for some satisfactory answer for the 'false self' that I believed I was. So what to do now? Well, in my case, it was just to stop (put the brakes on) and when I did that it was all over. I woke up!

.... and now enlightenment is not hard anymore, it's who/what I am.
Thank you Ralph, well understood !

User avatar
Sighclone
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6382
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:22 pm

Re: Why Enlightenment is Hard

Post by Sighclone » Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:04 pm

this is the same old worn out yarn gone through so many, many times and hey, just let it go, it will vaporize into the nothing from whence it came.
What a fine expression of dealing with old tapes, scripts and stories, thanks, Wings.

Nothing is lost. The old junk is still there -- we just recognize it surfacing, maybe when we are tired. Happens to me, too. I just shake my head. Maybe if I've said something from that place, an apology is needed..."Hey Fred...remember yesterday when I said {whatever} -- I'm sorry...I was tired, that was old crap coming from some stupid sad place in me -- it was {cruel, false, a lie, whatever} ..sorry again."

And let the whole thing go. Remember the parable of the two Zen monks who arrived at a mud bog in the forest where a young woman stood. One of them picked her up and carried her across and set her down. She said thanks. The monks continued on. A few hours later the monk who did not pick up the young woman said: "How could you do that? We are sworn to never touch women!!" The helpful monk turned to his friend and said: "I left that girl behind us hours ago, but you are still carrying her."

* * * * * * * *

Re step 4 - discipline

Much has been written about this parable. My take is that the bull is the mind, and that it is tamed by awareness - the discipline is to remain aware of it until that attentiveness (watching the mousehole) is not needed. The bull rides you until you ride it. Only then, after taming the bull, in the parable, is Source even mentioned.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

Post Reply