On "Enlightenment"

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Craig
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On "Enlightenment"

Post by Craig » Wed May 07, 2008 6:17 am

One of my coworkers where I work is very self-conscious and concerned about what other people will think about her. This isn't a matter of vanity; it's more that she frequently apologizes when no apology is necessary, she feels insecure, and she wants to please other people. It's not so much that she's conciously concerned about what people think about her, but rather something that can be implied from her behaviour. I can sympathize because not so very long ago I used to be the same.

Anyway, we were talking about it today, and I told her "You need to learn to not care what other people think. I don't mean this as the sort of 'not caring' when you say 'I don't care'. When we say 'I don't care', it's usually because we do care." (Eckhart talks about this). I told her that rather, it would help her to be at the state where she genuinely doesn't care; that is, so it's not a matter of needing to say "I don't care" or not saying it, because events generally just don't faze you. As an aside to the forum readers, this gets into the idea of absolute non-reactivity, where you don't react because you simply don't. I proceeded to tell her "Your challenge is to get to the point where you don't really care about what others think of you without actually doing anything."

It struck me as I thought on it afterwards that what I described is a lot like "enlightenment". Enlightenment is not something we can "get" by doing anything. Pretty much all of us try in one way or another to reach it. We practice being present, despite the fact that people like Adyashanti remind us that "we are not our spiritual experiences". We try observing our responses, actions, thoughts, and so forth so we can disidentify with the ego. We may meditate to still our minds. I discovered recently that I was, in a sense, trying to "understand my ego out of existence" (which is a bit bizarre when you think about it- as well as indicating a misunderstanding about ego after "enlightenment"- but when you're not conscious of something, you'd be surprised what you can get pulled into). Yet none of this really works because we already are "it" already. There is nothing for us to practice, nothing to achieve, nothing to do. Maybe the best way of expressing it is that it just sorta happens.

As I mentioned, like my coworker, I used to be quite self conscious about how others perceived me, although I was not aware of it. It was something I wanted to change, and yet it wasn't something where I went out to read about it, or to learn practices to become less self conscious, or anything like that. And, oddly enough, it seemed to organically develop on its own for me, without me doing anything deliberately to try to aid the process. Of course, you never get to a state where you simply don't care whatsoever what people think about you. But these days, there's a lot of things that simply don't faze me because I don't notice them anymore- they're not part of my anxious or concerned mind the way they once were.

Maybe the whole problem with enlightenment seeking is that we're trying to do when there's nothing to do. We're trying to control when we're not in control. We read that we're already enlightened and we just haven't realized it, and yet for some reason, that realization still eludes us. Maybe, enlightenment is one of those things that "just sorta happens". And maybe, the fact that we don't know when enlightenment happens points to a deep truth: that enlightenment itself is not about knowing, but rather about not knowing.
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kiki
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Re: On "Enlightenment"

Post by kiki » Wed May 07, 2008 7:33 pm

Maybe the whole problem with enlightenment seeking is that we're trying to do when there's nothing to do. We're trying to control when we're not in control. We read that we're already enlightened and we just haven't realized it, and yet for some reason, that realization still eludes us. Maybe, enlightenment is one of those things that "just sorta happens". And maybe, the fact that we don't know when enlightenment happens points to a deep truth: that enlightenment itself is not about knowing, but rather about not knowing.
Well said. I sometimes tell people to observe in order to see all those ways in which "doing" occurs. Then investigate the one who "does" anything - is it real or only imagined? See what happens when there is no longer an automatic return to "doing mode".
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
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Re: On "Enlightenment"

Post by Sighclone » Thu May 08, 2008 7:49 am

Craig -

I love little snippets of thought which crystallize dilemmas, such as
"understand my ego out of existence"
That is so wonderfully impossible!!

Thanks,

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

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Re: On "Enlightenment"

Post by HermitLoon » Sat May 10, 2008 1:24 am

I sense "Enlightenment" - "World Peace" "A New Earth" - can only be when there is the universal awareness of "Essence" - our "Being" beyond the Human Experience - the awareness of the indescribable "I" that was never born nor will ever die.

Due to the historic influence of what Tolle calls "The Collective Egoic Dysfunction - The Collective Insanity" (us vs. them, greed, war, etc.) it may take a while - perhaps a major catastrophe? - 2012?....and maybe the infinite potential of all possibilities will kick in? Does it realy matter?
I don't know.

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Re: On "Enlightenment"

Post by Sighclone » Sat May 10, 2008 6:24 am

Welcome to the forum, hermitloon. We hope you enjoy our struggle to use words to express experiences for which there are no words. Although Eckhart discounts the value of hope, I rather hope that a catastrophe is not required, but a gradual growth in global consciousness. Que sera, sera.

Namaste, 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

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Re: On "Enlightenment"

Post by HermitLoon » Sat May 10, 2008 2:50 pm

Thank You!

Namaste
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