Are You Enlightened?

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enigma
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Re: Are You Enlightened?

Post by enigma » Fri May 06, 2011 8:15 am

Sighclone wrote:Thanks, enigma, for the fine writing in the long post above! The metaphor of the gap/no gap was poignant.
I'm just suggesting you can put down the knife.
Have you? Was it hard? How did you do it? And to be clear, what form did the knife take for you?

There is no requirement to answer these, enigma...but my experience as a counselor suggests that even a 'mental' replay of hard times with the anonymity of this forum can help others facing similar challenges. Completely up to you.

Is it just you who has this fixation on hearing my personal story and verifying my credentials, or is there someone else that you also speak for?
* * * * *

Yes. Bill the "debate/argument" threads might get a lot of hits. The mods are even discussing labelling such threads, perhaps even changing the background color and moderating them aggressively. But the temptation of the ego is strong...it is so eager to 'claim' the knowledge that there is no progress, only arguing. The "free will" thread is a good example, granted it is a volatile topic, as would be one on "doership." Regardless, we are not happy with them, even if we have contributed. The background ego position is "No, I'm more enlightened than you, and to prove that, this argument is the truth." What is interesting is that Eckhart and others have posed their own questions and answered them as a style of writing, often disagreeing with the questioner...
Not so strangely, perhaps, i saw that thread completely differently. I saw some folks struggling for ways to hang onto the free will idea (yourself included) in spite of clear statements to the contrary from respected teachers. The various arguments were addressed and while there was a lot of mental spinning, there was also great potential in this exploration for those who were open to it, which might have included some who didn't actively participate. I don't recall anything in the way of ugliness or name calling even if the resistance was strong at times, but of course one perceives the discussion in the context of one's own reactions. I don't think there's any way to avoid this, and really there's no need. Some apparently see trolls running williy nilly around the forum now. What are we to do about these imaginary trolls, and whatever is done, could it possibly be the right thing?

But back to the topic here: Do we need to define terms? Is "enlightenment" the same as "awakening" and the same as "Self-Realization?" And is it abiding or does that matter or is it only real when it is abiding, or does it ever "go away?" or is there only one Zen Temple which can certify it, etc...

What we actually need to do is somehow get over it, but it doesn't look like we're moving in that direction.

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ashley72
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Re: Are You Enlightened?

Post by ashley72 » Fri May 06, 2011 8:29 am

smiileyjen101 wrote:On the beautiful sharing of self that happens in this forum and Ashley, thank you for yours which allowed others to fully see the beauty of you as a contributor to that thread in peace and offering of your 'self' -
Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness (my note: or wisdom borne of experience) never decreases by being shared. (attributed to the Buddha c. 563 BC-483 BC)


Jen, Thanks you for the kind words, and sharing your personal story - I very much appreciate it. :wink:

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Re: Are You Enlightened?

Post by randomguy » Fri May 06, 2011 1:39 pm

I enjoy DeMello's answser(s) to this question of Are you enlightened?

"How would I know?", "What does it matter?" and finally, Are you prepared to be brainwashed by someone who says they are enlightened?

Personally, it reminds me a little bit of the "Do you believe in God, yes or no?" question. The relevance of such questions lies in the perception of the asker and the level of imagined importance that the asker places on the answer. In my experience of awakening, the importance of posing such questions involves observing a diminished sense of the questioner, not in the meaning attached to any sort of response. Or to put it another way, in stillness a good question asked well reveals the transient nature of the questioner rather than enforcing any notion about a conceptual answer. The answer just comes and goes with no importance along with the rest of the dreamed up sense of individual self, or emerges only to be washed into silence.
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Webwanderer
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Re: Are You Enlightened?

Post by Webwanderer » Fri May 06, 2011 2:37 pm

It seems to me that if someone doesn't know they are enlightened, yet speaks authoritatively, they are simply speaking from another mind generated concept of being - more of a spiritualized ego. The expression of humility, and the recognition that their statements are just how they perceive things, shows integrity and allows a newly curious listener/reader to recognize that what's offered are not answers to the concerns they have, but simply pointers to possible greater clarity.

Taking the stand of 'follow me (or my teaching), I know the way', seems somewhat arrogant for one who is not coming from a state of clear enlightenment. If enlightenment is indeed the case, it seems reasonable to reveal how that came to be so any readers may glean from the revelation their own sense of legitimacy. One of the first things out of Tolle's book was a detailed description of his awakening experience. I for one, felt his honesty and benefited from knowing how he came to his insights.

Without such clear an honest sharing as a base, I wonder if his works would have had the world wide effect that they have.

A skilled writer can convince those less aware that they know things that maybe they simply believe. There is a deep responsibility to be clear and honest with anyone interested on such matters that can so profoundly affect their lives.

Is such honesty not an expression of love?

WW

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Rick
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Re: Are You Enlightened?

Post by Rick » Fri May 06, 2011 2:58 pm

Tolle says "Enlightenment means rising above thought" Others ask "are you out of your mind?"

Asking someone about enlightenment on a board like this is not in the least unreasonable.

It's the whole purpose of this board.

Have you found relief from the burden of your mind? is another way of asking the question.

The answers should be "Yes" "No" "I'm getting there" or "I don't know".
Daily life IS spiritual exercise.

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Re: Are You Enlightened?

Post by rachMiel » Fri May 06, 2011 3:18 pm

Webwanderer wrote:It seems to me that if someone doesn't know they are enlightened, yet speaks authoritatively, they are simply speaking from another mind generated concept of being - more of a spiritualized ego. The expression of humility, and the recognition that their statements are just how they perceive things, shows integrity and allows a newly curious listener/reader to recognize that what's offered are not answers to the concerns they have, but simply pointers to possible greater clarity.
I haven't weighed in yet on this discussion. Enlightenment, like any of the heavies -- pure awareness, love, Truth, etc. -- is not something I'm very comfortable talking about. These terms/states are either too easily abstracted and turned into concepts (even fairy tales) ... or too close and personally real to be fictionalized in words.

I agree with what Webwanderer wrote above, that one can attain an "enlightened intellect" = intellect/ego fluent in the doctrines of this or that spiritual practice. An enlightened intellect might be a wonderful thing, but it's NOT full-on enlightenment: enlightened head, heart, body, mind, the whole kit 'n kaboodle. Let's face it: The theory (i.e. what the intellect can grab onto) behind most of this stuff is not rocket science! Work your way diligently through a few books and, if you're reasonably intelligent, you'll probably be able to talk a good game. Which means you'll be able to fool both yourself and others, either intentionally or what I suspect happens much more often: unconsciously.

That's why I look/feel for what lies beneath the words someone uses. If I sense kindness, humility, humor, lightness, openness ... I feel the person's "spiritual IQ" involves the full being. If I sense arrogance, unnecessary harshness, heaviness, closedness (to other takes) it makes me think the spiritual IQ is ego/intellect-based.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Re: Are You Enlightened?

Post by Sighclone » Fri May 06, 2011 6:17 pm

That's why I look/feel for what lies beneath the words someone uses. If I sense kindness, humility, humor, lightness, openness ... I feel the person's "spiritual IQ" involves the full being. If I sense arrogance, unnecessary harshness, heaviness, closedness (to other takes) it makes me think the spiritual IQ is ego/intellect-based.
How well phrased, rach, 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: Are You Enlightened?

Post by snowheight » Fri May 06, 2011 7:59 pm

First of all, Rick and rach' those are from the heart and beautiful. I respect what Andy and Wanderer are doing by looking back and thereby taking a step beyond heart.
Webwanderer wrote: We've been around this track a few times. Seems we always end up where we start.

To answer fairly one must know:

What are the qualities of the enlightenment to which you inquire?

Is it a definable state of some original consciousness?

Or is it a relative one? In other words, is it just a place on the consciousness scale that is somewhat clearer than some previous state?

Can one be enlightened and not know the qualities of enlightenment?

If, as some claim, that everyone is enlightened, does that mean that enlightenment has little to do with one's conscious state?

Or does it mean that an identified consciousness is not a valid and useful perspective simply because it is imaginary and temporary?

Are you enlightened? If there is no one there to ponder and reply (as some say), can there be anyone there to ask? .....Yet ask you did.

What does all this mean? .....Same as always
Sighclone wrote: But back to the topic here: Do we need to define terms? Is "enlightenment" the same as "awakening" and the same as "Self-Realization?" And is it abiding or does that matter or is it only real when it is abiding, or does it ever "go away?" or is there only one Zen Temple which can certify it, etc...
These are questions asked from a perspective of deep practical experience, and given what I’ve gained personally from my interaction here which has obviously been shaped by that experience they warrant a contemplative answer from both the heart and the mind and in this case those are going to be all mixed up. I hope that it is clear to all the comedy attached to the inherent hubris of my even trying to answer you guys on this plane.

Should it surprise us that the discussion results in a circle? Contemplate the circle for a moment and what it represents … which is essentially (in the abstract), … everything. Now, taking a step back, I am grateful for the willingness to go around the track a few more times for sure.

Yes, the statement from the heart above was that everyone is enlightened. Discerning that by regaining a connection to a felt sense of oneness with Being (ET), is a falling away of mis-identification, and it is this process which seems to have been labeled “enlightenment” down through the ages. Now the conclusion here is that it is typical for one to go through such a process of enlightenment to discover that one is enlightened and upon the discovery, which is really not a discovery at all but a lifting of a veil and a realization that there is nothing to discover – that after the great journey one has not moved an inch. I won’t call this a paradox or even discuss the limits of language as we are addressing that idea elsewhere, but I will call attention to the inherent difficulty involved with considering these ideas with the mind. In trying to define enlightenment, the idea will slip through our fingers (borrowing from here, Nansen said: “If you try to direct yourself toward it, you go away from it”).

When I became acquainted with the spiritual histories of a few of the mods here it was truly a breathtaking realization how much humility was involved in setting aside what they probably at one point thought they knew as the truth for what they felt was the truth. And the patience it must take to allow what unfolds here to unfold … I can’t even begin to imagine.

So, be all of this as it may, of course to address the question at least partially from the intellect we will have to limit the definition of an “enlightened individual” to something similar to “someone who has slipped the veil and has experienced their sense of felt oneness with Being” … but I would urge that we bear in mind the foregoing caveat of limitation if we are to go down this road.

A brief but important digression on the difference between judgment and discernment if you will indulge (Ananda tried to explain this to me last year and in the end he primed me for rachMiel’s and Rick’s teaching on it) – can be found here.

My guess is that you guys have encountered long-time practioner’s of some of the enlightenment traditions with prominent external cues of being enlightened and whom you have discerned are as unconscious as they come. I’d further speculate that you’ve encountered enlightened souls who make no show of or even are self-aware of the applicability of this conceptual label. I would guess that by definition it is not possible for an enlightened individual to be unaware of their state, which is, of course, different from being aware of the applicability of the conceptual label.

This is not to either denigrate the ancient traditions nor to fail to recognize that apparently there are non-paths which seem to short-circuit them. Only a fool would regard the rich tradition and tapestry of Zen and not recognize a difference between a life lived in such practice from one lived outside of it. On the other hand, it would take blindness not to recognize that the simplicity of dropping misidentification is always only one instant away from anyone.

So this experience of that felt sense of oneness ... there are apparent examples of permanence in some, but those perspectives are eventually foreclosed by death, so in the end, enlightenment in the context of this definition and further constrained by the context of a single earthly existence is temporary. Of course, removing the second constraint leads to a whole different discussion with some interesting twists and I would give the punchline that it arguably brings one to the answer to the question of “why am I here?” – in the interest of full disclosure I disclaim any belief or studied acquaintance with the notion of re-incarnation and that punchline simply extended these ideas intellectually without attaching to any such belief or disbelief. Interestingly enough, I see a connection between this “why” question/answer and what I’ve speculated is the fundamental duality.

From my own experience, and reading of other’s here on this forum, it would seem that this felt sense of oneness has two speeds: one which slides on a relative scale and can vary from day-to-day and minute-to-minute and another which is full-on immediate Alice-in-wonderland-freak-out-city … personally I’ve only experienced (or at least THINK that I have experienced) the latter for a few brief periods, but the former suggests that yes, there is at least a flavor of enlightenment which is relative.

Finally, just to bring things back to a convenient circle, I will answer this:
Webwanderer wrote: Are you enlightened? If there is no one there to ponder and reply (as some say), can there be anyone there to ask? .....Yet ask you did.
with the rose.
Last edited by snowheight on Fri May 06, 2011 8:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Stop talking. Hear every sound as background. Look straight ahead and focus. Take one deep breath. This is you. This is Now.

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Re: Are You Enlightened?

Post by snowheight » Fri May 06, 2011 8:03 pm

Sighclone wrote:The background ego position is "No, I'm more enlightened than you, and to prove that, this argument is the truth."
Well that is the thing … I would offer the opinion that the intellectual discussions referenced have nothing to do with the term enlightenment as we are discussing it here in either the broad apparently-paradoxical sense or the limited-practical sense. They have to do with understanding in the realm of the mind. That understanding can be helpful toward a purpose of creating inner-space even if a given discussion temporarily results in the opposite.

The very posture of “I’m more enlightened than you”, if recognized, would in-turn be recognized as absurd, even if a relative flavor of the feeling of oneness is recognized -- and a discussion of that apparent contradiction would require setting aside the limited-practical definition of the term. On the other hand, if one argues something from the mind, then the parties to the argument can always seek to agree on a set of relative definitions making up the ropes of the ring. As I declared to enigma in the free-will thread in throwing down the gloves of non-duality: Angels have no rights as in heaven there is no need for law but in hell due process will be strictly observed.

This is the thing: curiosity naturally arises in a mind that is exposed to direct experience. This is exactly what led me here. At that time, I hadn’t spoken to anyone about what happened to me other than my wife, who was in turn coping with the change (mainly in the form of my non-reactance) and very leery of it. The result of the knowledge available here to BOTH the heart and the mind has been this circular process of the heart leading the mind which in turn questions and then gives up and turns back to the heart for the answer that there is no answer.

The stillness in the temple that is this forum truly is brought into relief by this leg of the discussion. The slightest discord, the merest smidgeon of a hint of disagreement, the most mild of rebukes reverberate here as a gunshot in the night on a deserted country road.

I’m sure that whatever you as a group decide in this regard will work out just fine. As I told heidi once in a pm, I bask in the luxury of not having to keep order here.
Sighclone wrote:Yes. Bill the "debate/argument" threads might get a lot of hits. The mods are even discussing labeling such threads, perhaps even changing the background color and moderating them aggressively. But the temptation of the ego is strong...it is so eager to 'claim' the knowledge that there is no progress, only arguing. The "free will" thread is a good example, granted it is a volatile topic, as would be one on "doership." Regardless, we are not happy with them, even if we have contributed.
Change is the only constant and the forum has changed even in the single year that I’ve experienced it. You have to do what you have to do. You know what my esteem of the management is ... I trust that this is not a judgment but something you’ve collectively discerned.
Stop talking. Hear every sound as background. Look straight ahead and focus. Take one deep breath. This is you. This is Now.

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Re: Are You Enlightened?

Post by snowheight » Fri May 06, 2011 8:11 pm

Webwanderer wrote:One of the first things out of Tolle's book was a detailed description of his awakening experience. I for one, felt his honesty and benefited from knowing how he came to his insights.

Without such clear an honest sharing as a base, I wonder if his works would have had the world wide effect that they have.
Wanderer I want to share my honest specific experience here for exactly what it is.

I bought a copy of TPON because I was an insomniac and the snippet of “I stopped listening to the voice inside my head” worked for exactly one night, so I was intrigued.

I read the thing, and regardless of whatever spiritual experience I either had or did not have, my mind finally accepted once and for all the fallacy of materialism.

But when I read Tolle’s introduction, it was with a HUGE grain of salt. I really didn’t know what to make of that at the time. I still doubt that if his room had been bugged it would have picked up the audible utterance “resist nothing”.

The word “enlightenment” on the cover really didn’t mean anything to me one way or another … I just read what the guy had to say and let it change my life.
Stop talking. Hear every sound as background. Look straight ahead and focus. Take one deep breath. This is you. This is Now.

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Re: Are You Enlightened?

Post by snowheight » Fri May 06, 2011 8:19 pm

randomguy wrote:I enjoy DeMello's answser(s) to this question of Are you enlightened?

"How would I know?", "What does it matter?" and finally, Are you prepared to be brainwashed by someone who says they are enlightened?

Personally, it reminds me a little bit of the "Do you believe in God, yes or no?" question. The relevance of such questions lies in the perception of the asker and the level of imagined importance that the asker places on the answer. In my experience of awakening, the importance of posing such questions involves observing a diminished sense of the questioner, not in the meaning attached to any sort of response. Or to put it another way, in stillness a good question asked well reveals the transient nature of the questioner rather than enforcing any notion about a conceptual answer. The answer just comes and goes with no importance along with the rest of the dreamed up sense of individual self, or emerges only to be washed into silence.
Thanks for that rg. I'm reminded of Andy's response to me a while back when I posited the notion of "accepting that you have to resist". This also both points out and simultaneously short-circuits concerns such as "am I acting from Presence?" ... as one could raise as a hazard the possibility that another might cause extensive damage by mistakenly doing so. The crusades come to mind by analogy. But your presentation, it speaks of an ever attenuating echo until that question just dies away.

I'm sure enigma could express what I'm dancing around here on this particular point quite a bit better.
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Re: Are You Enlightened?

Post by snowheight » Fri May 06, 2011 8:28 pm

smiileyjen101 wrote: I could say the same in finding the wisdoms of ET that helped me not to understand the oneness and the light, that I already lived, but to understand the workings of the mind and the ego borne of choosing fear instead of love. And with that understanding, to accept the reality of this. We are each doing the best we can with what we have.
Wow, we've had exactly complimentary experience -- it was by following the rope of rationality to its end that prepped me for Tolle. When he wrote "felt Oneness with Being" my mind simultaneously:

1) categorized it as a sort of hippish, new-agey, touchy-feely statement which caused me to in turn force my mind to remain open.
2) correlated it with the ideas of cosmology, string theory and the philosophical implications of the Quantum Observer.
3) remembered that feeling of praying with the Mormons

and then ... BAM!
Stop talking. Hear every sound as background. Look straight ahead and focus. Take one deep breath. This is you. This is Now.

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Re: Are You Enlightened?

Post by Sighclone » Fri May 06, 2011 11:49 pm

If a poster were to say, "Am I enlightened?....er, no....but aren't these wonderful sentences I write?", would there be less meaning or authority in them? Anyone, as snowhieght notes, can parrot a philosophy...sometimes with great skill.

If Gary Weber ("Happiness Beyond Thought") were to answer this, I'm quite sure he would say "usually." Now that sounds like bs, of course, but he has clarified that when he is very tired, that the thoughtstream takes over, or something....

So how do we treat someone who declines to answer? Must their commentary be therefore suspect? For me, not necessarily. enigma has presented some fine points, and personally, the "free will" thread was ok with me. But a forum full of that would not be. Self-declared enlightenment is not a requirement to post an authoritative sentence. But many traditions we respect suggest that such an event does occur, and that life is forever changed. Moreover, I think it is a rare person who has awakened who either 1) doesn't know it or 2) declines to state it.

By the way, let me answer it for myself:

I have shifted, fundamentally and permanently from a life of egoic prominence to one which is continually informed from some infinitely larger source. Many shattered remnants of conditioned egoic behavior surface, however, and some of them "take over" for brief periods. So, by the most rigid definition, I am not enlightened. But more veils are falling every day. When the last one falls, if I know that for sure, I'll let you know.

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: Are You Enlightened?

Post by ashley72 » Sat May 07, 2011 12:44 am

I have shifted, fundamentally and permanently from a life of egoic prominence to one which is continually informed from some infinitely larger source. Many shattered remnants of conditioned egoic behavior surface, however, and some of them "take over" for brief periods. So, by the most rigid definition, I am not enlightened. But more veils are falling every day. When the last one falls, if I know that for sure, I'll let you know.
Andy
Andy, you're a straight shooter open & honest. There is no enigma here :D

If I'm honest, I do see an incredible intellect and wisdom in Enigma's posts, but I also agree that doesnt prove someone has fully... Let go.... Unawakened... Awakened... Whatever.

I also find it odd that Enigma doesn't give much personal detail on his experience. I also wonder why others wouldn't be willing to post a picture of themselves on this forum if they are looking to conquer the "little me". I realized the other day when all this came up, that "little me" was unwilling to do that... So I looked at why... And the answer came back. Fear, embarrassment, I wasn't free really. I wanted more space, so I opened up. Why obscure what exists. :wink:

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Re: Are You Enlightened?

Post by heidi » Sat May 07, 2011 12:46 am

Yep, and "I" am right there with Andy living and learning and letting go, only I don't have such a big man-sized ego. :mrgreen:
Mine is kinder and gentler and more demure. :lol:
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