Do you believe that there is something called Enlightenment?
What are we searching?
Half the world is struggling towards making a living while the other half, which has many of its survival needs well taken care off, is trying to figure out its motivation to live well, whatever wellness means for them. People from all walks of life have been trying to make sense of what is happening to them as they continue to lead a more or less meaningless life. Life only seems to revolve around the fundamental topics of eating, mating, sleeping and defending. The questions most people ask is “is there a higher purpose to everything that is happening to me or the world?’ Many times, in the hour of resignation or boredom, people tend to ask this question to themselves or to people who they consider wise. They get some answers but then, continue to live through the answers thoroughly dissatisfied. They forget the question for a while and continue with their boredom. Again, when there is enough motivation, they continue asking the same question just as a jerky video goes on, in an endless loop. Nevertheless, they do not find any answers at the end of the day.
Is Enlightenment there at all?
People are given to understand that there is something called Enlightenment that appears as a fancy thing, somewhere far off at the horizon. After listening to mystics and some assumedly wise men, people set up enlightenment goals, trying to reach the horizon which keeps distancing itself as people try to clasp it through prescribed austerities and all the goodies that have been setup for them by the Scriptures and the Wise men of the world. People are “trying” to “become” good, moral and a whole lot of things that represents goodness, the genuine and the holy. All said, people start pushing themselves to the goal of Enlightenment. But the question is, is there something here and now to consume, rather than wait for it to happen in the far off future? This is a question that keeps raising its hood time and again and is a great de-motivator to the efforts that people are putting in. People keep hearing “Osho”, “J Krishnamurthy”, “Allan Watts”, “Eckhart Tolle” or they read the teachings of master Gurdjieff and a whole lot of people. But are we getting somewhere or are we just psyching ourselves with the “feel good” factor, trying to induce a placebo effect that is continuing to fool us or trick us through internal dialogues or through dialogues or endless conversations with like-minded friends? Well, let me tell you, there is nowhere to go or nowhere to get to. What we can do to this effect is to finish off all that is creating stress within us and try to align our life energies so that we can operate with great zest. That is all there, to the story.
Enlightenment is not about a Perfect Life.
Our life is tormented by fears, insecurities, shadows of uncertainties, the never ending money problems, Medical problems, Relationship problems and many other problems. If you think that Enlightenment will put an end to all this, you are fooling yourself. Enlightenment for me, just means “Lighting up the Environment”, according to what I have experienced in my life, whatever that has led me here, that which I have realized through sadhana, spiritual practice, going by whatever I have gained associating with wise men. Life can never be rid of problems. If it were so, then to what end can life serve? Pursuance of Enlightenment is a damn good idea. But it will continue to remain an idea which can never be clasped or grasped if you keep waiting for it to happen, it never will. It can never be a reality that you have imagined it to be. I can guarantee that if you are pursuing enlightenment with a goal of putting an end to problems, challenges and oppositions, then dropping the idea of enlightenment will be a better idea. Enlightenment cannot serve to be an escape route out of challenges and problems. The path leading to environment has to be a progressively lit path, lit by our eagerness or earnestness. Every inch that leads towards that all-evasive environment should make one competent as ever to live in complete cohesion with what is available in and around oneself. To be living life without specific opinions, biases, specific likes or dislikes and at the same time have a natural well-balanced approach towards life is all there is to enlightenment.
What is Enlightenment Anyway?
Enlightenment is a great “DROPPING OFF”. It is an end to all search. One’s search for all things of this world as well as other worlds simply drops off from the hold of consciousness. It withers away just as dried leaves wither away from branches. For leaves to wither away, scorching heat or cold becomes a must or atleast aging of the leaves become necessary. This means that there has to be a preparatory stage. This is where spiritual practices pitch in. They definitely have a great part to play. There are two enablers to the process of Lighting up the Environment. However these two enablers themselves do not light up anything. They create the space for the mind to give up all other desires and resign once and for all. The two enablers are (1) A great desire to be enlightened and (2) Spiritual Practice. Let’s us discuss the philosophy behind these two points.
To have a Great Desire to be enlightened
This is fundamental for the process of lighting up to happen. However nothing can induce this tendency or desire. This desire comes up on its own, maybe it is a result of the soul being just too old to continue material life. Well, this is just what I make out of it. But yes, unless the desire to get enlightened is fierce, intense and one-pointed, the boil up required to graduate to the next point of taking up a spiritual practice as a permanent life-goal shall never commence. There shall be no sincerity and regularity in pursuing spiritual practice otherwise. The desire for enlightenment is born out of suffocation to continue in the material world. This happens when the daily routine, the problems of life are tormenting the soul. This stage is not like, being disturbed by them and hence trying to escape them somehow and instead trying to find happiness as a replacement for worries and problems. The desire for Enlightenment is born out of realization of the living entity on its incompetence to “exist”. There is some inner intelligence that seems to realize, at this stage that even after dying, this restlessness, and this boredom shall continue without break. It is something like utter claustrophobia that is growing within the living organism. This is the stage when there is no positivity, no negativity, and no hopes and yet one is forced to live relentlessly. There is an immense sense of understanding within, that there is absolutely no way out to exist this way or the other. This is something like the rat being trapped eternally with all escape routes sealed for good. Out of this claustrophobia, the desire for enlightenment is triggered automatically. It is not necessarily a state that is introduced, on being influenced by any other soul. It is born out of the very brute force of Nature.
Where does Spiritual Practice fit in?
When there is this desire to get Enlightened, true seeking begins and then one meets or starts hearing enlightened masters. This is the time when one shall also take up certain authentic spiritual practices or sadhana. One begins to start seeing things better and there is space created for proper reception of what is happening around oneself. But the claustrophobia does not recede. As one starts adopting different paths, changes Gurus, starts reciting mantras, starts following meditation practices, the inner mess starts spilling out, all over one’s life. There can be increase in instability in one’s life. There could be several events or circumstances that can disturb one and sometimes add to the existing internal pandemonium. This process of spiritual practice can never be smooth if one is truly seeking. There is also no guarantee that the process can end in the current lifetime. This is left for Mother Nature to decide. It should also be realized that the inner scum of molten lava is being churned and one cannot know for how long this realignment can take to complete. There can emerge a great shift in energy. However some practitioners may find themselves lucky and this phase comes to an end. As I said there is no timeline and it may turn out that this phase may never even end!
This is when the tempest settles down. This is a stage when all concepts about life crumble and our so-called knowledge, understanding, so-called brilliance comes to naught. This is very difficult to define because if it were to be defined then there is a structure to it and it is not at all possible to define that which is rid of all structures. The mind gets dismantled so to say and the thinking process is set into abeyance. Thinking loses all its value for the rest of this lifetime. Life-events stop having continuity and all story-lines lose meaning. The desires come to an end although on the outside things appear ordinary, mundane and as-usual. The zest for life nevertheless picks up like never before and the man who was going mad after spirituality and enlightenment will seem to have nothing to do with these words. There is no interest specifically towards the work-result per say, but the energy and commitment towards one’s strengths picks up and peaks to the maximum. The mind is almost gone, dissolved or sucked out of all its capacity. The mind may still lurk around but it stops all its mischief and comes to play only when called for. The imagery of the mind is also destroyed and every passing second of life is a fresh moment without any hang-over of the past moment. Sometimes it may also appear as if the person is having memory or recollection issues. This is not a thing to worry about. It is that way and that is normal for the one whose search has come to an end. Nothing of one’s story remains. Interest towards one’s worldly upkeep, maintenance or worries of the future evaporate into thin air. Fear exists nevertheless but to the bare minimum. It may not be called fear. Perhaps there may be a better or positive word that can be used instead of fear. Problems still exist, Challenges also exist. All types of hopes also come to an end. There is no hope in the futuristic mode. There is only the pulsating present that continues. There is no residue of the past and there is no possibility of any future, right now. However, there is no hurry in solving, because there is a deep understanding within that everything is dissolving. Everything is normal and life is back on track. There is no strife and total contentment. Every passing second becomes more satisfying than the previous one and yet the previous second was well-lived and has passed by without any trace in the memory.
Our take on Enlightenment
Well, if you are reading this, it means you may be interested or atleast curious about this topic. However Enlightenment is not a shelf-product for consumption. True seeking is born only at the consummation of the highest struggle possible, not the one related to survival skills but relates to the question of existence itself. Only the one who has been totally consumed by the journey of life can take even one sincere step towards this topic. When one is relieved totally of all dogmatism, all conceptions, all idealism, and all opportunism and yet does not have any problems with them shall have well ended one’s Enlightenment seeking. All said, Enlightenment is not a state of being. It is just that one is living with a great purpose but internally is absolutely purposeless, goal-less and yet does not appear directionless. Whether any purpose is reached at all shall become irrelevant. When all journeys have ended and life just continues with electrified enthusiasm, that is an indication that Enlightenment as a goal is also falling away.