What is ‘Enlightenment’ anyway?
“Once you are once awakened, you can never fall back asleep again...”
But is this true? How, then, do I ‘forget’ the great, life changing ‘truths’ that I’ve learnt and experienced in the past? How did I forget my strength, my independence, my Divine right-ness to simply ‘be’ without shame or fear or guilt...?
Did I not ‘know’ it truly? Was my Pride merely skin deep - to be shed when my life and confidence shrank...? Or was I ‘ensorcelled’ as Jamie puts it: entranced and under a spell - lost in a hall of mirrors, of appearances... perhaps it was of my own doing, the curl-up survival instinct of the victimised in order to survive - but in doing so I rebirthed old wounds and traumas that split me from myself and left me compartmentalised, and truly not ‘in my right mind’...
And was this the cause and purpose of my Depression? - the mud of my self-inflicted suffering: to shock me out of this sleepwalking fall into dead and unhelpful habits - the headlong rush into ego-self and the pleasure-pain of ‘difference’ and ‘separation’, ‘them’ and ‘me’ ... A shrinking and pulling back to the core, a stripping back of illusory self until I found my Truth once more...
But, what is ‘enlightenment’ anyway?
Is it some ‘special’ state of mind only achievable by epic feats of ascetic withdrawal, some grand and trumpet-blasted desert revelation, a holy state of rapture that dislocates the ‘holy’ from the ‘ordinary’ ...?
Is that really what Siddhartha truly learnt beneath the Boddhi tree - or meant in the holding up of a flower...?
Or is it, simply, the deep and joy filled knowing that ‘this’ is it. The simple Awareness of, and Surrender to, Reality - Here, Now - as it is, unfolding within and without us, in each and every wonderful unfolding LIVING Moment.
No Nirvana to attain, no ‘heaven’ to wait for, no great Breaking of The Wheel - just the acceptance that this: here, now, this is it - all there is and ever will be, and all there ever NEED be - if we only see it for the enfolding joy of LIVING and BEING and KNOWING.
And that ‘this’ is as deep or as shallow as it needs to be. From the Macro-COSMIC empty unknowable vastness of the Universe to the quantum uncertainty of the smallest particle: a fractal repeating symphony of relationships, a panoply of interconnected illusions within a cosmic living reality...
And even that, grand thoughts and all, ‘simply’ an ‘idea’ encoded and experienced in the electron exchange and neural firing of specialised cells that themselves are but a part of a greater ‘whole’ that experiences ‘differences’ and therefore thinks “‘I’ exist, therefore I am separate and must compete with ‘other’. ‘I’ am alive, therefore I must fear ‘death’”
But, still, This is it. All there is, all there ever needs to be. To just ‘be’, and be aware if it. This is the Zen koan of seeing and knowing the mountain. This is the truth of living in enlightenment. Just, this.
And this is why Buddha smiled as he raised the flower in silence, and this is why the old Taoists’ laughed as they drank their plum wine and tea... 🙏🏻