What Is Enlightenment (and Why Would I Want It) – June 22 2019

What Is Enlightenment (and Why Would I Want It) – June 22 2019

Enlightenment can be defined as the clear and deep intuitive perception or intuitive understanding (not just belief or intellectual comprehension) of the entire situation, that is, of the unity of Consciousness and of the absence of the ‘me’ or ‘I’ as a separate, autonomous entity.

Dr. Nitin Trasi,

The Science of Enlightenment 

The above is one definition of enlightenment. J. Krishnamurti says that enlightenment is a paradigm shift from a ‘me-centered’ experience of the world to a universal experience that has no ‘center’ at all.

To some, these ideas imply a loss of self, of individuality.

This idea of ‘losing’ one’s personal identity can, at first glance, seem frightening. Who wants to lose the sense of ‘I’? Many of us who come to meditation and spiritual study have spent years tracking down and finding a sense of I. And now you want me to give it up?

In the practice of Vedic meditation, as we let go of the stresses we have accumulated in life, we see the beginnings of enlightenment as not losing the sense of ‘I-ness,’ but rather uncovering the connection of ‘I’ to the whole of the rest of the universe. We continue to know ourselves as individuality, as this particular person with this particular history, age, gender; and along with this identity we begin to feel more and more our oneness with all things. It’s still me – but now it’s just me plus. We are still the wave, but we begin to know ourselves as ocean, too.

Why might this be a good thing? 

The more we can experience ourselves as at-one-with all else, the more clearly we can feel the movement of the laws of nature. There is a flow, a current in this oneness of life, in nature, just as there are currents in a river. If I am swimming in a river without paying attention to the currents, the direction I am trying to swim in will be determined by my ideas of where I should be headed, rather than what might work with this current. I may see shiny objects upstream and struggle to move in that direction, but if the current is strong, I may never make any headway at all, but only build a resentment against life or God or my parents about why it is that I am never able to get what I want. 

We can spend years following our ideas, rather than accepting ‘what is,’ and going from there. Eventually, though, I will be moving downstream. That’s the way the river is flowing. That’s where I’m going to end up, no matter what I may think about it. This is the way rivers work. How much more pleasant it could be for me–and everyone around me–if I were able to pay attention to the current from the beginning and plan my days and the direction of my days based on where the river is flowing, rather than where I think it should be flowing?

The good news is, the movement of nature is always in the direction of evolution. My highest good, and the good for all else. And what we end up ‘losing’ is not our individual self; but rather our insistence that our individual self possibly can know more than the whole of nature.

Today I will assume that I am connected to something greater than my small self, and I will notice what is, rather than what I think should be. I will practice acceptance. I will pay attention to what feels right within, rather than to my opinions, and I will that feeling of ‘rightness’ to move in the direction of growth and evolution.

Angel’s Trumpets, Studio City CA