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Is Enlightenment No-Thing or
June 14, 2010
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
Q: I am having difficulty understanding how all spiritual paths "end up in
the same place." For instance, some teachings claim that enlightenment has
no affective experience whatsoever (no joy, no sadness, no desire), only
"perfect clarity," which I would think is different than experiencing love
radiating outwards. They also claim no desire for practices, while in other
traditions people actively pursue devotion, practices, etc. Most from
Buddhist tradition do not seem to experience
"kundalini," while other paths place kundalini at the center. Is
enlightenment really one thing, or is it many things?
A: Yes, it
does all end up in the same place. And where is that? Is it a place of
non-doing, or a place of outpouring divine love? Or both at the same time?
And if it is a doing, is it personal, or impersonal? A non-doing that is
doing? What we have many times called "stillness in action." It is a
paradox. What we call it is only a matter of how things may be unfolding and
how they may be represented as objects in the mind.
For example, is
no desire really no desire? It is common for AYP practitioners to express
concern about having "no desire" at one stage or other in their development.
Is that expression of concern no desire? Of course not. It is a flat period
of witness that we may experience before it becomes visible as a radiance in
daily activity. The personal motivation may not be there anymore, and it may
be missed (like a lost habit), but the motivation to act will not be gone.
It comes from deeper within, from inner silence. Otherwise, we would not get
out of bed in the morning.
Regarding "kundalini," it is only a name
that points to evolutionary energy moving within us. Some traditions choose
to not name the energetic stage of unfoldment, but its existence on all
paths cannot be denied. Named or not, the energetics will occur. If there is
a claim of no energetics, they have either not occurred yet, or are being
ignored. It is not necessary to make a rush to energetics (kundalini). And
it is not necessary to deny them either. All things in their own time.
Is "perfect clarity" an end state? Is "outpouring divine love" an end
state? Is enlightenment no-thing or all-things? The perceptions of these
experiences are mere structures in the mind, signifying little. The truth is
that it is neither of these, and both of these, and there is no end to it.
That is the point. Anyone who says "This is it," and stands pat on that, is
missing the point, because there is no "IT," no end state. No divorce from
life, no permanent engagement in life. It is a process in the here and now.
Those who say it is no-thing may find themselves a bit stuck and yet to
become spiritually integrated. Non-involvement in
life is duality. Those who say it is only all-things
yet to find they are the One who does nothing amidst all things. There is no
clear answer. Those who seek a clear answer will not find one.
Clarity comes when the paradox of simultaneous non-doing and doing becomes
ordinary in daily experience, and there is no need to say it is this or that
anymore. It just is, and we are both in it and beyond it. This includes
living through the apparent inequities in life without suffering.
There is only one way we can find out what this is about. Practice. There is
a process, a path, and we can travel it not with the
conceptual mind, but with the vehicle of our neurobiology. We are the
doorway, and that doorway takes us beyond the mind and all of its
We don't have to take anyone's word for it. Let's
practice. Then we will know.
The guru is in you.
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