Sunday, October 31, 2010

What are we looking for?

One of the problems for seekers is the fact that they are searching for something (Enlightenment) which they have not clearly defined. What is worse, there are countless teachers talking about Enlightenment who also do not define what they are talking about.

We can assume that in the seeker there is a strong sense of something missing. The strength of this longing validates the seeking. So the seeker is off on the journey seeking enlightenment. However, because that "something" remains undefined, the seeker is subject to looking everywhere and anywhere.

The goal being undefined, leaves the seeker listening to anyone and everyone who claims to know something about the subject. Not knowing what it is, anyone could have it. Anything could be it! The seeker is now subject to any and all pseudo logic and experiential pablum. What is the seeker to do?

First, the seeker must realize that if one does not want to spend forty years looking under every rock, and behind every bush, one needs to have some idea of what the goal is. Some definition of what enlightenment is, needs to be determined. Without a good definition of the destination, it is only a wilderness.

If we begin by noting that the conclusion of the Vedas is that Consciousness is all there is, and that it is non-dual, perhaps we can define these and related terms, and chart a possible path.

If you look at the definitions below, gleaned from on-line dictionaries and shortened, one might begin to be able to define what Enlightenment is. The four words that are fundamental are: knowledge, experience, consciousness, awareness.

Knowledge: The sum or range of what has been or can be perceived, discovered, experienced, or learned.

Experience: Direct personal participation in, or perception of, or observation of, a particular incident, thought or feeling, that can be remembered and its impact known. It may be considered subjective, but not easily dismissed.

Consciousness: The sum total of everything that can be experienced, thought, felt, perceived, conjured, or known.

Awareness: That which allows sense data, however subtle or gross, to be registered as consciousness. That which is aware of everything is Awareness, and everything that can be known or experienced, happens in Awareness. All that is, or can be known, is consciousness, and consciousness appears in Awareness.

Based on these definitions, we may be able to mark a path to enlightenment.

1. If everything is one, then individuality is an appearance.

2. If individuality is an appearance, and I exist, then to know who I am, I must find the source of the appearance.

3. To find the source of appearance I need to get rid of my doubts and prove to myself that consciousness is all there is, and that my body-mind is an appearance only.

4. To prove that consciousness is all there is, I need to analyze all my sensory input, all perceptions, and determine that everything that appears out there, and in here, is in fact, experience only.

5. Once I know that everything is an interpretation only, and that all interpretation is consciousness only, I still need to know where consciousness appears.

6. Consciousness appears in Awareness. Awareness is the ultimate perceiver, for it has no attributes. It is the capability, the capacity, and the potentiality of knowing anything and everything.

7. If anything and everything that has ever been conscious, can become conscious, or will become conscious, appears in Awareness, then that is what I am. As the enlightened have always said, "That thou art."


No One In Particular said...

Good one Maury. In the knowledgeble, experiential, and absolute sense!

Maury Lee said...

You are always more than kind! Your site "nothing exists despite appearances" says in a single statement what I take 10 paragraphs to say.

You have a great day!

Graham58 said...

Good blog Maury. I found you from Eddie Traversa's webpage where you'd posted a comment.

Just one thing though. Isn't it the "looking for that's the problem in the first place?"

I'm told so by another teacher anyway (Barry Long, whose meetings I attended once).


Graham .

Maury Lee said...

Graham, Thanks for dropping by. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Saying that "looking is the problem" seems to me poor logic. If there is a problem for someone, they are responsible to solve it.

In the end, you find that you had it all the time, but until you look, you will never figure that out.

Typically, only seekers find, those that don't rarely do.

Graham58 said...

Here's Barry's actual journal entry. Not only does it correct any misunderstandings stemming from my comments on it (which probably weren't very accurate) but it's a worthwhile read in its own right;

[B]From Barry Long's Journal Number Three, pp. 142-4[/B]

Questioner; You are saying that in life we become slowly more and more conscious, but is that true? Because if that is true I wonder why I heard so many people speak of something they call "sudden enlightenment".

Barry: Sudden enlightenment?

Questioner: That is the term used.

Barry: What a load of old bullshit!

The only thing that can be enlightened is ignorance. When I'm no longer ignorant there is no enlightenment, is there?

No, there is no sudden enlightenment. That is a notion put about by people confused by eastern masters who cannot teach the western mind.

All enlightenment happens in ignorance. All enlightenment happens in darkness.

There are enlightening realisations in which the darkness or ignorance in you suddenly disappears and there's more light and clarity. For enlightenment means I have clarity of mind and I can see anything I need to see that's enlightening. But I don't suddenly get enlightened and lose all my ignorance, all at once, in a flash.

Any master will tell you, or should tell you, that enlightenment is now. I am enlightened now. I can't be enlightened yesterday. Enlightenment is now.

You could never celebrate my 'enlightenment day'. How could you? For I am enlightened now. And you are enlightened now if you will only see that everything is now. But if you have any past at all to celebrate, and you really believe in it, you can't be enlightened - you've attached to the past. Enlightenment is now.

To say 'I am enlightened' means that I am enlightened of the burden of the past.

You won't get the enlightenment you're looking for. Why not? Because you're looking for some notion someone put into you in the past. If you think about something you're attached to it. So you'll think enlightenment is in the future or someone was enlightened in the past. And that's attachment to the future and past.

But enlightenment is now!

What prevents you from being enlightened now? - the person. For there cannot be any enlightened person. The person is attached to its future, all its dreams and all its yesterdays. The person is continuously moving between the future and the past. All the things you think about are the things you're attached to.

The thinking person gets in the way of enlightenment. And interferes with the field of intelligence, for anyone who thinks is not intelligent. He is clever and smart, but not intelligent. For it is not intelligent to think unless I have to think; for example to remember a telephone number. How much time today did you spend having to think? Probably only a few minutes. And what was your brain doing the rest of the time? thinking without need, denying your enlightenment, cutting across your field of intelligence, and leaving me. Stay with me and you can't think.

Maury Lee said...

Graham, Don't mind you posting a long comment. This is for discussion, and there hasn't been much going on.

Regarding the Barry Long comment: I find it to be rather confusing. There are some excellent statements, and then some that seem incongruous.

BTW, I have some of Barry Long's books.

There is only the eternal now. However, we humans have experience, and experience creates time. We need to deal with it.

That being said, there are levels of consciousness, and we do become more "enlightened" as time goes by, assuming we make a little effort and do, in fact, learn from our experiences.

As we emerge from ignorance and darkness into the light, we do grow and see more clearly. This is gradual. There are sudden epiphanies as well. Different strokes for different folks. All unique!

Enlightenment as commonly described, does occur at a certain level. But even this is confusing, because enlightenment is defined differently by different masters, or not defined at all, leaving everyone in the dark as to what it is.

There are silly arguments about enlightenment as well, for example, some say the enlightened will never say they are enlightened, yet the Buddha told people he was.

The clearest thing one can actually say about enlightenment overall is that it is ill defined, arbitrarily described, and therefore a very confusing mess in which most simply get lost.

However, this is perfect. It could not be any other way. The one who will put no head above his own, and yet be willing to be open minded and listen, will find it in the end.