Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Natural State

"I determine nothing; I do not comprehend things; I suspend judgment; I examine." In his essays he compared primitive society to civilized society and found that natural society surpasses what man has wrought in many respects, that "pre-civilized man is possessed of natural virtues which civilization has obscured, perverted, or destroyed ..."

~Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

Many call enlightenment "The Natural State." We might say that the natural state is the state prior to the original sin, which was the knowledge of Good and Evil, or judgment. To judge without suspending belief even for a moment, is the royal road to your own private mental prison.

The sages speak of discernment, not of judgment or condemnation. To see without judgment opens vast vistas of uncharted territory. To be in that open space is a joy, a relief, a contentment.

Discernment enables a quality of being which is able to grasp and comprehend that which is obscure. That which is obscure, has simply been covered up. It would be helpful to take care with our thoughts, looking at them from a space that suspends judgment. It is a means of seeing the truth.

The "Natural State" implies something that was always there -- before it got covered up.

The human condition seems to be one in which we are born into obscuration, the original error, a process of judgment which quickly veils the Natural State. Our judgments may help the body survive, but it is the royal road to suffering.

If we could take every act of perceiving and hold it without judgment, we might be able to discern what is usually missed. Suspending our own prejudices opens a door to pristine territory.

Our lack of discernment leads to disastrous choices. At minimum it leads to an unexamined life. Socrates said "An unexamined life is not worth living." Yet the Natural State is eternal and the fear of death is undone.

A lack of discernment may result in the inability to know a true friend -- to be a true friend to ourself. A lack of discernment leads to the failure to see who we really are. Who among us knows the Natural State?

Enlightenment is the Natural State. It can only be discovered. It is not new, it is not alien. That is why when the Natural State occurs, it is known as coming home.


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