Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Benchmark of Enlightenment

The Benchmark
How does one know who is enlightened and who isn't? The history of religion is just as full of charlatans as saints. Many have led the masses astray. However, a few great people have changed the world. They were certainly not charlatans, and many have been called saints or sages. These few may be worth studying.

If you are looking for enlightenment, you will not find it through them, though you may find a few good pointers. So, what does mark the enlightened? The truly enlightened have an authority that is indomitable, yet not overbearing. They process a knowing that is unchallenged by pain, hardship or
intellectual discourse. It stands on the firm ground of being that is prior to intellect, so it is not challenged by it. Being prior tointellect, it's authority is greater than intellect or feeling.

They have imbibed an experience, a knowing, that cannot be logically justified to themselves or another. Yet the results of that experience places them on rock solid ground, where the personality is finally at rest. Fasting in that state, nothing can take it away.

A sure sign of the truly enlightened is a humbleness in equal proportion to their abilities. Their constant mantra, spoken or unspoken, in their words and between the lines of their writing, is the affirmation, "Not I, not I, but spirit." They may call their gift Spirit, God, Christ, Buddha, Matraiya, Source or Self, but the "Not I" is their primary stance. They may be pacifists or martial artists, but their pervasive attitude is one of surrender to that which is whole, transcendent, beyond the grasp
of intellect, self contained, complete and at rest.

No matter how brilliant their writing, how clear their thinking, how deep their awareness may be, if you feel the taint of ego -- the touch of me and mine, of specialness, this is not an enlightened master. This is not to disparage the ego. The ego is a necessary and useful tool for Source. Without an ego, what is there to surrender? The body-mind needs an ego for its particular work. But the enlightened sees the ego as a tool, like an arm or a leg. It is there, at the moment of surrender, just
another tool for spirit to use.

Another way to make the same point is that in the Sage, the ego has expanded to include the whole. In the East they may say the denial of the ego is the path to enlightenment. In the West we may say
that the individual self, the ego has expanded to include the whole. Either way, the result is the same, a powerful presence, filled with humility, but sure. As Nisargadatta points out, "The sinner and the saint are just exchanging notes."

All the truly enlightened express the drooping off of fear, of guilt of sadness and hope. They are those who have risen above the apparent opposites of fear and hope, where these defining feelings are merged into a bliss -- "peace that passes understanding." There is NO understanding it with the conventional mind. The Buddhists have fine tuned this knowledge with their many metaphors. The finger pointing to the moon is not the moon.

The "eternal now" is a backdrop of the enlightened one's talks. There is only, truly the present, and this is seen and felt in their words and behavior. When you are with a saint, a guru or priest, who speaks, yet claims, it is not I speaking, who acts, but claims no praise or glory for himself, these are signs of being in the presence of Source.