Sunday, May 15, 2016

Knowledge of Enlightenment

If one defines enlightenment as an experience one is open to a myriad of experiences. Each individual person experiences things differently. This being so, defining enlightenment as an experience opens a floodgate of experiences that may or may not be repeatable. Defining enlightenment as an experience is a quagmire from which few escape.

However, if one defines enlightenment as knowledge, clarity can be found. Knowledge of water as H2O, for example, is hard and fast knowledge. It is a repeatable understanding. This is knowledge that can be transmitted.

Enlightenment is reachable with knowledge. The knowledge of enlightenment can be taught, and the means of transmitting that knowledge has been been around for a long time. It is relatively unknown, however, due to the fact that many have only partial knowledge, and they teach experience in which we are captivated. We are then caught in chasing spiritual experiences.

Most of us who become seekers readily find liturature tauting experiential stories that appear to be profound. They are intriguing, mystical, and utterly fascinating. But searching for enlightenment in these murky waters is a crap shoot. You'll be very lucky to find enlightenment through experiences. They are too varied.

Mind you, I am not against experiences. They can be a motivating force, but they are not the goal. The goal is not an experience. It is a knowledge that has to be gained, and you are unlikely to get this knowledge from anyone teaching experience.

We are hard wired into duality. The body is discovered and as experience with the body advances, the protective mechanism of the ego develops and takes on the position of "I." But the bodily experiences that become the "I" are a story appearing in consciousness. A story that is tragic, or wonderful, but usually both. The "I" becomes the defacto me which then struggles its way through life.

But the story we create is a small piece of the picture. If we do well in the picture we accept our interpretation of experience as correct. If our experience of our story is tragic, we may question our assumptions. This sometimes turns out to be a good turn of events, though until we have a deeper knowledge, we may not appreciate this fact.

Although we are hard wired to develop an ego, and it does serve us in manipulating our way in the manifested world, it is not true knowledge. Experience tells us that the sun comes and goes, but in fact it does not. Neither does the world drop off at the horizon.

Everything that we see is manifested. It appears to be as we see it. It takes deep questioning to peer beneath the surface. Truly examining what is manifested is difficult. In fact, it is almost impossible without a true teaching which conveys the knowledge of non duality.

A true teaching will therefore, not try to lead you to experience something. A true teaching will have a means of transferring the knowledge. The teaching will need a full and complete series of understandings to bring you to the final truth. That is what Advaita Vedanta is.

Contemplation, and risking your well ordered understanding of "How things are," will be necessary. For what you assume to be true, your perception of reality, may in fact be ignorance. So, the difficulty is obvious. Who is willing to examine their ignorance? It is unsettling to say the least.

To come to the conclusion that duality is an illusory perception of our being is not a walk in the park. It takes open mindedness, and risk taking. The trek may entail letting ones fears be what they are, and yet pursuing the truth anyway.

You might say that pursuing truth, which equates to freedom, has to be a burning desire for which you are willing to risk everything. That everything, boils down to risking yourself, as you see yourself, into an understanding which reduces that self to an insignificance. Who is going to pursue that?

I am just trying to save you time. I pursued enlightenment for 40 years. Knowing nothing better than what I read, I thought I had to have a particular experience, and then I would know. But that is not the way it works. it didn't work for me.

I had plenty of spiritual, mystical, mind blowing experiences. But experiences come and go, and they are not easily, if ever, repeatable. After some of these experiences, life itself became meaningless in comparison to the experiences that had receded.

Eventually I learned that enlightenment was not an experience, but a knowing, an understanding. That understanding, when pursued, does lead to enlightenment. That understanding is actually very simple. All is one. All is simply forms of appearance in awareness.

This understanding leaves you standing alone as all that is. Simple, direct knowing. This understanding relieves you of seeking experiences. It frees you of feeling that you need just one more mystical experience to convince you that you are enlightened.

Advaita Vedanta has the means to teach this knowledge. If you avail yourself of this knowledge, you will come to understanding. With the understanding, your search will be over. Then you are free. 

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