Many people revel, even wallow, in their existential dilemma. Such people are convinced that it is the destiny of human beings. They see tragedy, suffering, pain, death, disillusionment and desperation all around them. How is Enlightenment possible?
As they are incapable of being observers, they identify with their human predicament. They accept it as being normal, even though our “normal” state is Oneness. The disorientation which may overcome us causes us to cast doubt on the underlying sense and purpose of life. Doubting, one of our favorite pastimes, is the inevitable consequence of dualism. Separating, dividing and distinguishing are fatal.
Don’t try to force your way.
Buddha did not arrive at enlightenment by living extremely ascetically – or through self-mortification. Rather, living in a strictly ascetic manner, Buddha’s complete exhaustion caused him to fall into the Ganges. The Buddha had to be rescued. This experience caused him to realize that there was absolutely no point in weakening and humiliating himself or wearing himself out physically and mentally. Who else could he help if could not even save himself?
The Middle Way does not demand that we push ourselves to the limit. Those who do so are victims of their egos, which asks: why not simply force your way to enlightenment? The answer: because it is impossible! You cannot force your way into the Kingdom of God.
Do not seek enlightenment.
Anyone who seeks enlightenment will never attain it. Buddha did not become enlightened through his spending long nights immersed in meditation under the Bodhi tree, which was an act of doing. His being blessed with grace came after he had fallen asleep and had woken up the next morning. The Buddha looked up and saw the morning star shining in the sky. The grace that he experienced had arisen from his having let go, letting things take their course, and from a gracious and merciful serenity.
Lose your life to find it.
The realization that “you have to lose your life to find it” has proven to be true in manifold and ever-changing ways. In the Buddha’s words, “In Heaven and on Earth, I alone am the honored one.” (The “I” is the I AM, not the individual self or the Buddha as a historical person.)
Whoever surrenders to life will live it more fully. Giving up your ego means getting a real life, one in which we are neither alone nor lonely, but All-One, all-embracing. When you have become All-One, you will also be able to state that you are the only enlightened one, as Buddha put it. The fact of the matter is that there is only One. There is nothing outside of you because you have realized yourself and realize your-self in the Self.
Die before you die.
Goethe also made this point. He stated that people have to undergo a form of spiritual death (before they physically die) prior to their achieving enlightenment. This death entails a relinquishment of the ego, of attachment to forms, and of the concept of duality. As Goethe went on to say, doing this will put you on the path towards awakening to your inherent nature and towards becoming what you truly are. “And so long as you haven’t experienced this: to die and so to grow, you are only a troubled guest on the dark earth.”
One is not capable of putting a name to that upon which not even dust can settle. Nor can one precisely describe it. It is the all-reflecting and all-encompassing consciousness that underlies all Existence and all that Is. You cannot denote something that comprises time and space, form and emptiness. You cannot denote something that encompasses to “die and become”, “to be or not to be”; something that is “without a beginning or end”. There is Nobody who can perceive and realize this. Real life exists upon there being no more ego, and no more egoistical processes focusing on the individual “I”.
Can one achieve enlightenment?
There is Nobody to be disturbed and Nobody who disturbs. No one “has” enlightenment. Nobody can grasp or “receive” enlightenment. Enlightenment is you. “If Nobody is there, then I will reveal the truth to you”.
Give up the idea that you as a separate individual can achieve spiritual progress. Do not cling to the fallacy that your actions can be the basis for enlightenment. Let go of the false belief that you are the one who is meditating. Yield to the Oneness and let it unfold what you are. Drop all the obstacles your ego throws on your path. Stop seeking and find the Self in your inner Being.
If there is Nobody to achieve enlightenment, what is left to be done?
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