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There are just two sorts of writing on ‘enlightenment’: that written by the unenlightened, and that written by the ‘enlightened’.

All of that written by the unenlightened is best discarded. It can only further confusion.

Just two examples:

Big Think

Psychology Today

There’s never any basis for picking on anyone, and especially not on these well-intentioned authors,1 it’s just that these articles exemplify the unavoidably wrong-headed apprehensions of the self.

Disentangling this conveniently illustrates the general problems that there are in the unenlightened attempting to describe ‘enlightenment’.

The authors are talking of their ‘conceptions’ of ‘enlightenment’ — and these are of course concepts, which are mental concepts of the self.

In the first link, this basically reduces to ‘enlightenment’ being either e-nlightenment, AKA minor insights — or E-nlightenment, some mind-blowing experience, some remaking of the self into a new form.

It’s not either of these. It does not involve the self. So it’s not exciting. It’s utterly ordinary. Remember?

“Before enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water. After enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water.”

In the second link it’s ‘the state of consciousness all spiritual seekers hope for.’ Well, it’s not static, so it’s not a state. It’s not ‘consciousness’. It’s not ‘spiritual’ either.

It’s being, now.

The second article claims that ‘We are all born enlightened’.

We are all born without a self, that is true. But enlightenment is post-self. You have to go through self and out the other side. What the heck else is the sad thing for?

The end point is not arriving at ‘your authentic self’. It’s not having a self.

The author says, ‘One of the myths around enlightenment is that it is a durable experience that never changes… I have never met individuals who experienced a steady, never-ending, enlightened state, where analysis by the mind never interferes at any point’. Clearly, for no such thing is or could be — there is no state of enlightenment.2 The author then confuses ‘enlightenment’ with mastery of the automatic processes of thinking, which is a separate, unconnected (though worthwhile) step.

‘Enlightenment’ here is generally conflated with ‘peak experiences’ which are definitively not ‘enlightenment’. After the peak, the sleeper again sleeps.

The second article ends with a section about the wonders of accepting human being-ness. And revelling in emotion.  And ‘learning personal love’.

Well, in enlightenment what you lose is the person and its notional — personal — love.

And when you are enlightened, well sorry, your human being status is lost. Given up.

There’s just being. And seeing unconditioned love. Not being unconditioned love — enlightened being is not big enough for that. Enlightened being is really small. It’s not heavy. It’s light as a feather. It’s nothing at all. And everything.

The unheard

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Why is there this mis-apprehension? Well, it’s because no self was ever enlightened. No self ever will be. Self is avoidance of awakeness. Self can never get it.

Enlightenment is seeing that there is no ‘you’, no self, to become enlightened.

Enlightenment is permanent and irrevocable. It’s not fun. It’s waking up.

Of course, there’s glimpses of enlightenment – that can happen, though that’s different to peak experiences. But that glimpse (probably ecstatic) definitively is not ‘being enlightened’. Enlightenment is not ecstatic, it’s really down as low as one can go. Right down in the crap-laden — so fertile — soil of life. Rooted in being.

No self would ever want it, because it’s the end of the self.

What do the (probably) enlightened say about it?

There is not a single reason in the world it won’t happen to you. I just don’t have any clue as to how. Or even if there is a how.

The YOU that will let it happen or deny it or whatever, in fact, has nothing at all to do with it. That’s the YOU that is seen to be unreal when you wake up. It’s an important point. Because even saying that gives you this false sense that you are now supposed to DO something, that something being allowing or letting or whatever.

Amara Strand

Nothing will get the person out of their prison because the person is the prison. When the person drops away, it is seen that there never was a prison in the first place.

Richard Sylvester

The fundamental conflict in the spiritual quest is that ego desires spiritual enlightenment, but ego can never achieve spiritual enlightenment. Self cannot achieve no-self.

Jed McKenna

Nothing written on this site and nothing ‘you’ can do will help ‘you’ become ‘enlightened’. It happens or not, by no action of ‘you’, of the self. Your self will NEVER ‘get it’.

All the same, it can and does happen. And instead of ‘what you are’ disappearing, it is revealed. And that’s as clearly as I can state it from here and now.

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay 

  1. though traditionally, the road to where, is paved with what?
  2. There’s no states, qv.