Look, Ma, I'm Enlightened
What do you do to become enlightened? What are the signs that you are succeeding? How does your life change as you become more enlightened?
There is nothing you need to do first in order to be enlightened.
All potential experiences are within you already. You can open up to them at any time, faster than instantaneously, just by being there.
But there's no hurry. Total expansion is always there, beyond time, within and around you. You need only open your awareness at the pace you find safe and comfortable. If LSD is too fast, go slower. This is home. We all belong in the universe.
Nothing gets in our way, but most of us are likely to open up in stages, gradually. We tend to go up in cycles of emotion: after each burst of euphoric realization, we may hit a new and different kind of negativity, the next thing we need to learn to love. But the higher you go, the easier it gets.
The experience of complete awareness being space, does not mean being presently conscious of every detail in the universe, every possible relationship between limited, withdrawn entities. Being space is a readiness to be aware fully of anything conceivable. It means we have no resistance, no denial of any concept or relationship. Therefore, to achieve enlightenment, we are not required to gather any particular set of ideas or experiences, virtues or sufferings. Anything that exists can be experienced with a completely expanded awareness.
Regardless of how you have limited your awareness, you are a free and self-determined being. No other live being, nor any group of beings, can control your vibration level so there is nothing in the universe, especially the physical part of it, that can counter your free will.
That means that the physical world has no power over you whatsoever: it doesn't tempt you, it doesn't corrupt you, it doesn't get in the way of enlightenment, "it" doesn't do anything to you.
You are the sole cause of your level of existence. Your internal condition is never programmed. The experience of being forced or controlled against your will can occur only when you make yourself dense, when you contract your awareness.
Our reality at any level consists of whatever unique conscious beings we perceive as alive, and the process of enlightenment is expanding our comprehension of other beings, until we experience everything as a live interaction.
The more we withdraw from loving other beings, the more of a "physical" world we will contend with, the more mass-obsessed we become. On the other hand, the more we open up to our brothers and sisters, the less solid the world becomes.
Enlightenment is any experience of expanding our consciousness beyond its present limits. We could also say that perfect enlightenment is realizing that we have no limits at all, and that the entire universe is alive.
The difficulty in writing about it, and in all efforts to tell how to achieve it, comes of trying to use limited terms to talk about going beyond limits. To be enlightened is to be in a state of flexible awareness, an open mind. Enlightenment is the very process of expanding, not of arriving at a different set of limits.
There is no one correct way of looking at life "after" enlightenment. We are not obliged to be or not be anything, as long as in our hearts and minds we are whole.
What does it mean, to be whole? It means that we must be willing to conceive of, to contain within ourselves, whatever is "other than" any limited idea. It means knowing that when we emphasize a positive, we are at the same time creating a negative. When we choose an ideal of knowledge, then we must deal with the ignorance that is other than the knowledge. When we emphasize an ideal of holiness, then we must live with the sin that is its companion, and accept our responsibility for having created it.
If we deny doing so, that is a contraction of awareness; we become dense, we become mass-level entities, we are incarnated in physical bodies. And we cannot control what we have denied creating, it is forced into our attention whether we like it or not, and so we live in a world of sin and ignorance.
However, if we remain constantly open and unresisting to such negatives, we are not compelled to dwell on them: If we allow that ugliness is always within us, then we are free to create beauty. If we know that stupidity is always within us, then we are free to emphasize this intelligence.
Love is the highest and holiest action because it always contains that which is not love within itself, it always and ever moves to include the unloving.
How often we try to figure out a cause-and-effect sequence in our experiences, when what is happening is merely a swing of alternating conditions. We may choose a negative task, like monastic discipline, and then feel rewarded. Or conversely, we may pursue a seductive pleasure, and then feel cheated. We never stand back to see that we are just swinging like pendulums.
And many of us insist on thinking of ourselves as only kind, good, and wise: we try to be pendulums that swing only to one side.
The remedy for this confusion is to be loving, to experience life without mental resistance, until we rise above mass and energy to the space level. On that level, where love is constant and our awareness is open, we will more easily comprehend the miracle of containing contradictions, opposites, and paradoxes. We will be free to experience what we choose, because we will not deny that we always contain everything other than our choice. Karma is not "paying for" exactly what you did in the past. It's just that, as you raise your vibration level, you may encounter the kind of experiences you withdrew from in the past, or you may run into anything other than what you are insisting on now. If you try to close your mind, you will drop back to a lower vibration. But if you look calmly at undesired events, absorb them mentally, and love yourself for disliking them, you will keep going higher. You might say that for a while you must take your bum trip with your high.
As you deal with and love each new disturbing phenomenon, you will begin to realize that none of the threatening evil that bothered you has disappeared from the world. But your compulsive feelings of dismay and helplessness will be gone, you will learn how to steer your way around or through turbulent vibrations and in time they won't happen to you any more. You will see how you can change your emotions and experiences by understanding their relation to your awareness level.
For instance, if your feelings fade after a deeply loving experience with someone (which is especially likely if you were high on marijuana or LSD at the time), you can understand it as a fading out of being in the same space now that you are both vibrating on a lower level again. When you know that, and know that the low mood can pass just as easily as it came on, then you are less likely to make big decisions and get into arguments because of it. You just relax your mind and watch it go by.
Currently many of us are experiencing temporary highs and flashes of illumination, especially with psychedelics available. If things get weird in new ways after such euphoric times, you need not be disturbed. It may be a sign you're going higher still.
Meanwhile we should realize that we tend to return to the vibration level where we feel stable, something we can "live with." It's the level of stability, the level where we feel ourselves to be comfortably on the same vibration with others, that needs to be changed. And that can be done only through an unresisting state of mind, a constantly expanding love.
It is quite natural, in pursuing enlightenment or just in trying to be happier, to look to your everyday experiences for signs of results. Indeed, your daily life is nothing else but an expression of your spiritual condition. Your life will change as you become more loving, but not in ways that you can exactly predict. What happens is not as important as how you react to what happens.
There is a good attitude to take towards any goal: It's nice if it happens, nice if it doesn't. Long before you get to where you can confidently make choices for the future, you may find that you are no longer interested in predicting much. You won't mind letting go of one beautiful experience because love will make the next one just as rewarding.
Similarly there isn't much specific advice to be given about what enlightened existence should be on Earth, and I am reluctant to make glowing predictions about what is possible. As we have seen, as soon as we are completely willing to create a condition, it changes into something else if our minds are blocked to alternatives. On our mass level, that "something else" is often likely to be unpleasant, and as soon as we try to withdraw from our feelings about it, we are stuck with it. That's one way to explain why ideal and beautiful events vanish from our lives, and bad and dull ones last, and the same applies in predicting a rosy future.
But no matter how vague
and unwieldy that process seems, love will overcome it. It can be safely
predicted that, as you grow more loving of yourself and others, you will in
this lifetime begin seeing every person and object as a perfect form, just
the way they are now. You will feel a rich pleasure in every moment. And
since beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, your vibrations will be
Last updated: 16th Feb 2005