or most people enlightenment (Enlightenment) means nothing whatsoever. If they think about it at all or even consider it for a little while, they are likely to confuse it with some mystical state or attainment of wisdom. Or, they may remember the “Enlightenment” of the rationalists of the eighteenth century who misappropriated this term from the religious traditions to claim apparent victory of reason, logic, and knowledge over mere belief, doctrine, and ignorance. At best those who consider it to any degree will view it as having no immediate relevance to their own life. Others of course will see it as a goal of meditation or a hatha yoga discipline and believe after 6 months of such practices, themselves enlightened. But for the most people who only watch the ‘news’ and read the daily papers consider it a questionable mental state characteristic or religious zealots, mad gurus, crazy cults and only for people of a very unstable psychology.
In fact, people are likely to misinterpret Enlightenment in any conceivable way, provided it ends up having no personal significance. Enlightenment, it would seem, is acceptable to them only so long as it far enough away from personal lives. To ponder Enlightenment as a present possibility is experienced as a threat. It is only conceivable or thinkable as contained in a very socially democratic, egalitarian context. In this context enlightenment can be kept in a mythological, mystical and ancient way of life which has very little applicability to the 21st century except in its colorful artistic thankas and museums.
So what is paradoxical about the general ‘unenlightened’ view of Enlightenment is the people who consider it rather odd are also very much believers in God. Now that is very strange since enlightenment has very thing to do with God!
God, Truth or Reality are all names for the same ‘thing’. Of course, this ‘thing’ is neither easily comprehended and almost never agreed upon. And so we are in an interesting dilemma when it comes to talking about matters such as Enlightenment, God, Reality, and Truth.
The paradox is this. God or Reality is not obvious to the un-Enlightened mind. Enlightened minds are seen a psychotic or deluded and yet God, Truth and Reality exists!
God, Truth, and Reality exists not as an object, an idol for example. Nor does God, Truth of Reality exist as a subject, a mystical state or vision. God, Truth or Reality is of a Transcendental nature, In Truth, God, Truth or Reality is the Source and Condition of All of Nature, even our own True Nature.
So why isn’t this obvious? It is not obvious because we are not Enlightened! We are deluded, confused, angry, fearful and continually looking for something that is Only Obvious, like the breath under one’s nose.
What makes it not so Obvious, and therefore Enlightening is a ‘little thing’ called “I’. This ‘I’ or another word for it is ‘me’, is the only ‘thing’ that stands between what is true and real and what if false and illusory.
The current understanding of philosophy, psychology and yes even science, that grand god of the 19th and 20th century, is based on principles and beliefs very much like the understanding and beliefs of religion and spirituality. We are in a very mad time as we enter the 21st century.
We are mad with ourselves and our lack of understanding of what is True and Real. We then take this madness and view the world as mad and then try to control our little portion of it with the best means we have available, ourselves.
Now that’s a paradox! I’m mad at me and that makes me mad at you. You make me mad because you’re mad at you and so our madness is confirmed because I don’t understand ‘me’ and you don’t understand ‘you’.
And so we tone it down with form of belief, some forms of control, some forms of satisfaction, and lots of walls of security and plenty of weapons for defense.
This is our present state of the world, our communities, religion our psychology. We have opted out of Enlightenment and sold it to Security. We are now is a questionable and demanding time. Either we begin to understand the underlying principles of our fears, our sorrows, and our anger or we will continue to back ourselves into our corners, protecting our homes, communities, families, and beliefs all the while pushing away all foreigners, foreign objects, and beliefs which will create a tension that can make an inside boom or an outside boom! Our choice, our challenge.
Enlightenment is the principle of existence. And when there is Enlightenment, then the purpose of existence is obvious. The purpose of existence is to Transform manifestation, to Transfigure existence, to glorify Being in form.
What is being worked out up to this point in human history is the process of Awakening, of Realizing the Immortal Condition. Once That is Realized by everyone, other kinds of enterprises can begin. Perhaps Siddhas who are not only Awakeners will begin to appear and start developing the arts potential in the seventh stage of life. That is why I am looking forward to a whole community of seventh stage practitioners – people who are already Awake and with whom I can become involved in the affair of developing the art and science associated with Enlightenment itself.
However, even if there was a seventh stage community, that kind of demonstration would not become universalized in my lifetime. Yes, the seed of it can appear in my lifetime, and that is in fact what I am here to do.
Da Free John, May 9, 1983