Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Enlightenment - No Big Whoop!

Twenty years ago this month, "I" 'woke up'. What did that look like? Well, having gone through more than 15 years as a Vedic priest, monk, etc., and then hundreds and hundreds of hours of intense inquiry into the question, "Who Am I?", both alone and with others, gradually what began to be recognized, first in rather small glimpses and finally in one colossal boom (so to speak) was the realization that who I am, or really more appropriately What I Am, is Consciousness or Awareness or Presence, or ??? - Lots of names point to it, none really fully cover it. There was a shift which exposed that I wasn't so much the body/mind thing, as the Awareness within which the whole Aja-thing was occurring, along with everything else. The entire universe rested upon, and was permeated by that Awareness. Where was "I"? Where was this Awareness? Everywhere and no where. It just was. (And IS.)

Now, at the time, it seemed ultra cool, so to speak, which also means that immediately the ego was stepping in and claiming it (i.e. 'ultra cool') However, 20 years 'later' I recognize that it is no big whoop! It is NOT an end; it is not a big deal; it is not the ultimate of ultimates. It is, like most anything else, simply a transition, a step along the stage, very much like reaching puberty, or in other ways like seeing yourself in a mirror for the first time.

Very often I hear people talking about having their astrological chart done, or finding out their enneagram, or their IQ, or their whatever, as some incredible revelation. It's not. While it may be helpful in understanding who you are, it doesn't really change anything. It's like seeing yourself in a mirror for the first time. "OH!!! That's what I look like." It doesn't change anything - it simply reveals what has always been the fact.

Waking up to 'Who' or 'What' you are is the same. You have ALWAYS been Awareness, and NOT limited to this small personified ego. You were only SO identified and enmeshed in that ego that you failed to look at what you are in addition to, or prior to that limited persona. You failed to ask, "Who or What is it that is aware OF that persona?" Once you do, it's like, "Oh. THIS is what I am." and eventually it's rather obvious and taken for granted.

I liken it very much to (and excuse the analogy) of finding out what sex you are. You may go around wondering, "Am I a man or a woman, a man or a woman, a man or a woman?" One quick glimpse downward will generally reveal what you have always been - a man or a woman. And then what? Big whoop. You simply now know what was already the case. And what will you DO with that? Will you use that knowledge to go more deeply into being a man or a woman? Will you ignore it and act like the other gender, as many now are choosing to do? Will you actually use that sexual gender for its function in the sexual/reproductive act? Or will you more or less ignore it as a 'big whoop'.

"When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 1st Corinthians 13.11

Wakefulness, like puberty (or recognizing what sex you are) is a simple and rather natural transition. Many have it and ignore it. Like my friend Ram says, "There are probably 10,000 enlightened housewives in India." Many others have it and try to lead others to it, making it a big deal, which it is if you haven't recognized it. And many make it a collectible (or rather the ego does), "First, I'll get my degree, then a good job, then I'll get enlightened, then I'll get married, then I'll shop at Ikea for a nice bedroom set, then I'll ....." Taking this approach, most often find that they are still at the mercy of the ego persona. They know who they are, but they continue to identify back with the individualized persona and seek to fulfill all its desires. But this is what caused the suffering in the first place. It is at this point, that if one truly wants to 'grow up' or continue on the upward growth path they begin to ask some new questions - What is this world? What IS this Awareness that "I" arise from? What is God? Where does the suffering come from? In other words, it is time to put away 'childish' things. In THIS culture, at this time, this is far more difficult. Why? Because virtually EVERYTHING in this culture advocates continuing to play with every childish toy in the world, to the neglect of actually growing up (i.e. wiser). In other words, figuring out a newer or different way to satisfy the ego's desires is not giving up childish things. It is not maturing. It's the same old game.

Imagine if every cell in your body decided to act only for it's own satisfaction, refusing to 'die' and expanding like crazy while devouring everything around it. We have a term for that. It's called Cancer! And that is essentially the nature of the world today. You have billions of humans all wanting what their ego tells them. The real benefit of waking up is the recognition that 'you' don't really mean much. You (as ego) is just one of the millions of fluxes in infinite Awareness. So, then, with any luck and grace, you begin to inquire more deeply into what IS this Awareness? Where does IT come from? And gradually, THIS is the beginning of the Real inquiry into what is GOD! The SOURCE! You begin to want to be of service to the Source, to God, to the Whole, and not continue to pursue childish and selfish ambitions. So, this is the real import of waking up, just as the recognition of sexuality precedes having a child, so does recognition of What you are as Awareness precede the real inquiry into God. NOW, you are in the same playing field, and the real journey begins. It is like trying to climb Mt. Everest while still in your living room. First you have to get to the base of the mountain, THEN you can actually begin the climb.

Okay, so it's a little more than "No big whoop", but it is also certainly not the end of the journey! The journey just continues into a more and more deeply intimate absorption into the Godhead.

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