Firstly I preface by saying I wouldn’t even put spiritual and enlightenment in the same sentence, other than in this article’s title to appeal to us, the spiritual seekers who stumble upon Live Learn Evolve. I’ve worked on this site for a few years now and I’ve gotten to know and converse with many of you that seek to end suffering both for themselves and globally for all. The gist of what this path has shown me is outlined below:
At the centre of Spirituality lies a profound paradox. There is a perpetual motivation to seek liberation, yet seeking is the very act that obscures the realisation that liberation is already present.
WHAT IT ISN’T
Everyone has their own ideas, concepts and beliefs about what enlightenment or liberation is – an expectation about how things might be when we are enlightened. And further, who it might be that’ll show us the way – often this path is linked to a mental depiction of some god-like manifestation. Perhaps an Indian sage wrapped in a white tablecloth that just happened to incarnate as pure joy. Or maybe you envision a modern day Jesus figure with a man bun who speaks in metaphors and claims to be channelling another entity. They are all unique manifestations sure, but so are you.
All expectations of liberation are futile. Drop them all. The mind may have conjured up the characteristics of an enlightened being or how happy one might be once enlightenment is experienced. But, it’s these expectations and projections of how things should be that lead us into ignorance. There’s literally no idea or concept that is of any use here because they’re all mind-made. Lets try going beyond language.
KICK OFF THE PEDESTAL.
In all those seekers I’ve crossed paths with most have held a deep underlying belief of unworthiness. A lack of faith in one’s potential. Replaced instead, by a hope that one might obtain some idealistic situation in a future that hasn’t arrived yet. How beautiful, this is the great game of ‘hide and seek’ and fuck me do we like to seek. I for one have spent countless hours pouring over information, intellectualising what has been realised, only to realise it can’t be intellectualised – what a ride!
Furthermore, this perhaps reveals the underlying motivation for putting the Guru on the pedal stool, where by default, we place ourselves lower than the teacher. Think Christ at the altar or Muhammad, the ‘one and only’ great Prophet – these commonalities thread through each path. We are free to choose whichever particular visual mentation we want to project our idealistic self onto but, any suggestion that they are just ordinary human beings that shared the same divine potential as any of other being is often met with friction and blind rejection. After all, how long would a religion last without a deified figurehead?
If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha.
Only live your life as it is,
Not bound to anything.”
– Gautama Buddha
WHAT IS IT?
Liberation is nothing of a supernatural or religious nature. It is the nature of your own self. The cessation of seeking and seeker. You can’t attain it, simply because you aren’t devoid of it. You can’t be freed, simply because you are already free. It’s your ever present essential being. It’s what you are already, so why shouldn’t you come to know it?
I remember at a 10-day vipassana retreat last year I came to experience what is traditionally described as Samadhi – defined briefly as a meditative absorption with everything in existence – it was a totally immersive cry-your-eyes-out sense of love and gratitude for everything in existence – and like all sensations it was temporary. Excited to share my experience with the teacher I approached him the next day “I had an experience of total ecstasy yesterday and I want to thank you for that” hoping that it would again continue in today’s meditation “Forget about that experience. Just be happy.” he replied. I smiled and walked away feeling like he didn’t quite understand and he was devaluing what felt like the best experience of my life. But it hit me hard months later when I realised the essence of what he meant. That an experience is just that, an experience. Which has no relevance to now. Right now. I was clinging to that by hoping I’d repeat that experience again and ‘make more progress’ unaware that was perpetuating an unnecessary cycle of seeking to be something more than what already is.
“To ask the right question demands a great deal of intelligence and sensitivity. Here is a question, a fundamental question: is life a torture? It is, as it is; and man has lived in this torture centuries upon centuries, from ancient history to the present day, in agony, in despair, in sorrow; and he doesn’t find a way out of it. Therefore he invents gods, churches, all the rituals, and all that nonsense, or he escapes in different ways. What we are trying to do, during all these discussions and talks here, is to see if we cannot radically bring about a transformation of the mind, not accept things as they are, nor revolt against them. Revolt doesn’t answer a thing. You must understand it, go into it, examine it, give your heart and your mind, with everything that you have, to find out a way of living differently. That depends on you, and not on someone else, because in this there is no teacher, no pupil; there is no leader; there is no guru; there is no Master, no Saviour. You yourself are the teacher and the pupil; you are the Master; you are the guru; you are the leader; you are everything. And to understand is to transform what is.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti
YOU SAID THIS WAS A HOW TO GUIDE.
This is where the idea of self-improvement misdirects us. Sure you can get better at doing things by repeating logical processes but, if it’s in the interest of liberation, self-improvement is the unnecessary hamster wheel. I started this website as a platform for self-improvement, only to come face to face with the ultimate paradox. There’s really no self to be improved. Only false beliefs to be dropped.
The solution lies in complete awareness. In such awareness there is no judgment, no conflict, no separation from the problem, no self to be improved or fixed, no direction. It is open, relaxed seeing. Available right here – right now. All that was required was to stop seeking, because the experience of liberation is felt, not thought.
Quite simply, whatever teaching you are getting right now is exactly the teaching you need to be getting. I can’t guide you simply because there’s nowhere to go, liberation is already here and now.
If you still want to continue seeking, some helpful books can be found here in 10 spiritual enlightenment books that cut through the new age bullshit or to examine what is here, a direct approach is through self enquiry.