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..:: Enlightenment I / Essentials ::..

By

Alan Schneider

                                                                                                                                                  

              In considering the subject of Enlightenment we are dealing with the process that bonds our awareness to the Soul and the Logos, themselves supreme expressions of Enlightened consciousness.  Enlightenment is more than a deep understanding of the profound spiritual linkages that achieve Creation – it is a living organismic connection to them that pervades us throughout, and sees external as well as internal expression everywhere consciousness extends to.  The achievement of Enlightenment is the highest goal to which we can aspire in this life.  

            Enlightenment may be defined as the attainment of the deepest level of spiritual comprehension regarding a condition or process in life.  This lies well beyond the simple mechanical understanding of superficial causes and effects demonstrated on the Physical Plane, and mediated by the ego.  Although this level of functioning can be quite useful, and certainly has extended physical survival value, it usually conceals and obscures the spiritual vectors that lie beyond the prevue of the ego.  Enlightenment frequently begins when we wonder about the meaning of the whole universe and its processes, of life and its origins and end, and of our consciousness itself, as we more thoroughly investigate our beliefs, emotions, and thoughts.  

            The process of Enlightenment necessarily involves spiritual practice and investigation – customarily beyond what is provided by the popularly available faiths of a given culture or society, which are so often intended to produce bland acceptance and social conformity to some generally accepted normative system or other.  Enlightenment is what happens when we begin to think and search outside the box of the conventional, and possibly also the acceptable.  Enlightenment occurs when we question the basic assumptions by which we have unconsciously been living our lives.  When the Buddha was asked how his awareness fundamentally differed from ordinary consciousness, he simply replied “I am awake” – implying that he had become fully conscious in the here and now on the most expanded level possible – aware of himself, of others, of the universe, and of the common bonds uniting all these expressed as the Universal Self.  

            Enlightenment frequently begins with the expression of one or more synchronicities – meaningful coincidences – spontaneously occurring in the environment with persistency across time.  Eventually, the human observer will notice these puzzling manifestations, which generally do not fit into the routine of one’s life, and begin to wonder about their meaning.  Enlightenment can also begin in trauma and psychological or physical injury, additional events occurring outside the normal course of existence that force us to stop and ponder on our circumstances.  In fact, any interruption of the somnambulistic trance of habit that then switches on our attention again is potentially Enlightening under the right conditions.  So, Enlightenment is closely associated with the unusual, extraordinary, and with novel experiences in consciousness.  

            Synchronicities frequently exist in lengthy chains of association and events that may span many years of life, and many instances of manifestation within those years, all of which will be meaningfully revealed to the investigator in progressive stages of discovery, resulting in an ever increasing level of Enlightened comprehension regarding the events involved.  At some point within this process, the matter of spiritual origin and causality will invariably occur within the investigators consciousness.  This is the point where many cease investigation and observation, preferring to return to their perhaps more comfortable customs and circumstances that do not compel them to confront the immanence of spirit in human affairs.  The price paid by such individuals for the renewal of their trance is that it is never quite so easy again – the lingering doubts raised by the investigation tend to reside in the background of consciousness whispering to the ego, and, in some cases, shouting for the investigation to resume.  In order for this to happen, we must squarely face the implication that our awareness is the result of spiritual action manifesting on the Physical Plane.  Only then can we continue forward.  

            If we lived in Enlightened social systems – which is almost never the case – the need for Enlightenment would be far reduced, because it would occur intrinsically in the fabric of our society.  The fact of the matter is that we have barely begun to emerge from the purely instinctual animal condition, for all of our technology and apparent sophistication.  The pinnacle of the animal condition is the ego, and even literal animals display evidence of this in the form of their personal behavioral traits – dogs, cats, horses, sheep, cattle, and even wild animals, display some level of personal behavior beyond basic instinct.  In the case of the human animal, this mental/social structure has become evolved to a much more considerable extent by virtue of our enhanced cranial capacity and the associated ability to learn and adapt.  But the same primitive instincts still tend to determine our consciousness and behavior that have existed since the dawn of life – the drives to feed, excrete, breed, seek safety, and seek territory have not changed – and if we remain in our unconscious trance, we are completely at their mercy.  Such is the outcome of biology in the flesh...            

            When not subject to Enlightenment – and this is the baseline human conscious state – we are necessarily involved in the obverse condition of ignorance.  As the root meaning of this term – to ignore – implies, ignorant individuals choose (admittedly often completely unconsciously) to ignore the synchronicities that may manifest around them in the world.  The external panoply of events and involvements constitute a powerful distractive force in consciousness, and it is the natural result of ego based information processing to simply attend to these distractions, and very little else.  But, who looks without, sleeps, and who looks within awakens – it is within that the synchronicity directs our awareness, even if it is initially manifest externally, and it is within that the spiritual meaning – the ultimately real and absolute meaning – of both internal and external events is to be found.  This is what the Buddha meant when he said “I am awake” – “I am ignoring nothing”!  

            Beyond the ego are many additional levels of knowing, experiencing, and being that are radiating forth from the Soul and the Logos, initially as synchronicities of whatever character, and with the possibility of full Enlightenment at the destination of the spiritual process.  Even if we do not choose to acknowledge these as the independent states of higher conscious manifestation just noted, we must admit to their existence as discreet elements of a much more expanded state of awareness than simple thought and sensory experience, and also admit to the possibility that they extend and exist beyond the boundaries of the physical organism.  This is the first step “outside the box” of the ego, and it is necessarily where synchronicity will lead us.  

            Apart from any considerations of immortality, extra-personal awareness, and Ascension, the fact remains that conditioning is the prison of consciousness, and the ego is the jailer, however comfortable and convenient our personal cages may be.  Enlightenment is, above all else, the recognition of the Truth of Consciousness while still encased in the material form of the body, releasing a Divine Light that dispels all ignorance, and a Divine Love that heals all wounds.  It is therefore incumbent on everyone who wishes to know true freedom of Self to pursue The process of Enlightenment and courageously follow the trail of synchronicities laid out for them, without regard for the perilousness of the journey that may follow.  There is, after all, no safe, easy way to be free...   

            The process of Enlightenment, as has been previously noted here, tends to unfold in stages that have the effect of making the whole development significantly less stressful for the investigator.  The legitimate spiritual systems of history and the world – those that are originating from Love and Light, as opposed to Fear and Ignorance – frequently label these stages in some fashion that involves an ascending order of spiritual potency, originating in the fundamentally ignorant condition of Physical Plane, and progressively climbing to higher and higher states of Illuminated perception, personal peace, and spiritual Grace.  Yoga has the Chakra System as its preferred model of this mode of development, Cabala has the Tree of Life, Buddhism has the Noble Eight Fold Path, the Tao has the Water Course Way, and Christianity has the Holy Communion with the Logos through Christ, to name a few popular interpretations of Enlightenment, and there are many more evident in history.  But, the essential mechanism is perhaps most effectively described by the well known Hindu concept of Karma, something that, for this reason, deserves special attention here.  Karma is the spiritual framework given to the Soul by the Logos at incarnation that determines all of the possibilities of experience, including Enlightenment, which can manifest in this existence, including the system or systems that we select to represent that process, when, and if, we begin to experience it.  

            It is quite probable, based on the obvious physical evidence abounding everywhere, that the majority of human beings have basal Karma consisting of suffering to one extent or another – this is why the Buddha said that the Greatest Noble Truth is that all of life is suffering in one form or another.  The more fortunate among us have Karma that permits the awakening – i.e. Enlightenment – process to manifest at some point in physical existence, and this awakening will follow some course that is also Karmically predetermined by the Logos for the JivaAtman – the individual, personal Soul.  This is as opposed to the MahaAtman, or Great Soul, of the entire human race, or of the Earth as a whole – sometimes referred to as the World Soul or Over Soul.  Even with all of the associated difficulties involved,  the possibility of Enlightenment is the greatest of all gifts given to human beings, otherwise, we remain asleep and unborn, no matter how superficially pleasant our lives may seem to be.  Such is the ego trance – a thin mask of gratification over our deep suffering, one that is fated to fall off eventually.  

             As the Enlightenment process advances, the Karma that we have come into the world with is converted to Dharma – spiritual awareness – through Ascension in the Spirit.  Every time we are able to step out of the ego, our spiritual perception increases a little, and with it, our understanding of life, other people, and consciousness, permanently elevating and expanding our perspective on existence.  Eventually, we are able to understand with finality that the Logos is the Source of all Manifestation, Light, and Love, and that the indwelling Soul is the ultimate Divine Gift of that Source, manifest in the Heart as Grace and Compassion.  We have become One with The One in the experience of Samadhi, and have reached the end of all suffering.

            The Enlightenment process involves constant striving and discipline as the price of participation – this is the Buddhist conception of Dharma, which differs somewhat from the Hindu. For the Buddhist, Dharma is the Wheel of the Eight Fold Path, and requires constant devotion to the disciplinary goals of that Path to offset the continuous human tendency to backslide into the trance of ego gratification – there is no permanent emergence into Samadhi, only the temporary excursion into the comparable state of Satori – the non-dual experience objectless perception of the One Self.  But, regardless of the spiritual valence involved, if we can embrace the possibility of Enlightenment, and follow our spiritual intuition, we have begun life’s most important journey along the Soul’s path of Self Realization and Salvation!

                                           - With Love, Alan -

                         (Copyright 2010, by Alan Schneider)

 

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