The idea of enlightenment is tied up with our images of wise men and wise women. We have all sorts of preconceptions about how such wise beings are supposed to look, supposed to talk, and supposed to act… Based on our particular preconceived notions, we may try to sort out who among us is enlightened to greater or lesser degrees. We would like to match what we see with whatever standard we have created. But in doing so, not only may we apply inadequate standards but we may also be fooled…
And too, we hold ourselves up to these imagined standards, which can sometimes cause confusion.
We might even talk ourselves out of awakening.
You may or may not have noticed, that I feel a bit disappointed in my Taoist practice for the lack of emphasis it puts upon enlightenment.
This de-emphasis has even confused me, for Taoism does have a strong tradition of seeking enlightenment and becoming one with the Tao.
In fact, I loved the Taoist term for such a person. They are called “real human beings.”
So, on the path that I have walked, there have been these “tenors” to the different teachings.
In TM, we were all dead set, busting a gut on becoming enlightened.
Maharishi assured us it was possible, though he was also handing out no guarantees as to a timeframe.
Next, came Taoism and the de-emphasis. I know my initial interest with Adyashanti lay in his invitation to “all seekers of peace and freedom to take the possibility of liberation seriously.” So, you might call that something of a backlash.
Well, now, I have been listening to Adya for almost two years and I’m beginning to believe that we have little if any control upon our own awakening.
To paraphrase both Adya and Eckhart Tolle, our practice and meditation only point us in the correct direction, so if per chance Grace should strike and our ego lets go for a moment, perhaps we’ll stay awake.
So, on I plod each day now. (Will She strike today?)
And in my plodding, not so long ago, I came across Numinous Nonsense.
That’s a great name, Numinous Nonsense.
It’s also a website written by Vince Horn.
Here, I found the most cogent discussion of the spiritual seeker’s relationship to enlightenment I have ever seen.
The discussion is introduced with this quote from Buddhist teacher, Judith Lief.
So, I invite you to go there (here) to enjoy the whole discussion.
I think the topic is important.
It impinges upon “spiritual materialism” – that No-No I have often been accused of. (I can also end on prepositions.)
It also addresses best attempts to avoid this trap while still staying true to the quest.
And as long as I am on the subject, I will takes this opportunity to mention that Vince also runs a site called Buddhist Geeks which offers podcasts on interesting subjects.
I found the recent discussions on dream practice with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche very interesting.
I ordered Rinpoche’s book. Perhaps, in there I will find an explanation of my uncomfortable waking from sleep experiences. Or, an explanation of that dream I mentioned about flying.
So, that’s it for now. Don’t just sit there.
Click somewhere and learn something.
Maybe we can all have a bit of fun as we plod forward, waiting for Grace, free from spiritual materialism to whatever extent we can be. (Can you believe the term has made it into Wikipedia! How very funny and a bit strange.)