4/22/2007

Got Enlightenment?


“I know more than the greatest philosophers because I know that I don’t know anything.” - Socrates

“If I doubt, I know I do not know… If I am mistaken, I must exist.” - St. Augustine

Don't confuse enlightenment with understanding. In truth, there is nothing to understand and no one there to say, "I get it!" Of this I am absolutely certain because I don't understand.


To say, “I don’ get it,” is a sign of nobility. Getting is possessiveness. It reaffirms the owner, this little "I." “Getting it" perpetuates the illusion of ego.
If enlightenment were something to get, then "I" could go to a university and "get" a PHD in enlightenment. But enlightenment has nothing whatsoever to do with thinking.

Enlightenment is an ocean of Silence, where awareness rests in its own bounty. On the surface of this sea, thoughts arise and dissolve like bubbles. Each of these bubbles is accompanied by a little "I" who "gets" it. But the sea itself has no "I."


Let these bubbles play and dissolve, appear and disappear. Just watch them. It is so interesting to watch our thoughts, our little concept-bubbles, each with its own little "I."
A thought arises as a disturbance, a ripple, in the ocean of Silence. The wave of thought is polarized into a subject and an object. If there is a thought-wave, then there is a thinker who arises in that wave to think the thought. Every thought gives rise to its own momentary thinker.

When the thought-bubble bursts, its “I” dissolves with it. But our memory holds these bubbles together like beads in a necklace called "me." We sustain this illusion as long as we want to do the work of carrying around the precious bejeweled necklace. Its gemstones are very heavy. Most of us waste the greater part of our energy working at this task, perpetuating the illusion of a permanent self, a string of memories. This so-called self is a stream of infinitesimal "I's" that accompany instantaneous bubbles of thought. Not one of them has any actual continuity or substance.


The effort to give continuity to a momentary “I” as it arises with a thought is the cause of our suffering.

Stop trying to force the ocean into a bubble of understanding!
You are the ocean. You are indefinable, limitless, indivisible, eternal and pure, and so simply available to yourself that there is nothing to understand.

Look at the ocean: every wave at its crest is an individual object, but at its base the wave is the whole sea, and includes every other wave. This is not mysticism but simple physics.


How playful and luminous the world becomes when there is nothing to get, and no one to get it! No you, no me, just the oceanic dance of We. We are sparkles of each other on an ocean of awareness.


Enlightenment can never be "mine" or "yours". In every faith tradition, the holy Spirit is not an individual but a We: a Cloud of Witnesses, a Sangha, a gathered Meeting.

Enlightenment is the noble freedom of playfulness, where nobody has to get anything.

Got it?