Fully extending your humanity to others is harder than it seems. Rarely found, for instance, in highly politicized people on either Left or Right, which are merely two different ways to deal with fear and love.
A lifetime of study in multiple arenas convinces me that we can look at the flow of awakening in a logical fashion. People say that they want “Enlightenment” when they aren’t even awake enough to understand the vectors leading to that state, let alone what that state might be. There is no language to describe it accurately, because language is dependent upon shared references. But here is a pattern that has been useful to convey some very slippery concepts.
The pattern of “awakening” proceeds (and this is generalized, as all such statements must be) from:
- Sleeping Child. Unaware that consensus reality is a construct. Not responsible for their own emotions, or welfare.
- Sleeping Adult. Unaware that consensus reality is a construct. Responsible for their emotions, however, and gainfully employed providing valuable goods and services to their community.
- Awakened Adult (there are a few Awakened Children. They are quite remarkable). These are adults who, properly nurtured, are walking the “Household Yogi” path, being “in the world but not `of’ the world.”
- Awakened adult with intermittent non-dualistic perception. They are beginning to move beyond opposites. Beyond male-female, black-white, nationalism, speciesism, etc. most people have occasional experiences of this state.
- Awakened adult with sustained non-dualistic perception. This is the last stop, the last place language can be useful to describe the state or experience to those who have not experienced it.
Beyond this state is the place or experience referred to as “Enlightenment.” It is destructive of ego, and in all likelihood you will reject (often with emotional violence) the experiences or mentors who can guide you there. It is a form of death, make no mistake, and the more you identify with your ego self the more threatening it will be. There is no practical value to this state, and I discourage people from seeking it: much like a writing career, if you CAN be discouraged, you should let yourself be. There’s no hurry: everyone gets there eventually.
The very best definition of this state might well be the Sufi attitude: “Enlightenment is the state of awareness entered at the moment of death. The Seeker merely commits to experiencing it before they get there.”
Or “die before you die.”
The state that CAN be recommended for all is that of “Awakened Adult.” That is useful, powerful, and gives you most of what you THINK you are seeking from “enlightenment” or even “Non-dualistic thought”. And until you experience it, the other states are beyond the horizon, and can only be vague and usually conceived with distortion.
I would guess that a thousand days of constantly asking “who am I?” and “what is true?” would get the average person to the “Awakened Adult” state once you get past the obvious, easy answers and begin to connect the answers with your breathing and movement, or with your heart-space interactions.
It is your heritage, and I urge you to embrace it.