Enlightenment is not what you think...

There are many enlightenments, in many different domains.

For example, you could deeply understand the movements of the stock market, and then you wouldn't lack financial security.

Or you could deeply understand how computers work, and you would never feel like a victim to anything that goes beep.

Though what is the most important enlightenment--at least for personal growth and happiness?

How health works? How people work?

Maybe for awhile.

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I used to think that enlightenment meant that I would have no more problems. I would have no more thoughts, no more body pains, no more discomfort in social situations, no more bad skin, and no more anything undesirable

I had a lot of concepts! And those concepts were like the wallpaper plastered in the back of my mind, put up long ago, and then left to be the arbitrary style of my reality.

But when one enlightenment in any domain is reached, it's like, "how could I have ignored this? It's so obvious and I feel so free now!" 

And then... as it stabilises... it becomes the new normal.

And eventually a new mountain top is peered off in the distance and that becomes the next thing to climb.

And on and on and on. (There is a finality, but that's at another level of discussion.)

The point is that there are many enlightenments. A better question to ask is which one do you seek?

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From the perspective of consciousness, the most valuable enlightenment is to know how to be intentionally aware of the larger aspect of ourselves.

“Larger aspect of ourselves”?

The part that was with us before we were born.

Begin to experience this larger aspect repeatedly, and it feels familiar... like home.

Like home... because it is always present and deeply peaceful... yet can be ignored. And is.

Begin to experience it intentionally, and we become a treasure to everyone we meet by sharing our inner peace.

- • -

This highly desirable larger aspect of ourselves is a tricky thing to reliably experience because we have to contend with the mind.  

If we go at the goal by trying to figure it out on our own, we quickly discover it's not so straight forward...

  • How do we know where to put our awareness?

  • What voices in the mind are reliable guides, if any?

  • How do we know we have "It" and not a counterfeit version?

  • What do we do when we feel barraged by thoughts and emotions?

  • Why do we even have a barrage of thoughts? 

  • Where do our feelings come into play?

  • How would I even know I have "It"? What are the signposts?

  • Will drugs help or hinder?

As it turns out, this larger aspect of ourselves is very simple to rest back into--it has to be if it's already a part of ourselves. Yet it's not simple and obvious when there's a lifetime of self-programming working against us. In this regard, we can be our own adversary.

And then there's the very real issue of our accumulated stresses, clouding our mind and dulling our awareness. This stress absolutely needs to be addressed and healed if we want a consistent experience of this larger part of ourselves.

- • -

If this sounds like a game worth playing, then consider these... 

Seek to find a good teacher and good technique so that you can reconnect with this larger aspect of yourself in a reliable way.

But dig around!

Don't stop at the first teacher you come to. Look for those who have worked on the tricky areas and can guide you without hooks.

Do question the familiar (like chanting, mantras, visualizations, breathing, rules, postures, philosophies, specialness, religious beliefs). Ask the obvious questions. Don't be afraid!

I find it interesting that most everyone will ask more probing questions when buying a new computer... than buying into a new meditation practice. Hmmm. 

You won't have much time to indulge every single path out there. So be discerning and look for efficiency of execution, clarity, depth, healing of blocking stress, continuous signs of growth, and self-validating experience so that you can be truly independent.

And then you’ll understand why all those previously disconnected benefits of meditation all make perfect sense:

                and self-savvy.

And then it won't matter if you fit anyone's definition of enlightenment.

Because you'll be a treasure to everyone you meet by sharing your inner peace.

- • -

Michael Persimmon, a former monk, teaches a comprehensive 4 week course filled with comfy chairs.