Meditation For Enlightenment
Can enlightenment be attained? Is there something that can be done to bring it about or are you altogether at the mercy of chance and luck? Do you simply set the stage and wait, or can you be more proactive? In fact, can you be proactive to the point of actually bringing it about? I think the answer is probably going to surprise some of you. The answer is both.
I know I have myself mentioned that mostly enlightenment experiences are not in your hands and that they are a gift for living a particular way, with certain energy, awareness and intelligence, but, in this article I want to speak of what you can actually do to bring about enlightenment, first hand, consciously.
This type of enlightenment I refer to as "Direct Enlightenment", versus the enlightenment that takes place unannounced and mostly on it’s own, which I refer to as "Indirect Enlightenment". Examples of indirect enlightenment are the openings that take place when you are deep in meditation, silently watching your breath, or are practicing some pranayama, koan, mindfulness or other such technique.
Direct enlightenment though is when you consciously bring about the explosion of insight and the ensuing state of enlightenment follows. Let me explain by giving you an example of my own experience with this approach.
An Enlightened Day – Spontaneous Living
This event took place at my parents home many years back, but the enormity of the experience makes it an unforgettable part of my life. Here is how it transpired.
I was alone upstairs in the guest room (which has since become the computer room after the internet took over our lives :-), contemplating what J. Krishnamurti spoke of with regard to ideals and that our actions are based on these "shoulds". In other words, we act based on what we feel we should do, in the hopes of achieving something by such action. For example, "I should watch my thoughts", that will help me attain enlightenment, or "I should let go", "I should be aware", etc. etc. If you examine your thoughts carefully, you will see that you are constantly operating under the authority of "shoulds", chasing goals. Here is more about what that means.
To be operating under the authority of "shoulds", means to always be caught in psychological time and caught in the process of becoming. It is really important to understand this very clearly. When we act according to what we "should" be doing, we are acting with a goal state in mind. Like the example above, when we say "I should watch my thoughts," I have the future state of being enlightened in mind and am hoping to achieve that. So I am currently not enlightened, but by "watching my thoughts", I will become enlightened. This process of "becoming" is infused into every aspect of your life. I am violent, I will become non-violent, I am selfish, I will become unselfish, etc. The battle between "what is" and "what should be" rages incessantly.
As I was contemplating this topic, it occurred to me that this process was actually underway at this very moment in my mind and I could observe it "live" right then and see it action. So I closed my eyes, put my head down and decided that I would like to see this in actuality, instead of just intellectually. I was absolutely determined to make this happen right then and there. The demand was urgent, uncompromising and intense.
I focused all my energy on watching the fact that shoulds mean I am caught in the process of becoming. I looked very very carefully at this happening in real time. The mind, in pursuit of a goal, determining what should be done next, repeatedly. I examined and perceived this fact in every movement of the mind. This is when the explosion took place. The mind realized that any movement on its part was just the continuation of more of the same. That all it could do was present another goal and thus perpetuate the endless cycle of becoming. The clear and complete perception of this fact obliterated the entire process. Becoming ceased.
I felt a tremendous release take place in the stomach, as all tension evaporated and the actuality of happiness took it’s place. It is then that I realized that the tension was always there and that we have taken it to be the "normal" state, when in fact it is actually constant stress and suffering. The mind completely stopped presenting any "shoulds", and all action became spontaneous responses to the moment. It was unbelievable.
I recall heading downstairs, pure happiness in my belly, mind free of any trace of becoming, but nonetheless fully functional and outwardly completely normal. I interacted with my parents and even worked on problem solving with my father who was working on fixing some electronic device. The mind functioned perfectly fine, it’s just there was no inward attempt to pursue any future state whatsoever. This state of pure spontaneous living, free of all ideals and the actuality of happiness continued throughout the day.
This is an example of direct enlightenment and what sets it apart from indirect enlightenment are the following three aspects…
1. You apply yourself intensely with the aim of enlightenment.
2. You bring about the explosion of insight via the application of acute intelligence and swift awareness.
3. The enlightenment state descends directly as a result of the insight which shatters the time bound, desire driven thinking process.
The process I described above eventually matured into what I call now the Silent Mind Meditation Technique and I describe the technique in the following article, Silent Mind Meditations. In that article you will also find a more through analysis on what I was explaining above with regard to "shoulds" and the process of becoming as well.
Frankly I have not met many people who can do this type of meditation and bring about this cessation of the mind or dissolution of the ordinary time bound, goal oriented thinking process, but, from all the meditation techniques on this website, if there was one I would want you to grasp this would be it. This technique is not easy, but it is the one that puts enlightenment in your hands.