lotus flowerSeekers on the spiritual path often ask what enlightenment really means. What is enlightenment? I say, ‘Enlightenment is like a joke!’’ It’s like a fish in the ocean searching for the ocean.

Once upon a time, there was a congregation of fish, who got together to discuss who among them had seen the ocean. None of them could say they had actually seen the ocean. Then one fish said, ‘‘I think my great grandfather saw the ocean!’’ A second fish said, ‘‘Yes, yes, I have also heard about that.’’ A third fish said, ‘‘Yes, certainly, his great grandfather did see the ocean.’’

So they built a huge temple and made a statue of the great grandfather of that particular fish! They said, ‘‘He saw the ocean. He was connected with the ocean.’’

Enlightenment is the very nucleus of our being; going to the core of our self and living our life from there. We all came into this world gifted with innocence but gradually, as we became more intelligent, our innocence was lost. We were born with silence but, as we grew up, lost the silence and were filled with words. We lived in our hearts and as time passed, we moved into our heads.

The reversal of this life passage is enlightenment. It is the journey from the head back to the heart, from words back to silence and regaining our innocence in spite of our intelligence. Although this may sound simple, it is actually a great achievement.

Knowledge should lead us rather to that beautiful point of unawareness and the realisation that the purpose of knowledge is ignorance. Yes, the purpose of knowledge is ignorance! The completion of knowledge ultimately leads to amazement and wonder, that which makes you aware of this existence. Mysteries are to be lived, not understood. One can live life fully in its completeness, in its totality.

Enlightenment is further that state of being unshakeable under any circumstances. Come what may, nothing can rob the smile from your heart. Going beyond the limited boundaries, and feeling ‘‘all that exists in this universe belongs to me,’’ is enlightenment.

Un-enlightenment is easy to define. It is limiting yourself by characterising your being along geographical, cultural or religious lines. It is like a child saying, ‘‘my dad is better than your dad,’’ or ‘‘my toy is better than your toy.’’ I think most people around the world are stuck in that same childish frame of mind: only the toys have changed.

Adults say, ‘‘my country is better than your country’’ or ‘‘my religion is superior to your religion.’’ A Christian will say, ‘‘The Bible is truth,’’ and a Hindu will say, ‘‘The Vedas are the truth. They are very ancient.’’ Muslims will say, ‘‘The Koran is the last word of God.’’ We attribute glory to something just because we are from that culture, not for what it is.

If one could take credit for all that exists throughout the ages and feel as though ‘‘It belongs to me,’’ then, that is maturity. ‘‘This is my wealth because I belong to the divine.’’ The divine, according to time and space, gave
different knowledge in different places. One becomes the knower of the whole universe and can say ‘‘all the beautiful flowers are from my garden.’’

The whole evolution of man should be from being somebody to being nobody, and from being nobody to being everybody. This is enlightenment.

Enlightenment is a rare combination of innocence and intelligence, having words for expression as well as the ability to be silent. In this state the mind is fully in the present moment. Whatever is necessary is revealed in such a natural and spontaneous way that one can be still and allow the song of the nature to flow through you.

Article courtesy of The Art of Living Foundation (www.artofliving.org.za)

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