The Pathway to Enlightenment
By Scott Shaw
I frequently write and speak about enlightenment. I explain that we all ARE enlightened, we simply have to embrace this consciousness and remember this fact. From this, I receive an untold number of questions about just what do I mean. Many people come up to me with the statements, “I’m not enlightened, but I want to be.” “I have practiced meditation for many years and I still don’t feel enlightened." Or, “I can never be as enlightened as my guru.”
To hopefully clear a few things up for those who walk the spiritual path it must initially be detailed that first of all enlightenment is not about desire. If you desire enlightenment you will never know enlightenment. Secondarily, meditation is not a pathway to enlightenment — though many teachers throughout the centuries have claimed that it is. Meditation is a “Mind Thing.” It is a great tool to calm the mind and bring you into communion with your inner self and the god that resides in you. But, it will not provide you with enlightenment. And finally, you cannot find enlightenment by following a teacher. Though teachers may guide you to higher consciousness, ultimately, “Following” keeps you from enlightenment — as you are defining your own cosmic understanding by that of your teachers.
Okay, you say, “Then just what is the pathway to enlightenment if you can’t want it, practice for it, or study to obtain it?” Well first of all to comprehend the answer, the essence of enlightenment must to be understood.
Most people, those who are unenlightened, depict enlightenment as a mystical abstract thing that can be HAD. But, anyone who believes this incorrect ideology is entirely missing the point. Enlightenment can not be HAD. Because if it can be HAD, that means it is missing in you. If it is missing in you, then it is not a natural occurrence and should not be sought after anyway.
Enlightenment IS. Thus, it is never something to gain.
Many teachers also detail that you must possess a certain level of high incarnation to gain enlightenment. Teachers who detail this fact, also state that it will take you many incarnations to even come close to embracing enlightenment. By stating this, they immediately prove that they do not understand enlightenment and are, in fact, completely keeping their students from ever embracing the naturalness of enlightenment.
Now certainly, it is much easier for a person to embrace the total-ness of enlightenment if they are walking the spiritual path — because those who walk the spiritual path have a rudimentary understanding of enlightenment and what to expect. This is not to say, however, that anyone EVERYONE cannot know enlightenment. Because, if it was only available to those who walked the spiritual path, who embrace this sense of pure consciousness, then one would have to be spiritual to know.
But, being spiritual is not the defining factor of enlightenment. Being WHOLE is.
This is all very ZEN, I understand. But, let me make it more understandable. When I first heard Ram Dass detailing that his guru Neem Karoli Baba had gone eye-to-eye with him and asked him, “Don’t you see everything is perfect,” it really touched a place in me. Yes, all the good and even all of the bad in this life is perfect. It all happens in accordance with its own perfection. Now a Christian may say the good is a gift from god and the bad is a test. But, they are really missing the point. Good and Bad are all a point of view. If you love Hell, then it becomes Heaven.
What I am saying is that you cannot gage life. You cannot say that one particular expedience that you felt was very negative may not lead you onto a very NEW and positive place of growth and personal understanding.
Life is Life and things are going to happen that we do not like. But, if you can step back long enough to embrace a divine understanding, they you can see that this action leads to the next and the next and the next.
Now, if you lay a positive pathway for your life — not hurting, criticizing, or demeaning others, then from the nature of this universe, you attract positive energy. Additional, just the opposite is true if you live in space of unhappiness, where you place yourself at constant odds against the world around you — if you embrace negativity, no matter how subtle, then negativity will find you and bad things will occur.
What does this have to do with enlightenment you ask? It has everything to do with enlightenment. Enlightenment is about you accepting the perfection of the moment. If you are criticizing, judging, (be it good or bad), or measuring your amount of “Feel Good-ness” in an particular moment of life, then you are setting yourself at odds with the perfection of the universe and you are keeping yourself from enlightenment.
Life is life. We like what we like. We don’t like what we don’t like. But, you cannot allow this to define you. It just is what it is.
Accept what you like as what you like, what you don’t like as what you don’t like. Know it, but do not allow it to control you, define you, or hold you back.
Understanding the perfection of the universe is not saying that God, Allah, or Buddha, is waving some controlling hand and making all of the elements occur. Understanding perfection is simple settling into the perfection and knowing that it all is as it is. This is, also, not to say that some Supreme Being made it that way. It just IS.
When things just ARE, that is the root of enlightenment.
It is often detailed when a person dies that their life flashes before their eyes. Having been a person who has come very close to physical death a couple of times in my LIFE TIME, I can categorically state that this statement is not true. What occurs is that when you are at the gates of leaving your physical body, you immediately embrace the perfection. You see how this thought lead to that desire — how that desire lead to this choice — how this choice lead to that action — how this action lead to this outcome. Ultimately, you see how all of life was perfect. How everything falls into its own space of perfection and you lived exactly what you were supposed to live — whether you liked every moment of it or not.
This is the source point for enlightenment. Initially understanding, then accepting, and finally embracing THE PERFECTION.
Embrace THE PERFECTION and know enlightenment.
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No part of this article may be used without the expressed permission of Scott Shaw or his representatives.