In discourse I followed past words, disregarding feelings, into air and the pattern of my being. Is it really this simple? Now moving into mysterious depths, no universal visions – just me, here amongst the birds, the trees, the people – in all its suchness. No searching, no longing, just living me . . . I know this to be true, but I also need your answer. In this context, then what is enlightenment?
The question that you have asked is not a question, but an expression of what you are feeling. What you are feeling is, “no universal visions – just me, here amongst the birds, the trees, the people – in all its suchness. No searching, no longing, just living me . . . I know this to be true, but I also need your answer.” Then your knowing is not complete. Your knowing has hidden behind it a doubt; otherwise, there is no need of any answer. If you know, then what is the need of my answer?
But I can understand your problem – on the one hand you know the beauty of this moment, the blissfulness of here-now, and yet there is a suspicion underground raising the question, “Is it really true? Is it all? Or is there something more?” And this doubt is arising because of a simple thing. If you had looked at your question a little more deeply, you would have found, “No universal visions – just me.” This “me” is the source of your doubt. If you had said, “No universal visions, no me, here amongst the birds, the trees, the people – in all its suchness. No searching, no longing, just living Me . . .” That “me” is the block. In suchness there is no “me,” only a pure isness – no “I,” no “thou.” And when there is no searching, no longing, the ego cannot exist even for a split second. The searching, the longing, the desiring – these are the very heartbeats of the ego.
You say, “I know this to be true.” You do not know, your mind is deceiving you, because you are still there – in knowing you cannot be. Knowing drowns the “I” and then there is a certainty, “This is true.”
But wherever you find the “I” lingering in some way, beware of it. Its deception is going too far.
You are asking, “In this context, what is enlightenment?” In this context there is no enlightenment. But if the “I” and the “me” have also dissolved in the suchness of things, in the isness of existence, then this would have been the enlightenment. Just a little more awareness . . . you are very close to it. But don’t take it for granted that you have arrived. The old mind tries to the very end; when you are entering the boundaries of enlightenment, then too, it goes on trying with all its power to hold you back.
The experience is beautiful, but your ego is making it not reach to its ultimate climax. You drop the “me,” you drop the “I”, and there will be no need to answer there will be no need for recognition – you will know. But you will not be there, only the knowing will be there, that, “This is it.”
Everybody has to remember about the old mind. It is such a long habit; for many, many lives you have remained attached to it. So it is not surprising that when you are departing from it, it clings to you – perhaps just the last hug, but the hug can go on being prolonged.
I have heard . . . An old Jew is run over in front of a church. A priest runs out and whispers in his ear, “Do you believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost?” The Jew opens his eyes and says, “I am dying and he is asking me riddles!”
Although he is dying, he has a Jewish conditioning and the priest is asking from the background of a Christian mind.
You were very close. You just missed by inches, not even miles. When you again feel this – and you will feel this . . . It is a great achievement to feel the pure space of no searching, no longing, no universal visions, to feel only the birds singing in the trees, the people all around. But you are missing; you are no more there. Just gather courage not to be, and this very experience becomes enlightenment.
Enlightenment is not something superhuman, it is your basic right. But your ego goes on postponing it, goes on bringing itself between you and your enlightenment. And in such subtle ways that unless you are very alert, you are going to be deceived. When you felt no searching, no longing, you could have felt just life, just living. Why just “living me”? Why confine living to a small prison of “me”?
Feel the heartbeat of the whole universe and let your own separation be dissolved into it. Then you would have said, “The knowing has happened; this is it and there is no other enlightenment.” The absence of the ego and the presence of universal consciousness is what enlightenment means.
From The Razor’s Edge, Discourse #18, Q1
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