Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Origin of Enlightenment

The experience of enlightenment--of being enlightened--is a great feeling. It makes you feel like you have gotten somewhere, accomplished something, reached dry land after having waded through bogs of shit for years on end.

Of course I use the term in its general sense: being relieved of a burden. On a metaphysical level, the burden the great spiritual leaders have sought to shlug off is ignorance. For me, I feel a sense of lightening when I clear out things from my life that have been clogging my spiritual arteries. Materialism is the #1 cause of congestive failure of the spirit...it lines its walls like a fatty layer of cholesterol, blocks light and cuts of air circulation. It's no wonder why the Holy Father has called materialism the primary enemy of religion in this age.

It can be anything, the most inoccuous of preoccupations. My excessive focus on bikes lately at the expense of my spiritual health is one of many examples I have to offer of the vines chocking the tree.

But the feeling following the concerted hacking and freeing of the self from this constriction is the same: the deep inhalation of freedom, the feeling of gratitude, of rebirth into a new state of being.

The funny thing is I have not attained any real state--I am only returning to what has always been. Its easy to forget that "Nirvana" is not a place to go to--at least not in the way we conceptualize existence in our present space-time continuum. I got rid of two bikes this past week and I feel free now that I am down to one. But I forget that at one time all I had was one, and even before that, I didn't have a bike at all.

Step it back some more and you can find a time all the burdens of existing started to lay themselves upon us--when we escaped our parents house and experienced the intoxication of independence, it was not long before we were longing for someone to cook us dinner and pay our bills for us. when we started getting up from the floor and putting one foot in front of another, lying in a crib all day (so nice!) became unacceptable.

Keep taking it back and you will find that it was birth--our first experience of the self--that first brought us out of pure being and into an ego-tained world of existence. I imagine this is where the koan "what did your face look like before your parents were born?" comes from.

So I felt...what's the word...slightly "purer" after getting rid of the bikes and regaining some spiritual footing and focus. But there's really nothing to be proud of, ever...we are only returning to the place we came from, trying to become an Empty Vessel and filling our boats will all kinds of crap found along shore.

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