“The funny thing about enlightenment is that when it is authentic, there is no one to claim it. Enlightenment is very ordinary; it is nothing special. Rather than making you more special, it is going to make you less special. It plants you right in the center of a wonderful humility and innocence. Everyone else may or may not call you enlightened, but when you are enlightened the whole notion of enlightenment and someone who is enlightened is a big joke. I use the word enlightenment all the time—not to point you toward it but to point you beyond it. Do not get stuck in enlightenment.” – Adyashanti.org Writings
When I was a teenager I sat down at a table, placed a huge piece of white paper before me, picked up a pen and then stared very hard and thoughtfully at that blank page.
Who am I ?
That’s what I eventually wrote on the page. That was all I wrote and I filled the entire page with it, tracing over and over the question mark at the end.
That was what I wanted to know.
This act sent me off on a quest to answer the question. I wandered far and wide. Through lands of astrology, philosophy, religion, spirituality, psychology, self-help, fiction, non-fiction, and many other places of the mind.
When I was a teenager the New Age movement was in its early stages, and I dove into it in search of myself.
“In speaking regularly with spiritual seekers, it dawned on me one day how addicted so many of them are to the power of charisma. They swap stories about how powerful this or that teacher is and compare experiences. They get a charge from it, many mistaking charisma for enlightenment. Charisma attracts at all levels: political, sexual, spiritual, etc., and it feeds the ego’s desire to feel special. The ego loves getting hits of power—it’s like a form of spiritual candy. The candy may be sweet but can you live on it? Does it make you free?” – Adyashanti.org Writings
I didn’t find myself in any of those places.
I learned a lot and experienced many things. Some good, some bad, most of them a mix of good and bad. I met many people. Some were seekers like me and some were people who claimed to have found some secret or other about life and what lies beyond it and other such stuff which they then wanted me to buy at a high price. Surely enlightenment, transcending the human condition, and finding yourself are worth whatever the price they are being sold for?
If you’ve never met a Narcissist – which is highly unlikely these days, but you may not have realised they were one – and would like to meet one and buy the T-shirt – I’ve met a Narcissist and survived – then become a spiritual enlightenment seeker. Narcissists do not like being human and seek to transcend such an awful thing. They excel at selling pipe dreams and making them believable. When someone tells you that they are enlightened… how do you prove that they are not? Why would you do such a thing? Narcissists do enlightenment better than anyone else, they are very convincing, right up until you realise just how empty their version of spiritual awakening is. But that’s your problem, not theirs… you’re just unenlightened, a disgusting human filled with human flaws. They’re above and beyond such things. Bye bye. And they float off into nothingness.
“Many spiritual seekers get “stuck in emptiness,” in the absolute, in transcendence. They cling to bliss, or peace, or indifference. When the self-centered motivation for living disappears, many seekers become indifferent. They see the perfection of all existence and find no reason for doing anything, including caring for themselves or others. I call this “taking a false refuge.” It is a very subtle egoic trap; it’s a fixation in the absolute and all unconscious form of attachment that masquerades as liberation. It can be very difficult to wake someone up from this deceptive fixation because they literally have no motivation to let go of it. Stuck in a form of divine indifference, such people believe they have reached the top of the mountain when actually they are hiding out halfway up its slope.” – Adyashanti.org Writings
One day I just got fed up and gave up on my quest. I was never going to find myself. Never going to answer my question. I had reached that point where I don’t think I cared anymore about answering it. Did it matter who I was? Why not just be and go with whatever that meant.
That is when I found myself. I was an ordinary human. That’s that. And that is everything. It was a huge release and relief.
“In my experience, everyone will say they want to discover the Truth, right up until they realize that the Truth will rob them of their deepest held ideas, beliefs, hopes, and dreams.” – Adyashanti.org Writings
“Do not think that enlightenment is going to make you special—it’s not. If you feel special in any way, then enlightenment has not occurred.” – Adyashanti.org Writings
Am I enlightened? Yes and no. I am enlightened to the fact that I am human and being human is my purpose in life. To just be, unenlightened warts and all. I am not enlightened because I have not transcended the human experience, on the contrary, I am completely immersed in it. To me that is the answer which I was seeking, so…
“Freedom is not necessarily exciting; it’s just free. Very peaceful and quiet, so very quiet. Of course, it is also filled with joy and wonder, but it is not what you imagine. It is much, much less.” – Adyashanti.org Writings
I have found myself in a very ordinary human way, and I am free to just be utterly human. It’s not exciting, but there is joy and wonder in it because I spent so many years trying to escape who I am while thinking I was trying to find myself. How odd. Such is life.
Please note: The quotes I have used are from a page I found while searching for something unrelated to what I found. I don’t know anything about this organisation or the writings of this teacher or the teacher. I just liked what I read and have shared it. I’m not interested in following another guru or teacher’s teachings, so I stopped on that page, took what I needed and moved on. I am grateful it has been freely shared and I am passing that on to those who might need what is there.
We find what we need when we need it. Our greatest teacher is ourselves and our life. Learn from your experiences. Be gentle with yourself. Give yourself the time and respect you need. Trust yourself. And remember you are human… that is a precious gift.
ps. I totally pissed a Narcissist off by posting this on my tumblr. As usual they missed the point and went off the deep end of drama. Sigh! I’m sort of chuffed by that.