Defining Enlightenment

‘Saint Augustine’ (detail) – Philippe de Champaigne, 1645 – Wikimedia

.

A thunderclap under the clear blue sky
All beings on earth open their eyes;
Everything under heaven bows together;
Mount Sumeru leaps up and dances
.”
~ Wumen Huikai (enlightenment poem)

.

The words for the discovery of our true nature — like enlightenment, realisation, awakening, liberation, etc — are all very significant. They all point to truth and have numerous things to say. Take ‘enlightenment’ for instance. Its original signification is ‘to shine’ or ‘to make luminous’. So to enlighten means to put the light on. It means to cease being distracted by all that is objective in our experience and doesn’t define us truly, and make what is already and absolutely ours here and now apparent. It doesn’t mean to achieve, to reach, to attain, to get something new. Where did we get this idea from? But let’s be very cautious here: to make luminous — does this even require a doing? Why should we have anything to do when the light is already fully on? So to be enlightened is really more a matter of noticing what is already here, and that we have missed due to a pathological phenomenon of blindness. We are too occupied with a thousand things, worried, concerned, busy with this and that, distracted, ambitious, desiring, grasping, expecting, and god only knows what else we have in mind to so successfully avoid seeing the patently obvious. Our true reality and identity as consciousness is already present, luminous and shining in every corner of our experience and we are blind to it. That’s where the word ‘realisation’ comes in.

[…]

An essay exploring the signification of enlightenment… (READ MORE…)

.

Wei Wu Wei

‘Hotei in a Boat’ – Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1769) – Yale University Art Gallery – Wikimedia

.

When could I have been born,
I who am the conceiver of time itself?
Where could I live,
I who conceive the space wherein all things extend?
How could I die,
I who conceive the birth, life, and death of all things,
I who, conceiving, cannot be conceived?

~ Wei Wu Wei (Posthumous Pieces)

.

You may have sometime come across the name ‘Wei Wu Wei’ while reading or researching, and you have thought that it referred to an exotic and remote Zen master of ancient China. Well, you couldn’t have been more wrong. For this is the pen name of a British aristocrat and writer of the last century. His name: Terence James Stannus Gray, who was born in 1895 and died in 1986, the very same years as J. Krishnamurti. ‘Wu Wei’ is nevertheless a Taoist term which literally means ‘effortless action’ or ‘action that is non-action’, and was chosen by the author for the meaning it carries. Regarding his name, the writer explains in the preface of his book ‘Fingers Pointing Towards The Moon’: “What is a name? […] Is not a name essentially — the name of an ego? But the Self, the Principal, the I-Reality has no name. […] If the nameless builders of the Taj Mahal, of Chartres, of Rheims, of a hundred cathedral symphonies, knew that — and avoided the solecism of attributing to their own egos the works that were created through their instrumentality — may not even a jotter-down of passing metaphysical notions know it also?” He continued: “But in case you should still wonder who is responsible for this book I do not know how to do better than to inscribe the words

WEI WU WEI

為無為

~

Why are you unhappy?
Because 99.9 per cent
Of everything you think,
And of everything you do,
Is for yourself —
And there isn’t one
.”
~ (‘Ask The Awakened’)

[…]

Discover the rich and insightful nondual writing of Wei Wu Wei… (READ MORE…)

.

The End of Seeking

Beware of being a spiritual seeker. There are implications to it. First and foremost, to seek is to lack. ‘I haven’t achieved’. ‘I need more’. ‘I long for that which is not here’. See what is involved here. Seeking implies time, distance, separation. It makes you like an entity separate from the object of his or her search, which can only be attained in the future. And that puts you in the position of a believer, and a sufferer. No. Don’t be a spiritual seeker. Please don’t.

Dare simplicity. Trust nakedness. The power of being lies in its raw, empty, and natural fabric. It doesn’t need to show off with the etiquette of a seeker. Don’t extend your mistaken sense of self by feeding it with your searching activities. Don’t keep your sense of separation alive by staying in the comfortable but ultimately uncreative and barren position of being a seeker. Seeking is not what you need. Being is. And being is your own, relaxed self — not lacking — not seeking — not projecting — not longing — not needing — not believing. Being suffices to itself. It is whole. It is your one and only place of rest.

Seeking will make you clothe your naked sense of being with fancy, elaborate, and ultimately unnecessary garments. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by seeking. It is the most unfruitful activity. Everybody is doing it — and to no avail. Seeking will place you where you do not want to be. Happiness is not in the lacking, in the wanting. Happiness begins in being. Happiness comes where seeking ends. This is the true destination of the activity of searching: to be a non-seeker. All what you have sought until now is to come to the end of your search. So don’t run ahead of yourself. Being is a simple affair. Being doesn’t require anything that you do not have here and now.

To not have to seek. What a relief this is! To bathe in the simple joy of being. Ultimately, being a spiritual seeker is a bore. It is not what you truly want. The thrill of it is bound to fade, and its tiresome nature will have to be revealed. Remember this: You are seeking to end the search. This is where seeking finds its worth and its resolution. Make the search sink into its object, which is in being — where seeking ends. Sink in being. Try it once and experience how the rough sea of your suffering life, with its endless craving, will find its original and unfathomable nature as stillness. Rejoice in it. Abandon this ongoing agitation at the surface of your life. Searching is this agitation — let it be behind you. Seeking is this battle — being is its underlying peace. Being is the ultimate answer to your search. Pacify your seeking through being.

.

~~~

Text and photo by Alain Joly

~~~

.

Other ‘Ways of Being‘ from the blog…

.

The Worth of a Life

‘Back to nature’ – Robert Storm Petersen (Storm P.), 1945 – Wikimedia

.
We are all blessed with moments of intense happiness, no matter how ignorant of our true nature we may be. Happiness has always been in the picture. It may have come unexpectedly one glorious morning at the start of a day-long walk in the mountains, or while falling in love, or travelling in a busy train, or quietly sitting at the window sipping tea. You know, these moments when we enjoy every bit of the world around us, when we stop indulging in thoughts and are free to just watch, hear, taste, enjoy, admire. Such happiness is self-explanatory, the proof of god, an enhancer of being. It is beauty revealed, love in action. It is the worth of a life — any life. The only time when we truly see, and hear. Birds seem to have replenished the earth. Flowers appear and butterflies dance in the thin air of our self. Why do you think that, in common parlance, happiness is said to make you like the king of the world? Why do we say that, at the time of happiness, the world belongs to us? Why does happiness seem to be solving all our problems? Does that not express the intuition of our likeness with the world around us?

Happiness is the point of absolute equality in all human beings. When somebody is ignorant of his true nature, and when he has a moment of pure joy and happiness, he becomes a prince and a master in matters of truth. But unfortunately, he remains an ignorant master, who takes that joy, that living sense of being, for granted. Who thinks happiness to be just a passing thing, an accident, a beautiful feeling. Not something that needs to be looked into, explored, and expanded. These are the lost moments of truth that pass unknown, unnoticed in our lives, relegated in the field of time, soon covered up with our crass ignorance. What matters when we are happy, what presents itself with force, is just the plain awareness of being. Being commands. Being is refined. Being is all that matters, all the knowledge we need. When we experience true happiness, we are in a position of not knowing, even if we are a specialist in non-duality, with a ‘spiritual’ etiquette attached to ourself. This is why a true spiritual teacher has no knowledge to give. His place is one of innocence and humility. He never addresses ignorant people, but converses with truth itself. She only shares being with all around her, renders happiness recognisable. Being is the supreme teacher, and the supplier of joy. Don’t let it pass.

.

~~~

Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Robert Storm Petersen (Storm P.) (1882-1949)

~~~

.

Website:
Robert Storm Petersen (Wikipedia)

.

Other ‘Ways of Being‘ from the blog…

.

The Dark Night

‘Night’ – Ivan Marchuk, 1981 – WikiArt

.

Being human is a complicated gig.
So give that ol’ dark night of the soul a hug.
Howl the eternal yes!

~ Friedrich Nietzsche

.

There is a poem that fed the imagination of many prestigious writers and philosophers like T. S. Eliot, Simone Weil, or Thomas Merton. Many a spiritual seeker has found in it a guiding lamp for the harsh ascent towards divine union. Its name: the ‘Dark Night of the Soul’, a short poem written by the 16th-century Spanish mystic and poet John of the Cross. It refers to the unknowable nature of both the goal and the path, and how such darkness would allow us to merge with the presence of god in ourself. As John of the Cross wrote: “In the dark night of the soul, bright flows the river of God.” I am presenting here the translation by Edgar Allison Peers. Following the poem is a short text that I wrote, words that the poem has evoked in me, the inspiration that it invoked…

.

On a dark night,
Kindled in love with yearnings — oh, happy chance! —
I went forth without being observed,
My house being now at rest.

[…]

.

Read this famous poem by John of the Cross and a few more words… (READ MORE…)

.

A Fabulous Secret

‘Poetry of N. Gumilyov’ – Oleh Sokolov, 1973 – WikiArt

I’ve always had the intuition that writing hid a fabulous secret. That there lay a soft power, a beauty to which no other thing compares. That words could express harmony. That a particular form of them could take me into the unformed, into the soft ether of life. That words had the capacity to unravel the meaning of the totality of possible existence. That they were alchemists that could produce in all of us the perfume of their own land of birth — which is ours too. That they could clear all the mist that keeps lingering around this life of ours. This is the promise that words held for me. And I do not mean that they could do all of that through their explanatory power alone. Through their simple, logic, arithmetic value. They could and would comply to do so if you wanted them to. But it’s not quite why I had praised them all along. Words could seduce me through their music alone. Through their soft capacity for intimacy and poetry. Through the intrinsic harmony that they carried, and were a vehicle for. Words could be like Tango dancers. And their arabesque was love itself.

And yet. Yet words had eluded me all my life. I have always been short of them. They were never allowed to run freely in my field. They had been concealed by the majesty of pain. But would I be willing to engage with them, that they would come hastily as a balm on myself. Would I be willing to let them express their all, that they would arrive in bouquets that flowered with all their perfume. Words can act in us as clarifiers. They make clear and clean. And they can be hard workers, if you let them be. If you keep still while they come inviting you into their round. This is where they service you — in the power of their expression. This is where they silence you — in the stillness of their homeland. This is where they present you with the simple gift of being. Listen to them carefully: they will show you how they share the same ground of being than you. I’ve always had the intuition that writing hid a fabulous secret…

.

~~~

Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Oleh Sokolov (1919-1990)

~~~

.

Website:
Oleh Sokolov (WikiArt)

.

Other ‘Ways of Being’ from the blog…

.

The Riddle of Ignorance

‘Landscape’ – Sergey Vasilkovsky – WikiArt

.
There is a truer, hidden reality lying just under the veneer of life. Don’t think that what you have is the real thing. It is not. This hidden reality is being covered by the thick blanket of our deceptive representation of reality, made of a whole array of thoughts, feelings, memories, worries, beliefs, conditionings, that have numbed our aliveness, blunted our sensitivity, and rendered our god-given natural endowment as if inexistant. This is why, in some religious traditions, man has been proclaimed ’ignorant’. This is a word that indicates that simple fact — the plain and unfortunate forgetting of a nature in us that has been temporarily hidden, and that craves in the background for our recognition, our remembering. This is why all men and women on this earth are seeking peace and happiness in one form or another.

This particular reality is the subject of countless religious books and spiritual traditions in the world. This was never about having many different beliefs like we sometimes think it is. It was about revealing this truer reality of ours. In the process of doing so, approaches may vary depending on the times and cultures where they arose, and misunderstandings have sprung proportionally, but the fact of our ignorance is the same for all, at all times, in all places. And the reality discovered behind its dispelling is not only the same for all, but is one whole and single reality present here and now as the rock-like experience of being in all beings — be they human or not. This is not a small affair to be pushed around and despised as being mere ‘beliefs’, but is the very core, substance, and meaning of our lives. So why is such an obvious reality being missed by so many of us? What has made it so commonly invisible, and inaccessible?

[…]

Some reflections about how reality is being ignored by man… (READ MORE…)

.