Monday, August 22, 2011

What Enlightenment is Not

There's a catchy title. And I should add some qualifier like, "In My Humble Opinion."  We used to use that a lot in the early days of the web, abbreviated IMHO.  Today, there is far too little humility on the web, wouldn't you say?  I digress.  It is one of the privileges of not being paid to do this.

When I first caught hold of Buddhism, which was more like being swallowed by a wondrous huge blue Buddha-cloud, I got very interested in "enlightenment," which I saw in my fertile mind's eye as a light-filled place, as a constant state of bliss and imperturbable calm.  This, I thought, was what the end of suffering would be like.  In my mind it would be something like eternal union with God.  God was someOne I had a fine relationship too as a young person for a while, until stern Christian definitions made that God untenable.  Still, I had my own idea, formed on early spiritual experiences, and that was where I wanted to reside, perhaps with mystics like Hildegarde.

My evolved idea of enlightenment is just now calling me to do my morning practice.  It is less like "practice" these days, and more like just being with myself for a while, not gaining, as the word "practice" suggests (see Practice makes perfect).  So more later.  Meanwhile, hey, I'll post this, because I may not get back to it for a while.  A cliffhanger.

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