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Chapter 8 - The Lion's Roar
Enlightenment is real and must manifest in a real way. It is not something far away, but here and now with us at this moment, with no criteria or requirements. It is what we are, only we don’t recognize it.
Enlightenment must include everything within consciousness; and this means mind and behavior considered unenlightened. When someone lives in higher consciousness, all behavior is contained within it - there is not enlightened and unenlightened behavior.
People seek to achieve a particular state of evolvement and expect enlightened souls to act in a particular fashion according to their concepts of how an enlightened person should be. As this is not the case, many people become disillusioned when they are face to face with an enlightened being. The enlightened ones never meet the expectations we may have of them.
For example, you can walk into Papaji’s house and he may be glued to the TV watching cricket or he may be chewing pan, an addictive substance. While he is watching TV or chewing pan, satsang is happening and people are helped because his behavior is included within his higher consciousness. For more than six years I’ve watched this. It is Papaji’s grace that allowed us to see him in his totality and this has been a teaching in itself.
Osho, on the other hand, mostly showed his public face and many of his disciples gathered erroneous ideas of what an enlightened being is supposed to be like.
There are no models of enlightenment. How existence wants us to flower is unique, and there are no guidelines. For example, Osho conceived the idea of ‘Zorba the Buddha’. This concept implies a enlightened being should be in the world like ‘Zorba the Greek’, tasting its nectar, and at same time, to be detached from the world like a Buddha. As good as this sounds, it is a concept and has limitations. One can be a Buddha without being a Zorba and it is just as valid. Thousands of Osho followers have tried and are trying to become ‘Zorba the Buddha’, with the result that many are misled into false notions rather than searching for their own true nature, which is unique for them.
Enlightenment is our natural state, which is very simple. It is so simple and so close we overlook it. It is a healing, a return home to this natural state – it is a love affair with one’s own Self.
Enlightenment has been described and discussed in countless spiritual books. When we meet it face to face, we see the realness of it, not what is written in books. It is not about becoming a super centered, perfect, compassionate, and omnipotent being. It is about being with one’s Self, and realizing ‘who you are’. It is about waking up to illusions of mind and understanding the nature of samsara.
Lets us look at what is meant by this.
All four aspects of the above statement are actually one point. If we realize ‘who we are’; we are being with our own self. In being with our own Self, we wake up to the illusions of mind. When we wake up to the illusions of mind, we understand the nature of Samsara. Therefore, the only task so to speak, is to inquire and find out ‘Who am I?’ From this everything follows and is revealed in its own way.
Knowing who we are is not an intellectual understanding - it is an existential happening of becoming consciously aware of our selves without the separation of observer and observed.
How to become aware of our natural state?
This can only happen through Grace – it is Grace that wakes us up, and to be in our original nature is to be in Grace. There are unknowable factors as well, for to wake and to stay awake requires something additional, something unknown. What that is, who can say?
A Sat-guru is a realized person who has the ability to help others awake. In his presence, if conditions are favorable, it is easier to become consciously aware of one’s self. In this life, my meetings with Masters were the times when awakening occurred.
I strongly suggest finding a Master. The Master can show you truth even though it is up to Grace and the will of existence whether you take it. As much as we want ultimate perfection, it will not be obtained unless it is given.
Now, why does our true nature, our birthright, need to be given?
It is not that it is given, for we are that, but conscious recognition has to be given in one form or another. This form might be a spontaneous experience or a Master.
We are all lost in endless dreams. Our ignorance is so deep. It is almost impossible to come out of the dreams even with the constant grace and light of a Master. Our belief systems are so strong, so deeply rooted and close to us, it seems truly unbelievable we are something more than our beliefs. Awakening is waking up from this hypnotism. We awake from the dream of belief we are something that we are not.
At the same time, it is so simple. When illusions drop, one simply is, because truth is always present. We can’t imagine there was ever a problem. We see always we have been in truth; only we were thinking we were not. I am gratefully aware of the divine source of myself. Mind is still present; tendencies are still there; ego is still present and all are included within my being. Now, I know mind’s illusions and I have the key to live in truth with my own Self. It is grace that brings me there and maintains the light when it is wavering.
The happening of enlightenment is not a happening yet something shifts deep within. It is something of a death and yet it is not that either. The change comes from somewhere beyond understanding, and is bigger than our limited perceptions.
It appears many people today jump further into depths of consciousness. Many are waking up and there are many Masters available. I have watched hundreds of people experience something beyond mind and personality.
Many wake up, abide in Self and watch mind return, having the feeling of losing their awakening. What is going on? Is the awakening an illusion? Is it possible to lose one’s enlightenment?
The answer is a question of right understanding and attachment to desires. First, people confuse enlightenment with the experience of enlightenment. Enlightenment is the knowledge we are consciousness and nothing else. There are no objects of enlightenment and truth never changes. Our awareness, our consciousness, never changes. Everything else comes and goes. Love, bliss, clarity, peace and feelings of enlightenment come and go. What is left is consciousness and awareness of it.
Second, our attachment to the fulfillment of desires and our persistent belief this world is real, keeps us identified with the personality rather than remaining in the abidance of self. It is the rope that keeps us bound and pulls us back into mind, which gives the feeling of losing it.
When we first experience our own self, it is literally mind blowing. The gateways of heaven open for the first time and it is beyond words to describe it. At some point the mind returns and we feel we have lost it. This finding and losing continues to disturb until it becomes clear we are only consciousness and nothing else.
When the switch to stay with consciousness is made, bliss arises from the intrinsic nature of being with our own Self that never leaves. We are Brahma and Brahma is existence, consciousness and bliss. It is very obvious we exist and we are conscious but it is the bliss we are not aware of usually. The awareness of bliss happens almost as a reward when there is a commitment to living in consciousness.
Commitment to live in consciousness happens if mind is present or not.
We abide in consciousness whether engaging in tendencies or not.
How can it be any other way? It is a great wisdom to realize this.
A very few pure souls abide in Self without much movement into tendencies (desires). These are very great souls and we are lucky to meet such a person.
The majority of souls obtain enlightenment with mind. That is, there are still desires, which are being engaged. They are also desirable to meet; for in truth, there is no difference between these types. It is only in the apparent world of time it appears so.
Having right understanding is as important as the actual experience of awakening itself.
In Split Second 3, awakening occurred during the meeting with the Holymen in Delhi, yet I had no real understanding; in a way, I was like a chicken without a head, running here and there. When mind returned, I was at a loss about what it meant and hence the plunge back into ignorance.
The importance of being with a master after awakening is critical. It is a tightrope walk to stay awake. Any slight push can throw us off, back into ignorance. Mind is so tricky we mistake ignorance for truth and truth for ignorance. The knowledge only consciousness exist, is the best aid to help from going astray. Mind can weave itself into the actual experience of awakening and many people go off track because of this - they don’t stay purely with Self. This is one of the reasons why always there are so many weird spiritual trips going on.
We can be at peace, in communion with our own Self regardless of any manifestation of personality. The desire for perfection, which rises from mind, keeps us from our own Self and knowing our own eternal, never changing perfection.
We don’t have to transcend anger or sex or to emanate unconditional love to be with our own Self. We can include all these aspects within consciousness.
Of course there can arise from Self, an urge for perfection to change some aspect of personality or to relieve some form of suffering. This divine urge can be followed while still being with our own Self. Only in this way can real change truly happen.
There is a commitment that happens with Truth. We commit ourselves to living the Self. I have seen many experience truth, emptiness and then choose to return to desires and experiences of life. It seems they are the first to scream they lost their enlightenment when suffering appears again. If we put our hands in the fire, we will get burnt. That is the nature of samsara.
If we look for fulfillment of desires, suffering is surely to occur. Some, who have this commitment, can also have desires and experiences of life and even get lost in them. However, commitment to Self, to freedom remains. There is no choice about this because there is no choice to have consciousness and to be in this dream. We cannot help waking up every day.
Discovering who we are is the only real action. All the rest is dream stuff, as permanent as sand castles in the sand. What happens within the dream is not so important because we are still in the dream no matter what. At the same time because we don’t have control, attention to the dream-as-real must be made, for this creation is part of us and yet is beyond us.
If you could watch Papaji, you would notice how much attention he paid to the details of life.
The commitment to Self is the recognition: ‘Yes, this is a dream; I know it and I know it is impermanent, and attachment to it leads to suffering.’
On the positive side, as Self becomes more and more our daily waking consciousness, we simply are it and are committed because to live it is superior to living in personality.
Enlightened beings go on with life, yet they know their happiness doesn’t depend on external events. They know bliss is their natural state and they know how to sit in it. It is the most wonderful thing in the world to abide in our own Self; and for this, no change is needed; only the recognition of who we are.