Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Re-Framing Enlightenment

I have been thinking for a while that the concept of enlightenment is a trap. If I may quote from my own reddit comment,
Personally, I think enlightenment is a trap and should be avoided at all costs. It sets an unachievable goal, it creates division between people, and it makes them talk for hours. Oh boy, does it make them talk! On and on about all the silence and calm. Babble babble babble. Monkey mind and monkey talk, from dusk till dawn about nonduality and enlightenment.
On the other hand, I am a lot into tantra and meditation and all that fancy "spiritual" stuff. I even have some vegan yearnings, sometimes, for crying out loud!

So what to do.

I think maybe we should replace the word enlightenment with something simple, "western", that people actually know: How about the word consciousness?

One consequence of that is that things become tremendously easy to explain.

The idea is that you are not truly conscious of your thoughts as long as you identify with them. It's more like they colonize your thoughtspace, rather than you grant them their space, graciously and with joy. A mind under occupation is not a free mind.

You can only be concious of that screen in front of you because you are in some way separate from it. You can observe it.

You can do the same thing with your thoughts.

The only difference is that you can hardly identify with the screen (or so I hope), but you will naturally tend to identify with your own thoughts.

But you don't have to.

If you choose to give your mind something to focus on, to train yourself to focus. You do that by focusing on your breath, simply because it is there, it is cheap, and it has a rhythm. Nothing more to it. It takes time and dedication, but that's really it.

Of course, total consiousness, 24/7/365, is still a complete and utter illusion. You just cannot have it. But you can have a fair share, and it's gonna be legen.... wait for it.... dary!

But it might be easier to not fall for the metaphysical trap, if you use terms that actually have meaning in the real world, rather than religious mumbo-jumbo.


  1. I don't like this version of enlightenment. Not enough marketing fluff to sustain the industry.

  2. Yeah, you're right. We should make 'em suffer for their spiritual progress. After all, the buddha invented hell for a reason.