I will never become enlightened.
Is it true?
I don't know. I don't even really know what enlightenment means.
Can I absolutely know that it's true that I will never become enlightened?
No; I gather one doesn't get to choose how, when and if it happens. So it could happen, if enlightenment even exists.
How do I react when I believe this thought?
I become saddened and discouraged whenever I am reactive and "unenlightened" (like today). I read accounts of "awakening" and I feel that I am so far from anything like illuminated that it is hopeless; I can't even imagine living out of this mindset. I compare myself unfavorably with those who appear to be awake to their "true nature," whatever that is. I am jealous and not a little mistrustful of those who teach about this state of oneness and illumination; if it is so natural, why can't I have it or be it right now?
I live in longing for something that to me, right now, is unreal. I don't love my "unenlightened" life or self.
When I have short-lived glimpses of what seems to be awakened awareness, I mourn for those moments afterwards. Or I become cynical; I tell myself that wasn't "it," and that maybe there is no such thing.
When I think this thought and I believe it, I'm no fun to be around. I'm in God's business. I experience increased stress, physical fatigue and am more aware of physical limitations than I normally am. I feel lonely and lost.
I hold this belief because it gives me an escape clause. I don't have to be dedicated to understanding myself. I get an excuse to play harder (which is not playing at all), to get lost in the world of emotions, to backtrack to what is comfortable.
But I also get such a deep sense of sadness and separation.
Who would I be without this thought?
I would inquire into my stressful beliefs and love the deepening and quickening that results. I would not worry about the future. I would love my "enlightened" moments and be gentle with myself the rest of the time.
I would revel in the beautiful descriptions I read of awakened awareness. And I would realize that I love those accounts because they reflect what is already true for me, what I already know and where I occasionally live.
I will always become enlightened.
This thought could be just as true. Byron Katie says, "You don't wake up forever; it's now. Now. Now." There is no future. Enlightenment occurs each time suffering is met with sanity, each time a stressful belief is revealed to be a lie.
I will never become unenlightened.
That feels truer than my original statement. As the old story goes, that snake is really a rope when we look closely. And once the truth is glimpsed, even if momentarily forgotten, the rope can never again be believed to be a snake.
I feel a bit closer now to being enlightened about what enlightenment is...even though my work's not done.
©2007 by Carol L. Skolnick. All rights reserved.