Joseph Maynor

Why Do People Always Think of Enlightenment In A Binary Way?

30 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

I hear people say -- I am Enlightened!  Or, am I Enlightened?  Or, not he's not Enlightened.  It's this all or nothing, binary kind of thinking.

Why not assume Enlightenment is more like a dial that is constantly changing?  It's not a binary thing like a two-way switch, it's more like a constantly changing variable or dial of keen-awareness.

Honestly, this does annoy me when I see it because I can see the Ego chasing the "state of Enlightenment", which is exactly what will never get you progress in this work.

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Edited by Joseph Maynor

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quantum enlightenment ;)


The kingdom of heaven is within.

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@Joseph Maynor This is a good point. I don't think this. I think sometimes i am enlightened. Other times i can't remember what that felt like.
Perhaps people like to call this enlightenment experiences, and label enlightenment as a permanent state. Then they are not incorrect in their labels.

If what i experience is anything resembling enlightenment, I do experience it as a binary thing.
But i find that i can never quite remember it, nor describe it afterwards. Mentally i cannot grasp it. It is more like a feeling, like seeing the face of someone you can't remember the name of. And during meditation, it often comes back to me, and i think, its totally different, but its also the same.
I don't really know, that's just what my meditations are like i guess...

But this is all labeling. I guess when you are enlightened, you are not enlightened.

 

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I think of enlightenment as binary, but awareness levels in gradients. You "know" the truth. You're enlightened. But do you truly believe it? Do you embody it? What level of awareness do you have of the truth? 

I'd venture to say almost everyone on this subforum is enlightened, but how many of us live in such a way? Myself included. Most of the time, I feel like I'm "me" and separate from my surroundings. I get glimpses.

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Posted (edited)

Don't obscure what it really is by a word side step.... it is dualism mindset from the purportedly 'non-dual' practitioners. I could tick off a list of examples of this within the commonly accepted enlightenment theology but instead of potentially igniting a non-duality skirmish I will just say that dualism is deeply ingrained in our subconscious psychology so if one wants to transcend that mindset then awareness of it is powerful.

Yes, awareness fluctuates but I experience thresholds of awakening that once 'seen' they cannot be 'unseen', though can be ignored.

Edited by SOUL

Being at peace is a lasting genuine fulfillment that knowing the truth is not a peer of.

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From what I've learned so far, it's kind of both. There are a couple of distinct 'shifts' or realizations that permanently alter your consciousness, but these can be sudden or take time--it seems to depend on the person. In any case, seeing the effects of these realizations in your life can take time since we have decades of experience as separate selves and are therefore well-conditioned as such. Even those who have been enlightened for a long time can still experience egoic 'after effects' and need to deal with them (kind of like finding an old box in the attic, I guess). 

This is probably the same thing that @hundreth is saying, but it seems that some people can become enlightened quickly and/or with almost no effort, then go through a process of purifying their body/mind/life (or not--*cough* zen devils *cough*). Others undergo a process of purification, then become enlightened. I guess our/your mileage may vary...

Also, it seems that if you have to ask, you are not enlightened. You might be in the process of it, but you have not had the full realization yet. I'll let you know once I get there. :P 

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🖖🏿Lol 

 “enlightenment” or what this word points to is simply freedom from the known “the center” 

The self ”center” can not be enlightened. This is state of negation to the content of ones conciousness. The me and everything the me “thought” has put together

Freedom from personal and collective conciousness quiets the brains conditioned patterns and makes room for a capacity for intelligence/insight. Through this insight all content of the self begins to fade, and through this perception is the ending of the me and all its implications,  then there is freedom from the center. 

To be “enlightened” is to be free of the desire of experience all together. 

Atleast this seems to be the case  🤷🏼‍♂️ Lol 

 

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Posted (edited)

Isn't thought binary in nature?

Edited by Faceless

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Posted (edited)

Lol is this somthing to debate or is it obvious. Thinking implies to measure 

Edited by Faceless

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Whether someone thinks they are enlightened, or thinks they are not enlightened, what does that have in common?

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Posted (edited)

If enlightenment is experiential than this would imply that it is a movement of binary thought or measure? 

Is not that “enlightened” state freedom form measure? 

 

Edited by Faceless

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49 minutes ago, snowleopard said:

Whether someone thinks they are enlightened, or thinks they are not enlightened, what does that have in common?

Do you think, thinking is the problem? :D 

Isn't every word spoken, every letter written an expression of thought? most action in life, follows thought.

Semantically you are completely correct, it depends what you consider they. "Someone thinking" refers to mind/ego/self, as such "they" can never be enlightened, so if mind thinks it is enlightened, it would be thinking a lie. More correct would be, "The mind as self, can think the thought, that enlightenment is being or has been." But who thinks like that? :D 

No one can be enlightened.But there can be enlightenment. Enlightenment always is, for everyone.

3 hours ago, Joseph Maynor said:

Honestly, this does annoy me when I see it because I can see the Ego chasing the "state of Enlightenment", which is exactly what will never get you progress in this work.

Enlightenment is not a goal to reach. It is the dis-identification with everything, and the identification with everything simultaneously.
Because we are not only the ego, the mind and the self. But we very much are in fact the ego, the mind and the self, and so much more. These things all occur, they are experienced. Everything we experience is what we experience.

 

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Not as objective definitions for what is experiential, but in terms of specific experiences that are worthwhile, imo... 

-People don’t have ‘selves’ / the illusion is all the same “substance”/ Everything is you

-The experience of absolute / reversal of what’s “real” & what’s “mystical”. 

I think it’s one or both of these experiences, being so life changing, so ‘reality’ changing, that gets enlightenment referred to as binary. 

 

 


The Truth is unbelievable.

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47 minutes ago, zazed said:

Do you think, thinking is the problem?

Thinking may be a problem insofar as thinking makes it so ;) 

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When I was younger and took shrooms among other things I assumed any life lesson was a result of the shrooms teaching me. It wasn't until I abstained and thought clearly and realized I was just older and wiser. Regardless of whether I was tripping or not the majority of my "enlightenment" was just living life. Yes I used the experiences to feel time disappear and I experienced true oneness which I am convinced has assisted me in meditation many years later, but I strongly agree with you TC, there is no on off switch. When I was 20 I would have believed I was as mature as I would ever get and that yes there was so on off switch to enlightenment. But I wanted to believe that because I was staring down 45 years of working a sensible adult job/life and allowed myself to believe all these distractions and ego tricks so I wouldn't have to face the fact that all those sensible boring things my dad did I was going to have to do.

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When I was 25, unaware of the notions "spirituality", "enlightenment", "ego" and so on, for the first time in my life I snorted a drug, mephedrone (mkat). Until that day the only drug I had ever did was smoking cannabis. I was an unhappy, striving guy. I had no idea what the effect would be. But it was a huge happiness. The problems, worries, I had, seemed so meaningless, I smiled at them. I did not want to be the best. The existence was enough. I saw the truth. I felt it on my every cell. I thought I would never be that unhappy, wrong thinking, lost guy again. But after the effects wore off, my default mode came back. I was shocked that, how come it is possible. I know the truth, but I run after ambitions again. I want to be the best. to beat others. Again. Then second time when I used mkat, I took notes what I think, what I feel, how should a person approach the life. When I was sober I looked at those notes, I knew they were true, but I did not feel them. They did not give me peace. Afterwards when I was sober or drunk or high I thought about the life a lot, what is wrong, what is right, what is truth. I started to chase the truth. And I never knew that somebody else had this experience and these thoughts about life. Until one day, on facebook my friend liked a quote of Osho. I did not know Osho, I read his quote and it was exactly the same what I thought after mkat experience. I was surprised that I am not alone. I dug deeper and got acquainted with spirituality, enlightenment, ego and other spiritual teachers. I want to achieve that state without drugs. But I dont know once I achieve it will my default mode come back again.

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@Joseph Maynor that depends on how you define it..

Enlightenment, as it is understood in all major traditions of enlightenment is binary.. It just means the complete destruction of separation and disappearance of the sense of a separate and personal self. In this sense, either you are enlightened or you are not. 

But there is indeed a complete integration and embodiment of it (which takes time) and also an endless deepening.. But this is no longer a personal journey. There is no longer a psychological longing or a feeling of psychological lack after enlightenment. Enlightenment is the end of this lack and incompleteness but also the beginning of an endless abyss.


Shanmugam

The Truth About Spiritual Enlightenment

When I say 'enlightenment' or 'liberation', this is what I mean: Losing the sense of duality i.e the sense of having a separate identity distinct from the rest of the universe.

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@Shanmugam

I understand you my friend. Could you explain what you mean by the embodiment and integration (which takes time) part. I think I’m meeting you on this but this part needs to be clear first. 

I simply question whether time is necessary. 

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Why do people say 'I was enlightened" or ask "when were you/they enlightened"? Why use a past tense word on a present tense state of being?

The 'time' that enlightenment is realized is now so referring to a present state of being in consciousness by using the past tense of the word is revealing. It's not particularly about the word because those are just labels, it's really more about the tense used as it reflects the view of it in the mindset of those using it being an obstacle to realizing awakening in the present moment.

It's not something that "happened", it's presently "happening" and that ever present happening is our evidence of the experience.


Being at peace is a lasting genuine fulfillment that knowing the truth is not a peer of.

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@Faceless I can tell you what happened to me. In July 2014, there was a complete destruction of duality.

And there are two things when I say integration:

1. Certain old thought patterns occurred at times and they were emotionally challenging. It didn't affect me as it did before and there was no feeling of misery. Those are just old thought patterns which got triggered by certain situations. Such old patterns take some time to completely run out. It is similar to how the bicycle wheel continues to move forward for a while even after you stop pedalling.

2. Also, for a brief period of time, I was no longer functioning the society the same way I did. I have to get used to living in non-duality and also function in social life. It was pretty much like relearning everything. It is like creating a conscious social identity all over again but it happened very gradually over the last two years. It seems to be complete now.

But these are challenges, not personal problems. They will no longer seem to affect you.

Edited by Shanmugam

Shanmugam

The Truth About Spiritual Enlightenment

When I say 'enlightenment' or 'liberation', this is what I mean: Losing the sense of duality i.e the sense of having a separate identity distinct from the rest of the universe.

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