Enlightenment is an Accident: Practice makes us Accident-Prone (Zen Master)
All human souls will develop into Enlightened Beings. Perhaps you’ve noticed the instinct to connect with the part of you that goes beyond materiality. Enlightenment means we experience causeless joy, oneness with all creation and are liberated from the illusions of this world. The evolution of our consciousness to this kind of awareness is why we are here on this planet and each of us is at a different place in the journey.
Our Zen Master suggests ‘practice’… so what sort of practice could we put in?
Self-inquiry is a good place to start. We can ask questions like: who am I, how did I get to be like this, why is this area such a recurring problem for me, why do I receive such joy doing this?
The inquiry is of our ego and eventually we will find it is a false self. This facet of our being sets itself up as the maker, breaker, source and supply of all our survival. It has stances galore after editing our life’s events. There is a monstrous collection of stories garnered from the past, the future, from the culture we were brought up in, and how that was done, stories in respect to our gender as well as those about other people who made an impression on us one way or another. Stories, opinions, beliefs, offences, defenses, judgments… they all get fused together creating what we usually call ‘me’.
The ego is an ancient thing, possibly initially helpful as human life began on this planet. But after much evolution it seems to have become our master. It is self-absorbed, unsophisticated, crude and deals in extremes. Indeed, it can be trained to be cultured but underneath sometimes it may want to kill. In many lives it totally covers any higher perspective. But it must be unraveled and calmed and healed as we move towards reaching the goal.
A life crisis may catapult us into this inquiry because the ego has shown itself to be incapable of the protection it has always been offering. Or maybe we came in contact with someone quite advanced on the spiritual path, were effected by their energy field and this has stirred up questions.
Pain very often comes with a life crisis so this doorway is as good as any to enter through – Why am I hurting so much!?
It is wise to say this: if there is any shred of belief in Higher Powers then solicit help from that area. You may have already done so. It is observed regularly that persons in some catastrophic situation will instinctively call on God. There is supernatural help available.
The intense sensation created by the story that has just been ripped to shreds needs to be felt. Fully experience it, do not shun the pain and confusion. In humility observe reasons for the behaviour and attitudes that you exhibited in respect to ‘the story’. (Forget about what the other person did.) Without doubt the approach will be found to have been very self-centered.
Bringing this internal stuff into our consciousness causes a miracle to happen. The negative energy of pain, mistaken belief and judgement disappear: it has been transmuted into wisdom and strength. Now it is possible to connect truly with life in that area without distortion. We can respond to circumstances rather than react.
All sorts of questions arise as we move along the path of self-inquiry but be assured that answers will arrive. A crack in the armor of the ego, the false god has occurred and the higher Self, Reality, Divinity, Cosmic Consciousness, the Universe, call it what you will, is becoming available with the real truth about our existence.
Who knows how long any person will take to get to the bottom of the illusion (it’s a bit like layers coming off an onion) but the ego-consciousness is dissolved much more comfortably with compassion, understanding, acceptance and familiarity. Think of it as a patient to be healed. As identification with the false self loses its grip guilt, fear, denial and projection of our faults onto another cease. Life is more pleasant when we are not totally lost in the vanity and survival schemes of this entity pretending to be ‘me’.
Stay tuned for more practices.