The Road To Becoming A Warrior Part 5
The first stage of enlightenment is to clear your mind of all the demons you have created and those created for you. You must practice being a moral human being. Do your best. Try to do no intentional harm etc. Through the five Toltec points of agreement and many other roads provided by Hindu and Buddhist and Taoist teachings such as meditation (usually to quiet the mind) celibacy (to keep the mind away from distraction) mantra (meaning instrument of thought) and visualization of self as the Buddha, Jesus, or any deity or enlightened person. Visualization techniques can also be specific like the heart or breath etc. Each has its own purpose and yields its own results.
These teachings such as mantra and meditation are meant to eventually physically transform you. They are said to be able to open channels of energy throughout the body. They also cause all manner of problems for the individual in that they bring up hidden thoughts that need to be resolved. Some people complain of not being able to sleep when this starts happening. It causes great surges of energy to run through your body. Palpitations. The more you meditate and try to quiet the mind the more you will encounter issues you need to resolve first before your mind can be quiet. Once those inner issues are resolved these unwanted pains and irritations will subside. But it takes a lot of hard work and there is intentional suffering involved to get to an awakened state of mind.
Awareness is stressed in meditation. Your mind must be quieted but you must remain completely aware. This is why you are given things to concentrate on like a mantra or visualizing yourself as a Buddha. Some like to call it cultivating awareness rather than gaining enlightenment. It is the same thing in the end. The idea is to let go of ego and self, and become free as an enlightened being.
With these methods you can achieve great states of bliss. You can achieve out of body experience. You can experience the feeling of just knowing. You will experience unity in the totality. These states of mind are all very achievable. The Vedic’s and the Hindus and the Buddhists can all achieve these states of mind. They can also be achieved through the shamanistic use of herbs and plants to speed up the process. But you have to want it.
Zen tells us we have to want it so bad that it feels like we have a hot metal ball in our mouths which we can neither swallow nor spit out.
You have to let go of attachments so your awareness can return to the source. Once you recognize that source you are enlightened and free.
But what is you? What is the “I” which becomes free? We are told to remove all ego and become our true selves. We hypnotize ourselves with mantras to achieve states of bliss. Visualize ourselves as Buddha to realize the source of self.
Breaking down ego is not as hard as one thinks. It requires only one thing: A giving up of the idea of self. The way to accomplish this is to cultivate states of non-judgement. We have already covered the fact that judging yourself and others can be destructive to both parties and a hindrance to enlightenment. Imagine a state where you just hear sound, just see images but are not attached to judging how they affect you. You know the sound of a bird without thinking about it being a bird. You see images and know what they are. You need do nothing and need think nothing, you are just aware. You are observing sound and light without judgment.
This is all to make you see that all is connected and the source of you is the all or totality, not an individual with a name and a history.
When enlightened you are reborn and often this rebirth is from physical (or metaphorical) death. Enlightenment is said to hit you like a bolt of lightning. One Zen master is said to have become so frustrated with not being able to gain enlightenment that he took a sword and cut off his arm. And at that moment of pain he came to full realization. Pity he had to lose his arm.
There are hundreds of examples of enlightenment just ramming in to people when they have given up all hope. No one said this was going to be easy.
The Buddha is said to have gained enlightenment meditating on his breath. There is an entire type of meditation technique devoted to this one practice. There are techniques where you cool the body temperature by sitting out on a cool night in meditation. Eventually you no longer feel the body. It disappears. No more distraction for the mind so it can become quiet.
All this to find and realize that the source of you is the totality itself, not an individual.
I have experienced all these states in my youth. Some through meditation and some through shamanistic methods. But I learned something very important. One can go too far. One can lose oneself and instead of enlightenment find nothing. This was also the experience of U. G Krishnamurti:
“If you have the courage to touch life for the first time, you will never know what hit you. Everything man has thought, felt and experienced is gone, and nothing is put in its place.”
Nothing is put in its place. If you succeed in completely eliminating self, you are dead, not enlightened. Not free. This is not to say an almost egoless person cannot exist. I know some. One can reach the states of enlightenment talked about by the Buddhist and the Hindu. States of glorious bliss attached to the all. You can become one with the all. But you can also lose yourself so completely that there is no longer a you or an all.
Perhaps U. G and I didn’t do it right. But we did our best. We spent years in the pursuit of enlightenment and achieved it for all intents and purposes; and then took a look beyond and found nothing. I never met him. I heard of him briefly when I was actively meditating and searching. But I didn’t read his words until much later, after my own experiences.
Does this mean there is no enlightenment? Hardly. There surely is. But it is not to be found in a total destruction of self. The question becomes, what do you want from enlightenment? If it is a way to all the answers, it is easy. The answers are all the same. Love and serve. All religions tell us that.
But what they may not tell us is that ego is not the thing that needs to be destroyed. It’s exclusion from self. And this may take some explaining.