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Enlightenment. What is it and how do we know when we have achieved it?

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posted on Jan, 31 2009 @ 04:29 PM
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reply to post by Mr Green
 





No fear of the now and fire in the above?

Protesting at the Vietnamese conflict, he drove to town, got out meditated and doused himself in petrol and set fire to himself.

Even in full lotus as he burned as can be seen.

All fear is based on the "this" and "that" the world of the Ego, the ego wanting to protect itself

To protect the illusion! the illusion is the Ego and world of it.

I am not saying this monk is right, he did it to bring attention to the use of Napalm on civilians, and his horror at children burning to death.

His motivation is right, maybe actions wrong, but if his actions helped save more lives than his he is right.

Anyhow had no Fear at all.

Kind Regards,

Elf




posted on Jan, 31 2009 @ 04:33 PM
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If you have to ask, you aren't.



posted on Jan, 31 2009 @ 04:37 PM
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reply to post by discariot
 


But all who have become so, had to ask first both themselves and others.



Elf



posted on Jan, 31 2009 @ 04:54 PM
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reply to post by discariot
 

I wouldn't say that, some people are just so vain that they don't need to know the definition of enlightenment before they claim they have reached it.



posted on Jan, 31 2009 @ 09:20 PM
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Originally posted by midicon

."The self can only be observed through relationship" was a quote from Jung which I recall from years ago. I thought it would be interesting to hear views on it before revealing the source.For me, I always thought it was self explanatory really and I can't understand the confusion.


Part of the the confusion is that it seems you are misunderstanding the nature of language itself. How it works. After reading again this whole mess, I decided to go and look into Jung in order that I may understand better what YOU meant by "self."

Not surprisingly, Jung's idea of "self" (as I just read it) is not the same at all as the way I use the term. Or many use the term. Some use the term "self" to describe what Jung would call "ego." I use the term "Self" as "consciousness itself" aside from all of what he calls the ego, shadow, persona, etc.

You seem to be operating under the assumption that words have inherent meaning. That someone should hear a word, and it should mean the same thing to everyone who hears it. Clearly this is not so, or we would all speak the same language.

Words have no inherent meaning. They are nonsense sounds until two or more people agree to assign that sound to a mental concept that is shared. If you have been reading Jung, you have heard his long explanation of his definition of "self," and now you share the concept that he is linking the word "self" to. However not everyone has read Jung. (I havent gotten around to it yet.) So others of us may link the word/sound "self" to wholly different concepts.

They may not share the mental concept-word link with you, and so you may get very unusual responses. This doesnt mean that people are necessarily too unenlightened to discuss the matter. Or that they are silly, stupid, or whatever else one might assume when frustrated. It merely means that there is no agreement between you and them that the sound or word "self" stands for one specific mental concept. Or to be more precise that it stands for the same mental concept for both of you. Both people have assigned that sound to a concept, simply not the same one.

I know the endless defining and refining of word use annoys some, but when people are discussing the exotic, it is simply part of the deal. It is difficult enough finding words that precisely fit someones conceptual understanding when experience is shared. When one is discussing things that may NOT be shared experiences, it becomes even more complicated.

The Sufi mystic and philosopher al-Ghazali liked this to trying to share the experience of "drunkeness" with someone who has never had alcohol. You can tell them what was consumed, how the person behaved when intoxicated, but you can never convey what it is to be drunk to someone who has not themselves had the experience. The concept you are trying to explain has to be there in their mind already so that you can come to agreement what word/sound to link to that concept. If it is simply not there, all you can do is say, "it is something sort of like...." (insert closest shared concept.) Maybe you can "frankenstein" several concepts they already hold together, but this process requires discussing and open minded listening on both sides.

When people are misunderstood and just write the other party to the conversation off, they are acting too hastily, in my opinion. And, it betrays an inability to see things from anothers point of view. Not everyone shares the same background, and it really isnt viable to assume that everyone shares the word/concept links that we prefer.



posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 12:51 AM
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reply to post by Illusionsaregrander
 
I am well aware of the fact that words have no inherent meaning.I also require no clarification on the nature of language.Shall we now go on to discuss what I mean by 'nature'? Look it is all too easy to be picky, pedantic and clever with words. Is this not obvious? If I say ' the concept of enlightenment is an illusion' I would not expect the reply ' concepts are not illusions ' or whatever. I have not said that. I said ' the concept of enlightenment' implying and establishing a relationship between those two words.Of course if say 'the self can only be observed through relationship' I realise that we may have to find a little 'common ground' on what we mean by 'self'. Shall we then go on to discuss what is meant by 'observed' and 'relationship'? I shall have to be more careful! I fear someone is now going to post me a 'koan' that I shall have to worry about, fret about, eat dream and sleep about! Are we talking about the 'exotic'? or'esoteric'?!
It is interesting that you should mention the words 'drunkenness' and 'sufi'. You know, that old sufi fox Gurdjieff used to like getting people drunk in order to observe a little of their true nature! Thankyou for your kind words.



posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 05:49 AM
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Originally posted by midicon
I am well aware of the fact that words have no inherent meaning.I also require no clarification on the nature of language.Shall we now go on to discuss what I mean by 'nature'? Look it is all too easy to be picky, pedantic and clever with words.


It also makes all the difference. If I say a word like "God" and two completely different thoughts pop into two peoples' heads, is that being "picky, pedantic and clever with words"? Because I would call it a serious communication problem.


If I say ' the concept of enlightenment is an illusion' I would not expect the reply ' concepts are not illusions ' or whatever. I have not said that. I said ' the concept of enlightenment' implying and establishing a relationship between those two words.


On one level you are right, because everything is an illusion.

In another context, I disagree that "the concept of enlightenment is an illusion." Not because it isn't an illusion, but because it is a concept, and it does exist as such, though concepts are illusions too.

Contradictions exist, and are actually very useful. They make the difference between looking at something one way, and looking at it another way.



posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 06:18 AM
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Originally posted by discariot
If you have to ask, you aren't.



You could also say that those that claim they are with a very loud voice from up on a high horse with methods for all on how to reach enlightenment have not reached it also.

(This is in no way aimed at you it is in relation to your post and how also its opposite is also true)



posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 11:00 AM
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reply to post by bsbray11
 
Deary me, I thought we had covered this? The word 'god' like the word 'self' can easily be discussed by estabishing a little 'common ground' is that so difficult? Anyway who brought god into this? Lets leave him out of it, I'm sure he won't mind. Let's not forget that I haven't said anything about the word 'concept' Are concepts illusions? Are they real? It is irrelevant to the statement. Concepts are constructions of thought and as such cannot touch upon enlightenment.Thought is always trapped in itself, enfolded in itself, it cannot go 'outside' of itself. Is this not simple enough? Do I now have to introduce 'enlightenment? Is everything an illusion? Do contradictions exist? or is there just a lack of under standing. It is so easy to complicate things and introduce 'levels' or 'depth' that is not required. Thought falls into this trap so effortlessly it is upon us before we know it. Self observation is the key and with endeavor and diligence awareness will grow. I have a question! Is love an emotion? What do you think?Thankyou kindly for your attention



posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 12:37 PM
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Originally posted by midicon
reply to post by bsbray11
 
Self observation is the key and with endeavor and diligence awareness will grow.


It certainly will, but awareness is not enlightenment except of the awareness of the ultimate nature and truth of everything.

Some very very intelligent people are very aware of all the facts, concepts ideas etc etc, but no where near enlightenment.

And it is not soo much in self observation but it is found but in the breaking down of the idea of the "self" and observing all as the self, not the self as the all!

If you look on my post in this thread

The Story from external text on this post here

This very issue and stance you come from is covered by a famous enlightenment moment. And it certainly was not self observation, but other observation or compassion that led to it.



I have a question! Is love an emotion? What do you think?Thankyou kindly for your attention


Its a pleasure,

Humans see and call love an emotion or feeling. but that as I explained in the post on the previous page is a concept, name self position that is an Illusion. LOVE is everything but not Love for what we get in return that can quickly turn to hate or anger when it is unrequited like a lover spawn, but unconditional love, as in the story I link to above.

Love for Love sake as all is love anyhow under the fog of the illusion of the ego.

Also whatever name we give it emotion, feeling, thought is in essence labelling it with something that is not the only part of it that is unchanging, the only thing in the universe that we live in, that unfolds us that is truly Permanent.

If I put my hand in cold icy water, is it right to say it is "hurt" or "pain" yes from my point of view, they are feelings, emotions too, however to a star what is a lump of ice, to the vacuum of space is a comet "Cold" or "Pain" no, so again I am sorry you are getting lost in the trap of the illusion of "label" and "name" "this" "that"

All is illusion except Ultimate truth and Love and ALL or the One.

The rest is just clouds obscuring a bright warm sun.

Elf.



posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 01:06 PM
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Originally posted by midicon
Is this not obvious? If I say ' the concept of enlightenment is an illusion' I would not expect the reply ' concepts are not illusions ' or whatever. I have not said that. I said ' the concept of enlightenment' implying and establishing a relationship between those two words.


Well, perhaps I am just dense, and that is possible, but no, it is not obvious to me what you mean by that. I would expect someone who makes such a statement to explain them self a bit so that I could be certain I am on the same page. Linking two words together in a sentence is NOT the same as making sure each of those words is linked to the same mental concept in both you the speaker and your listener.

I have an idea what you mean by that, but I would consider more discussion necessary to ensure I was not leaping to conclusions. In an earlier discussion with another member, they used a word that implied something wholly different from what they intended. It happens. Seeking clarification is, in my opinion, the respectful thing to do. Otherwise, you are not really having a discussion. You are having two running monologues.

I personally find that you dont really need to get someone drunk to see their true nature. Generally speaking they will show it to you quite readily. You just have to watch to see how consistently they apply what they expect of others to themselves.

Edit to add;


Originally posted by midicon
I realise that we may have to find a little 'common ground' on what we mean by 'self'. Shall we then go on to discuss what is meant by 'observed' and 'relationship'?


Judging from the responses you received, I think that those terms could have stood a bit more clarification. IF that is, a meeting of the minds was your goal. However, I would not assume that as yet either. I would say there is at least an equal chance that your goal is simply to prove to yourself that most people talking about "enlightenment" really just havent a clue, but you yourself do. In which case, there would be no motive to explain yourself clearly and work towards a meeting of the minds as that could undermine your actual end.



[edit on 1-2-2009 by Illusionsaregrander]



posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 01:49 PM
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Originally posted by midicon
reply to post by bsbray11
 
Deary me, I thought we had covered this? The word 'god' like the word 'self' can easily be discussed by estabishing a little 'common ground' is that so difficult? Anyway who brought god into this? Lets leave him out of it, I'm sure he won't mind. Let's not forget that I haven't said anything about the word 'concept' Are concepts illusions? Are they real? It is irrelevant to the statement. Concepts are constructions of thought and as such cannot touch upon enlightenment.Thought is always trapped in itself, enfolded in itself, it cannot go 'outside' of itself. Is this not simple enough? Do I now have to introduce 'enlightenment? Is everything an illusion? Do contradictions exist? or is there just a lack of under standing. It is so easy to complicate things and introduce 'levels' or 'depth' that is not required. Thought falls into this trap so effortlessly it is upon us before we know it. Self observation is the key and with endeavor and diligence awareness will grow. I have a question! Is love an emotion? What do you think?Thankyou kindly for your attention



I really dont think enlightenment is meant to be about words and their meaning. I think and I hope its a lot more simpler than this. When I have felt moments of pure consciousness, a total connection to all, my inner being of total love, I have no words to describe it, so words really dont mean all that much to me.

God these days is an over used word. Eckhart Tolle describes it as almost meaningless through thousands of years of misuse. The word is often used in religious arguments of "my god is better than your god" or your God is a "false God".

He states it has become a closed concept. Many immediatly imagine an old man with grey hair and a long beard looking down from a cloud. Many now find they cant see how this figure is relevant to them anymore. How can a man on a cloud be part of me? How can we all be one when hes up there and Im down here?

Eckhart Tolle changes the word God to being. This is not as in a being (like an alien or whatever) but as in our inner being. This word being has the advantage of being an open concept. No one immediatly has an image in their mind of what it is. No religion can claim possession of our inner being because it is ours. It is a far easier step to realize your inner being, your inner being is of course God but it is easier to access.

Is love an emotion? No I think its a powerful energy force with its own frequency. (Good question by the way
) When I open my heart chakra I feel a powerful energy flow from it , this energy is not an emotion it is pure unconditional love. It is said that the heart chakra is the door way to enlightenment, without a fully open heart chakra we are unable to make a direct link to the love of the universal consciousness, to our oneness. It is said that through the heart chakra we are reborn into the light. I think a totally open heart chakra does indeed provide a connection to the divine.

Enlightenment is a spiritual path, it is one that we must learn compassion and unconditional love.

Unconditional love is a love that is just that, it loves and expects nothing in return. This to me is not an emotion but an energy from the creator.

My avatar is of the heart chakra.


[edit on 1-2-2009 by Mr Green]



posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 03:59 PM
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reply to post by MischeviousElf
 
Hello Elf, yes you certainly are mischevious! Did I say that awareness is enlightenment? Are you saying that awareness of the ultimate nature and truth of everything is enlightenment? Do you really want to say this? Is there an ultimate nature and truth of everything? These are assumptions and conclusions arrived at by thought or are you enlightened? You may say of course 'by intuition, insight, awareness and understanding' or even by direct experience! but then you would know that there is nothing that can be said about enlightenment neither by words or analogy! This as I'm sure you know is the difficulty faced by all the great teachers and masters. The only possible answer I suppose is silence.We may have the experience but it cannot be communicated. You say "and it is not so much in self observation but it is found in the idea of the breaking down of the self" What do you think self observation does? It is stripping away the illusion of self until ultimately you are left with nothing. Same thing really! Would this nothing then equal enlightenment? I was not aware that I was coming from a certain stance I can only say what I think! We can of course 'self observe ' by observing others but I think, and I could be wrong here, it would just complicate things even more. Why do you think I say self observation is the key? Perhaps if we keep it simple and use the key then the door will open. Easy to say of course! I will get back to you on your reply to my question but I will say, intuition tells me you are missing something! but it is an honest question and one which I have thought about but can never reach conclusion. Thankyou you have been most kind!



posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 04:28 PM
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Originally posted by midicon
reply to post by MischeviousElf
 
Hello Elf, yes you certainly are mischevious!


I like this it made me laugh for some reason. It is a good name MischeviousElf I love it!

Thanks .



posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 05:27 PM
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Originally posted by midicon
Deary me, I thought we had covered this? The word 'god' like the word 'self' can easily be discussed by estabishing a little 'common ground' is that so difficult?


Extremely.

You act like you are thirsty when your "cup" appears filled to the brim.

Tell me what Beethoven's 9th Symphony sounds like, in English words only. I want to be able to hear it in my head, just as it actually sounds. Surely we can find enough common ground to accomplish this, what do you say?


My concept of "God" is beyond words. That means, no common ground, because "common ground" presupposes communication, which presupposes words. I could not describe to you what "God" means to me if my life depended on it. I could more accurately represent it in a beautiful work of art, if I were trained as an artist, but I am not. And even that work would be in vain unless it inspired in you the abstract states of mind and experiences that have helped me formulate my picture of "God," which will always be incomplete. In short, if we do share any common ground, it isn't actually ground, but in the sky. But I don't think we share it.



Thought is always trapped in itself, enfolded in itself, it cannot go 'outside' of itself.


It can go "inside" of itself, which is the same thing. Transcendence is stepping back from a TV program and realizing that you are just watching TV, and that it isn't "real." Transcendence is also looking, hearing, tasting, sensing, with your body, and realizing that it's just a tool that you are being harnessed through, and those sensations are truly all that is "real" to "you."


Do contradictions exist? or is there just a lack of under standing.


Contradictions exist, I assure you. That's why such a word was invented.


It is so easy to complicate things and introduce 'levels' or 'depth' that is not required.


Can I ask how you determine what is or isn't "required," and what goal you are seeking that anything has to be "required" of anything else?

I'm just trying to make you think like an infant. Hopefully you don't look down upon the infant, because in its innocent ignorance, its "blank slate" state of mind, it learns more rapidly than a human being at any other age. That was you when you "magically" learned language without being able to have any idea beforehand what "language" even is. Because of the blank slate. If you don't learn language in your infant state of mind, the chances of you learning language as you get older get astronomically small. This is documented psychology. The blank slate is the key. Your original, "God"-given state of mind has been corrupted into seeing word traps where none truly exist. Empty your cup. The best thing you can know is nothing. And I know nothing. And so now, I shut up.



posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 05:35 PM
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Originally posted by bsbray11
I'm just trying to make you think like an infant. Hopefully you don't look down upon the infant, because in its innocent ignorance, its "blank slate" state of mind, it learns more rapidly than a human being at any other age. That was you when you "magically" learned language without being able to have any idea beforehand what "language" even is. Because of the blank slate. If you don't learn language in your infant state of mind, the chances of you learning language as you get older get astronomically small. This is documented psychology. The blank slate is the key. Your original, "God"-given state of mind has been corrupted into seeing word traps where none truly exist. Empty your cup. The best thing you can know is nothing. And I know nothing. And so now, I shut up.

These are exactly my thoughts.



posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 06:10 PM
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reply to post by Illusionsaregrander
 
I don't think your 'dense'. Have I given you that impression? I hope not. You say you would expect someone who posted such a statement to explain themself a bit. In what way exactly? As to why they posted the statement? or to clarify it's meaning? I will do both. I am interested in enlightenment indeed why would I be reading the threads if I were not? The thought occured to me, not in any deep, meaningful, earth shattering way, you understand. That any concepts, ideas, notions, conclusions and imaginings we may have about enlightenment can only be illusions for they are born of thought. Plenty of words there for you to analyse! Shall we begin? So I posted the statement, perhaps a little naively, let's not forget I'm new to this, expecting maybe some opinions, viewpoints, agreeing, disagreeing, whatever, even perhaps some'enlightenment' I didn't expect the response I received, but thats fine. I'm not unhappy! If I say to you something like eg, 'the horse is running' will you respond by saying, what type of horse? what colour is it? what size is it? why is it running? is it running fast? is it running slow? in fact what connects the horse and running?! Perhaps I should reply, its running in a circle my friend an endless circle! You say you have an idea about what I meant, there you have it! Let us be done with this, it is going nowhere. Thankyou for your attention.



posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 06:31 PM
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reply to post by bsbray11
 
If I may presume upon your patience I will reply to you tomorrow Thankyou for your response.



posted on Feb, 1 2009 @ 06:35 PM
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Originally posted by midicon

I don't think your 'dense'. Have I given you that impression? I hope not. You say you would expect someone who posted such a statement to explain themself a bit. In what way exactly?


No, you havent specifically said or implied I was dense. But it is something that must be considered. It could well be that my desire to have definition in communication is a flaw of mine, rather than a necessity for everyone. How I would expect someone to explain themself a bit would be to place the words in context. Elaborate a bit so that if there were a misspelling for instance, or a difference in the way we each used the word it would be a bit more obvious.


Originally posted by midicon
The thought occured to me, not in any deep, meaningful, earth shattering way, you understand. That any concepts, ideas, notions, conclusions and imaginings we may have about enlightenment can only be illusions for they are born of thought. Plenty of words there for you to analyse!


And this is an example of the problem with language. I agree with that, and have stated so several times, in several different ways, some lengthy some not so, throughout this thread. And, apparently, there was no understanding conveyed from my posts to you that I believe this way. I do not choose to phrase it precisely that way, but in essence, assuming I am understanding you correctly, I could not agree more.


Originally posted by midicon
If I say to you something like eg, 'the horse is running' will you respond by saying, what type of horse? what colour is it? what size is it? why is it running? is it running fast? is it running slow? in fact what connects the horse and running?!


Well, how I would take that sentence would depend on our circumstances. If I were painting a horse when you said that, I might look for the drip of paint. If we were in a pasture, I might look for the quickly moving one. If we were in front of a store I might look for the mechanical horse ride that was operating. If we were in a mediation room, discussing koans, I might wonder what you were on about.



Originally posted by midicon
Let us be done with this, it is going nowhere. Thankyou for your attention.


And I thought we were finally getting some where. I do wonder why you are so annoyed at the process of discussion? What were you hoping for instead?



posted on Feb, 2 2009 @ 05:51 AM
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Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander



Originally posted by midicon
The thought occured to me, not in any deep, meaningful, earth shattering way, you understand. That any concepts, ideas, notions, conclusions and imaginings we may have about enlightenment can only be illusions for they are born of thought. Plenty of words there for you to analyse!


And this is an example of the problem with language. I agree with that, and have stated so several times, in several different ways, some lengthy some not so, throughout this thread. And, apparently, there was no understanding conveyed from my posts to you that I believe this way. I do not choose to phrase it precisely that way, but in essence, assuming I am understanding you correctly, I could not agree more.




So are we all in agreement that enlightenment can never be born out of thought?

Reading the above, the concept of illusion has become clearer to me,is it an illusion when we try to see it through thought? Its an illusion because it can never be seen through thought?





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