PALM BAY, FL–Enlightenment is like a mountain top. In your search for it, you have to climb and climb, dropping excess baggage as you attain higher altitudes. Once you reach the peak, you are “carrying” nothing. What isn’t talked about much though, is that in order to function in the “world of illusion” (the “normal” world), you have to come back down the mountain. For the last year, I have been tumbling and falling down it, getting scraped and bruised as I went. Poetic maybe, but it really makes a lot of sense. More below the break (huh?).
When you drop the personal self, there really is no motivation left to help you function in the “normal” world. You can try to stay up on top of the mountain and basically let others run your life (Eckhart Tolle, Ramana Maharshi), or you can descend down the mountain–either by donning an “ego outfit,” or inadvertently tumbling uncontrollably down it (as was my case).
I suspect the uncontrolled tumbling is the norm though, and why many who have “attained the peak” talk of an adjustment period: your old ways of functioning in the “world of illusion” simply no longer work the way they used to.
Prior to enlightenment, our minds are conditioned to protect and enhance our lives (what I’ve come to think of as the “Ego Barrier”). This deeply entrenched Ego Barrier surrounds and protects the Personal Self. Once the Personal Self is dropped, there is nothing to protect, nothing to shore up the Ego Barrier, but, because of life-long conditioning, the mind still tries to keep the Barrier in place–and that’s where things start to go awry and your life starts to go to hell.
I know how mystical this sounds, but because there is a “greater intelligence” at work now on both sides of the Ego Barrier–the less there is of you, the more there is of Her–the Ego Barrier is now in direct conflict with “Her” and She now functions on both sides of the Barrier. Pre-enlightenment, the Barrier was in place to protect “you” (the Personal Self), but post-enlightenment, it is in direct conflict with “Her,” and everything the Barrier tries to do (now only for itself) results in nothing but resistance with Her/The Universe/The Inside and the Outside. The Ego Barrier’s conditioned resistance to Her, resulted in all my troubles over the last year.
One of the insights I gained on my return to Mt. Hood was that if I simply shift my “center” of consciousness to my heart area (Her) rather than my head area (Ego Barrier), everything mysteriously (but always) works out for the best. Though my mind still shouts “Danger! Danger! Danger!,” complete surrender opens the entire Universe of Her to “me” (the Outside and Inside merge and harmonize).
This shifting from the head to the Heart is what I mean by surrendering–even sacrificing yourself–to Her: You stop trying to protect “yourself,” you stop listening to conditioned fear (the Ego Barrier), and you truly and completely merge with Her (“Thy will be done.”)
This active yet surrendered way of living (one with Nature, not Mind) is described perfectly in the Tao Te Ching :
The ancient masters were subtle, mysterious, profound, responsive.
The depth of their knowledge is unfathomable.
Because it is unfathomable,
All we can do is describe their appearance.
Watchful, like men crossing a winter stream.
Alert, like men aware of danger.
Courteous, like visiting guests.
Yielding like ice about to melt.
Simple, like uncarved blocks of wood.
Hollow, like caves.
Opaque, like muddy pools.
Who can wait quietly while the mud settles?
Who can remain still until the moment of action?
Observers of the Tao do not seek fulfillment.
Not seeking fulfillment, they are not swayed by desire for change.
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