Am I Enlightened?

A Portrait of a Tree

A Portrait of a Tree


Am I enlightened?

I think Ram Dass put it best when asked that question:

Usually whenever I’m asked that question I immediately answer, “No,” so as to be humble. But I look around and everything is one. Is that enlightenment? I look around and I’m in love with everybody. Is that enlightenment? I witness my incarnation. Is that enlightenment? I’m in love with my guru. Is that enlightenment? I see my life as service to God. Is that enlightenment? I surrender to God in my daily life. Is that enlightenment? I experience peace within. Is that enlightenment? I experience compassion for other souls. Is that enlightenment? My environment is a projection of my own mind. Is that enlightenment?

What do I know about enlightenment? Every day I’m still learning, and I want to keep sharing and learning with people. But I’m still thinking about enlightenment, so I guess I’m not enlightened.

I’m with you, Ram… on all counts.

I know I see things differently than most. I know I live differently than most. I know I think differently than most. My everyday experience is of a shifting, flowing, world filled with Love and the Divine, a world where I don’t know where She begins and I end—and yet I still want to.

So am I enlightened? I guess I’m not.

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9 thoughts on “Am I Enlightened?

  1. When Nisargadatta Maharaj was asked how he knew he when he had become awakened, he said, “Nothing was wrong anymore.”

    Humans are always saying, even on the most subtle level, “I don’t want this, I want that”. It’s the general restlessness of the human condition, and in a sense it is “what makes the world go round”. I believe that when that human condition drops away, you know it, and you are then operating from a whole different mode of being and of motivation.

    I’m enjoying the photos, and the vicarious “van life”.

    • Yeah, I think that’s too idealistic to be real (that one doesn’t subtly feel “wrongness”).

      Adyashanti said that he still gets frustrated with his computer (subtle wrongness).

      Eckhart Tolle once related a story when his father asked him if he was still “doing that spiritual thing,” and he signed with frustration, “Yesssss, I’m still doing it.” (Subtle unacceptance/frustration).

      Not trying to offend or be argumentative, but I believe that these stories of idealistic behavior are harmful to spiritual seekers growth, that the mythology creates disillusionment. That’s one of the reasons I’m so transparent about my day-to-day life (and why I wished others were).

      Thanks Margaret.

      • I love this post, and for myself, it almost seems to be that life as it unfolds will be just like the weather. Sometimes there will be rain and thunder. There will be identification with that as long as there is identification with it? I would almost imagine, that eventually when all identification is gone, rain and thunder will still come, but the tendency to grasp and suffer it will no longer be so thick and will subside into grace. This is the understanding I have felt from my own experiences and from various teachers such as Tolle, Adya, Mooji, etc. Does this too fit with your experiences and what you are saying here Wayne?

    • Margaret,
      Perhaps from a higher perspective/self, along with full awareness/”absence” of self, then everything perceives like there’s nothing wrong. Dropping duality mindset, everything is perfectly just the way it is.
      Osho said something to that effect… either all is enlightened or nobody is, what choice?
      In other words, drop all our collect notions of what “enlightenment” suppose to mean to us, and experience life now “in real time-moment”.
      I also agree with Wayne, idealism is a mind projection of what may/should/could be (ie illusion), not what actually is.
      If we are in a state of openness, consistently mindful of our emotions/ thoughts/ feelings/ triggers/ programming, then we can proceed to accept them and move on, unveiling more of our “reality”. In that sense, we can make peace with “frustration”, “anger”, “disappointment” etc. and detach the label we assign to it as “problem”.
      Wayne, as relayed in u’r helpful posts, patiently waiting and listen to “her” for guidance is a tremendous way to set aside “self” and expand awareness/ consciousness/ life.
      I applaud u’r life’s journey, if we all embrace transparency within our own lives, the peace within will lead to collective world peace.
      Thank you so much for living and sharing your precious teachings.

  2. My comment was pointing to a much more subtle habit of the mind than the examples you used (from Adyashanti and Tolle). The constant push/pull of desire and aversion which is the main current in most human beings… it is possible to be released from this very subtle but habitual mode of being, and life looks quite different from there. I am not saying who is enlightened and who is not… I think there are different levels and even different aspects of the Real which are experienced by various claimants of that state of being, and different levels of constancy too.
    I like the non-argumentative tone of this blog, so I hope that this isn’t taken that way. I agree with a lot of Maddie’s comments about acceptance of states–the energy of resistance subtly makes things hold on, and I also appreciate Wayne’s transparency. I have experienced what I’m speaking of– for periods of time. It is not now my daily experience. And it’s really very different. Is it idealistic to think that state can be fully integrated as the ground of one’s being? Franklin Merrell-Wolff calls it the High Indifference. I think there may be some who experience it more or less constantly. In other words, a state of being in which one doesn’t have to constantly remind oneself or bring oneself back to it.
    But who knows, until I am there myself I won’t be able to say for sure…
    Anyway, thanks again, and I hope this can be taken as discussion, not argument.

  3. Nice post Wayne!

    Although not a direct answer to the question, my response would be that I’m less asleep or more awake than I used to be. This is based on my experience that awakening can be a process rather than an event.

    Also I suppose there are many definitions for the terms awakening or enlightenment. One that I like is seeing the truth vs. illusion or maya (per Jed Mckenna) and no longer suffering as I did when exclusively identified with self.

    Thanks for the insights!


  4. I think “enlightened” is just a way to describe the state of consciousness of one who truly knows what one is, beyond duality, by virtue of being it. One knows it by being it. It’s one’s primary orientation. In such a state the ego/person is operatively gone (although capable of reasserting itself at some levels) and has been replaced by a non-dual/loving condition we call “enlightenment”. At the same time, anyone can be enlightened to what they thought they were before, and unenlightened to the unconscious/weight/karma/content they have yet to relinquish. It’s just a matter of how rarified a condition we’re talking about.

  5. Am I enlightened? As long as I’m afraid to admit it when others ask, I probably am not. As long as I want to tell it to everyone, to sing it in the streets, I probably am not.

    Once someone asks me: “are you enlightened?” and I just want to laugh out in joy and ask back “what do you think Enlightenment is anyway?” I probably am.

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