A Shortcut To Enlightenment

The Shortcut

The Shortcut


April 13, 2017 10:01 AM

I like to think of Mystical Oneness as a shortcut to enlightenment. By defining “enlightenment”—by having a clear, straightforward definition—it makes it that much easier to zero-in and target practices specifically for it. Sort of the 80/20 rule for spiritual awakening.

Here’s an excerpt from a lead-in to the Living In Mystical Oneness series I’m working on. In it I’m attempting to explain how the traditional experience of enlightenment isn’t that different from my somewhat controversial definition of it.


Some traditions say Witness consciousness is enlightenment. Others say Unity consciousness is.

But—and this is a huge but—neither of them play very well with the manifest world.

When one awakens to either form of the traditional view of enlightenment, one is faced with three choices:

  1. Remain in the unified state until you die of starvation or are eaten by vermin or wild animals.
  2. Find (or be found by) a caregiver to take care of your physical needs and interact with the manifest world.
  3. Shift out of the unified state to take care of your physical needs and interact with the manifest world, then return back to the unified state when you wish. In other words, switch in and out of it on demand.

Ramana Maharshi famously started out with #1 when he allowed insects and vermin to feed on his body while in the pure, unified state. Luckily for the rest of us, he was found by some monks who recognized his state of consciousness and took care of him for the rest of his life (#2).

Most everyone else has chosen #3.

Maharshi demonstrated that the unified state—in its purest form—leads directly to the physical death of the individual. From the unified state, one’s physical body is no different than the animals who may be feeding upon it. Both are part of the One Thing and it makes no sense to interfere with “what is” and prioritize one over another. Yet even Maharshi came out of the unified state to teach.

To survive, we must voluntarily (ie: on demand) step out of this unified state of consciousness so that we can interact (interaction takes two) with the manifest world.

In other words, option #3 means:

Enlightenment is the ability to unite the personal and the impersonal on demand.

Which is, as I stated above, my definition of enlightenment.

But that’s not how I came up with it.

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11 thoughts on “A Shortcut To Enlightenment

    • Hi Matt, welcome to the blog.

      In the full excerpt, I’ll have a series of diagrams that will help clarify this, but I haven’t created the diagrams yet.

      With Witness consciousness, there is still a slight sense of separation from all that is witnessed. It’s all “out there.” There is still a personal me (witness as awareness only) and an impersonal everything else.

      With Unity consciousness, the sense of “me” and “other” merge and everything is experienced as both ‘you’ and ‘not you’ at the same time. The personal and impersonal unite.

      Hope this helps.

  1. Perhaps Enlightenment is the realization that we’re never separate in the first place (one aspect, not whole). So integration is a mental construct, if we are mindfully living moment to moment, why differentiate (from an enlightened view) between unified and “other” states of consciousness?
    Ramana exists within the flow of life, he is aware of everything around him, yet does not resist anything. Is his consciousness showing us an aspect of unified state? After all we interpret through our minds what significance an act or event means to us. To Ramana, he’s just existing in the moment, to a layman he’s “enlightened” conceptually.
    So enlightenment is just a label, a product of mind. That state of awareness just is, beyond interpretation of what “it” is or isn’t; that’s filtering/ assigning meaning thru duality, and would miss the whole point of “enlightenment: no thought/mind”.
    Wholeness implies everything, all states, simultaneously, beyond thinking, which paradoxically includes thinking, physicality, manifested/ unmanifested, awareness/ unconsciousness, everything and nothing.
    When Heaven and Earth meet, samsara is nirvana. What else is there to say, let alone unite (which implies separation)? Why on-demand, are you not “that” already? 🙂

    • Huge, huge, HUGE difference between understanding it and living it Maddie.

      Two guys standing on a basketball court. One guy talks the theory of shooting baskets. On and on and on, yet never touches the ball. The whole time, the other guy is shooting and shooting and shooting.

      I know who’d I’d rather be.

      Please, Maddie, don’t confuse theory with experience. Don’t confuse understanding with living. One’s illusion. One’s real. The smart have their theories, but the wise have their scars. Please, if you can’t unite the personal and the impersonal, then please consider the practices I outline in Mystical Oneness.

      • But that’s kinda my point, who’s to define what’s real or not? Do you know for sure that the reality we’re collectively experiencing is the true reality?
        Why even ask it if we’re living in it?

        So the guy physically shooting ball is experiencing his perspective of reality. For the other 99% of ppl who have no interest in playing or following basketball, is that a reality for them? For me, watching, playing talking ball is irrelevant, if i’m not interested in the “matter” then it’s not part of my reality.

        The way i see it, uniting the personal and impersonal implies we’re divided in the first place… which is an illusion. Our minds create the split, and hence the need for reintegration. Are words and definitions “real”?

        So why even entertain the notion of what’s personal and impersonal, just live it. In actuality, I’m not disagreeing with you, or knocking your methods, they do serve a valuable purpose of pointing the way.

        Also your actions speak louder than words, living the dream of your reality! 😀

        Feel free to agree or disagree, point out my logical/ illogical rationale. I’m open to seeing your perspective on life.

        Cheers my friend!

  2. Hi Wayne,
    I deeply admire your work and experience on enlightenment. You are very brave. Lots of us start the quest, the search but not to many have the courage to explore and experience it to the end.
    I am one of them. 🙂

    As to ” on demand” technique, what to say, it made me to remember U.G. Krishnamurti and his experience on enlightenment.
    U.G. searched for enlightenment all his life.

    He reads the scriptures and he practises every technique that promises to get him there. At some point in all this search he reached to detest the term " enlightenment".

    Finally, when he gives up on his search for enlightenment he starts to feel dominated by strange sensations in his mind and body calling his state ” body functionality” and not enlightenment. Also saying that the existence of enlightenment is made up by a ” bunch of exploiters, thriving on the gullibility of the people. There is no power outside of man. Man has created God out of fear. So the problem is fear and not God.”

    You clearly can see that he was rather disturbed and mad than enlightened.

    Indeed, the theory it is easy to be assimilated by our Super-trained-modern-Minds, but in practice everything is felt different.
    U.G. writes; “I discovered for myself and by myself that there is no self to realize — that’s the realization I am talking about. It comes as a shattering blow. It hits you like a thunderbolt. You have invested everything in one basket, self -realization, and, in the end, suddenly you discover that there is no self to discover, no self to realize — and you say to yourself “What the hell have I been doing all my life?!” That blasts you.
    All kinds of things happened to me — I went through that, you see. The physical pain was unbearable — that is why I say you really don’t want this. I wish I could give you a glimpse of it, a touch of it — then you wouldn’t want to touch this at all. What you are pursuing doesn’t exist; it is a myth. You wouldn’t want anything to do with this.” U.G

    Now, what I understand from your experience, if you noticed that you have to use ” on demand” technique to come in and out of the enlightened state, it clearly tells me that there is no way you can have an enlightened life by the classical definition. You risk to get trapped in another game of the mind.
    Maybe, the only thing we can do is to really dissect the classical definition of enlightenment and soften it down to earth, and ground it to the knee and above, this way to make it available to more human beings. If it really exists.
    What do you think?

    • Hi Maria. It sounds to me like he was going through a profound kundalini experience, but then I’m not familiar with his life.

      What is your definition of ‘the classical definition of enlightenment’?

  3. Hi Wayne,

    I have been following your blog for a while now. I consider myself a spiritual seeker with zero first hand experience. Based on my readings, it seems to me that the defining feature of enlightenment is the “end of suffering” This was also the Buddha’s definition of enlightenment. But I suppose that is better described as the felt aftermath of the enlightenment shift rather than the shift itself, which is perhaps indescribable.

    Now obviously physical suffering can’t end till we are alive, and I guess even emotional pain triggered by specific situations is unavoidable. But it seems that enlightenment does dissolve what we might consider “neurotic” suffering – anxiety, depression, compulsive behaviour etc.

    My problem with your definition of enlightenment is that it reduces the whole thing to a mental trick – merge or separate. From what I have able to glean from the writings of Krishnamurti, Tolle and Adyashanti etc. it appears that post-awakening there is a background of serenity against which life is lived out (which embraces both pleasant and unpleasant experiences) and the sense of oneness doesn’t quite switch or and off, but pervades all experiences.

    Of course, no first hand experience here. Would love to know your thoughts.

  4. Hi Amit.

    Think of the big picture this way:

    Pre-Enlightenment -> Gateless Gate Transcended -> Post Enlightenment

    What I call “enlightenment” is when one can lower or raise the Gateless Gate at will. To move between the worlds of separation (relative truth) and unity (absolute truth) effortlessly.

    All the “good stuff” happens on the Post Enlightenment side of awakening. All the “good stuff” is a RESULT of enlightenment, not enlightenment itself.

    The key, the 80/20 practice, is to learn how to lower the Gateless Gate… to learn how to active both sides of the brain concurrently… to learn how to unite the personal and impersonal on demand.

    While this hasn’t been proven 100% in studies (it is too new, only 2016), all the evidence seems to support it.

    Hope this makes sense.

    • “The key, the 80/20 practice, is to learn how to lower the Gateless Gate… to learn how to active both sides of the brain concurrently… to learn how to unite the personal and impersonal on demand.”

      I say if switching/ uniting the personal and impersonal on demand works for you – then go for it! Who’s to say what’s right or wrong for that particular individual.

      Wayne, you are a brave spiritual pioneer, you’ve created a reality which works for you, Bravo! I encourage all spiritual seekers to follow your example and take action, create a spiritual system that’s custom tailored to their own individual needs.

      After all, in life, one size does not fit all, why should enlightenment be any different?

  5. Wayne, your definition makes perfect sense, my understanding has been similar. In a state of unity you are paralysed, you need to come out of that state to take care of the body, plan your life etc.

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