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.

The Divine Within: The Life Force

Picnic Table in the Fall

LAKE CATHERINE STATE PARK, AR–What is this “Divine Within” that I keep talking about? Why do I keep bringing it up? Why is it so hard to grasp? Is it real?

Imagine that you woke up from a deep sleep and you had complete amnesia. You couldn’t remember anything. No memories of your past, of your family, of your friends. You couldn’t remember your native language–you couldn’t talk or communicate. You could see objects, but you don’t know their names or even what they were used for. The amnesia runs so deep that you don’t even remember how to move your limbs. They just seem to move on their own.

You would be aware of the objects around you. You would be aware of sounds and smells and the sense of touch. You would be aware of breathing, but not why it was happening, or even that it was happening to your body.

With your complete amnesia, there is no personal story. No ego gorilla. There is only awareness of stuff around you.

You would be, in essence, pure Awareness.

With this awareness is a sense of being. A sense of an invisible, but alive, movement.

This is what I mean by your true nature, by the Divine Within, by your Life Force. Really, there is nothing mystical to it at all. It is just your sense of being.

From the Enlightenment of Oneness, it is “felt” as Life/Love living.

From the Enlightenment of Stillness, it is felt as Life/Love radiating.

From the Enlightenment of Passion, it is felt as Life/Love moving.

To the mind’s eye, this being, this Awareness, is seen as Light. From Oneness: Light within a Sea of Light. From Stillness: Light softly glowing. And from Passion: the Light of a brightly burning flame.

I stress this concept–this Life Force–because I want you to learn to feel it and to see it. I want you to become aware of your deeper, spiritual nature because the more you experience this felt sense of You, the easier it will be for you to see the thoughts, the stories, the drama, and the selfish emotions that block that feeling–that block your realization of your true nature.

I call my “flavor” of teaching, Passionate Enlightenment, because I want you to feel it. Not just consider it. I want you to live it, not just contemplate it. I want you to feel the passion of Life living unrestrained and unbound through you.

I want you to wake up and be free.

What is the Ego? (Revisited)

Lone Leaf

RED ROCK CANYON STATE PARK, OK–Earlier this month, I wrote a post, What is the Ego?, but I need to expand on that. The previous post should probably have been titled, Ego Part I: The Ego Story.

There are at least two distinct “personalities” to the horribly ambiguous term: Ego…

  1. The Ego Story: Identifying with (thinking of yourself as) your past and the roles you play. I cover the Ego Story here.
  2. The Ego Gorilla: Emotions (desires and aversions) centered around the false, personal self, “This will bring ME happiness” and “This will cause ME pain.”

I’ll cover the Ego Gorilla in the next post, but the Ego Gorilla is exactly what it sounds like: a 900-pound monkey on your back.

The more adept you become at recognizing the Story and the Gorilla, the sooner you’ll realize when you are being influenced by them. The more clearly seen, the easier dropped.

These two aspects make up what is commonly called the ego, but what is much more clearly stated as the Personal Self.

Recognizing that the personal self is an illusion, is enlightenment.

Enlightenment means the end of all your personal suffering. Personal suffering ends because you no longer believe in a personal self.

Enlightenment and Emotions

Desert Moon

Do enlightened people feel emotions? If so, how are the emotions different than those experienced by story-people? (New term: “Story-People.” Kind of derogatory, but I want you to start thinking of your ego/story in negative terms as this will help you see, feel and ultimately reject the ego/story. It’s accurate too, as the illusionary ego/story turns you into a fictional character–but I digress.) ***Edited 11/6/2009: See my comment below.

Story-Wayne used to think that enlightened people never (or barely) experienced emotions–surely never any negative emotions. This idea was based solely on how enlightened teachers presented themselves to their audience.

My experiences however, are completely different…
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