Enlightenment – Our Natural State.
“Why wait for Heaven? Those who seek the light are merely covering their eyes. The light is in them now. Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all. Light is not of the world, yet you who bear the light in you are alien here as well. The light came with you from your native home, and stayed with you because it is your own. It is the only thing you bring with you from Him Who is your Source. It shines in you because it lights your home, and leads you back to where it came from and you are at home.” ACIM W.118.1
Enlightenment is our natural state folks! Its normal.
The Holy Grail of spirituality is certainly attaining enlightenment. We glorify it and mystify it. It is seen as almost unattainable at best and certainly demands many life times of work to attain.
In fact it is our normal, natural state. If we break it down, being enlightened is about living a life of extending ourselves in love and forgiveness, which I need to qualify. By forgiveness I mean that nothing really happened! It doesn’t mean that I’m big enough to forgive you, which implies that something really did happen! Being enlightened is also about not investing in the daily fears our ego subjects us to.
What? Could it be that simple? Yes it is. The only difficulty is our investment in our ego, which we believe to be real. In fact our body, our job, our perceptions and judgments….this whole life we think we are living is just a charade, all a massive investment we made up to hide our shame because we believe we have betrayed God!
Yet clues and aides to living an enlightened life abound. In fact they are right before us every waking moment of our lives. As soon as we wake up, we have a choice to let the day’s worry fill our space or realize that regardless of what we do, we are and have always been, safe at home with God. We realize that this day is in fact an illusion save the opportunities to offer love and forgiveness.
At work, we interact with our fellow staff and customers. Here we are presented with multiple opportunities to offer only acceptance and forgiveness. When someone is seemingly causing conflict, it is an opportunity for us to extend forgiveness and love because we realize that the other person does not realize who he/she is. By not reacting, we mirror to them who they are and we reclaim another part of our Unified Self. When challenged to assert our self, it is a signal that we have temporarily forgotten who we are and we should be grateful rather than react with attack or defence.
Back at home in the evenings, the news entertains us with stories of terror and loss and the occasional ‘saving a cat from a tree’ story. Notice how we take sides depending on our values and beliefs. Here again is a wonderful opportunity to forgive on a global scale, which is no different to forgiving our family members, work colleagues or clients.
I’ll bet I can hear your mind going through the motions, “Yes, but….there are always exceptions.” In fact there are no exceptions. There are no degrees of error or forgiveness! Herein lays the core of the ego. It loves judgments and degrees of right and wrong, because its whole being is based on duality. So long as you embrace duality you maintain separation from The Unified Self.
Here’s another often spoken statement – “The devil’s in the detail.” I like this one. For me this is a true statement if I substitute ‘ego’ for devil. The ego is always looking for degrees of right and wrong and levels of love and forgiveness. It constantly looks into the details to find ways of separating you from others and yourself and making you unhappy!
Our illusions of duality maintain our separation from one another and prevent us from seeing our Oneness by keeping us in perpetual conflict. Forever judging and manoeuvring. Just stop for a few minutes and ask yourself how much energy you invest in making and maintaining judgments every day? How much effort is spent on trying to change others perceptions of you? How much conscious effort goes into ‘doing the right thing’ by your partner, workmate, customer? Do you think it’s natural to have to spend so much time and effort maintaining relationships and making sense of your world?
If our natural state is enlightened already, then can you imagine just how much the ego’s belief system has obscured from our awareness? Enlightenment therefore is a demolition project. We can’t get there without dismantling everything we think we know to be real. It’s about unlearning anything that keeps us tied into believing we must maintain control. As Jesus said in the quote, we are not of this world and we are alien here as well. Alien in the sense that our truth is Love and yet we live by the laws of survival of the fittest here in this world…and that is indeed alien to who we are.
There is only here and now. Our Unified Self is already enlightened; everyone is. This is not a state or experience to accomplish through external searching and accumulated knowledge. And it doesn’t come closer just because you’re improving your self-esteem or meditating more. The most difficult challenge to removing the blocks that conceal our enlightenment, is the act of surrender. This is the unconditional acceptance of ‘what is’.
We remember who we are by seeing the Truth in everyone, no matter what their ego projects. While we perceive reality from behind the lens of our false-identity, we haven’t a clue as to ‘who’ we are, nor anyone else! We will find our Self through training ourselves to overlook error in others. As we begin to see others without their ego projections, we’ll be seeing Truth beneath the illusion. Now, watch for the miraculous transformation as our very own enlightened state begins to be revealed.
Clearly, there is no peace where duality resides and how can that be a normal state for us? In truth, we have never left Home and being enlightened is really just remembering who we are and the eternal peace that comes from that space. The Light is within us, always was, is and will be forever more. We need only accept it!