Instant enlightenment. That’s what they promise. Whoever they are. Are they enlightened? Was it instant for them? Which enlightenment are we talking about?
Hmm? You didn’t know there were different types of enlightenment? Sure, all these enlightened folks have their specialty. We, though, are interested in that which transcends and includes ‘em all. Can such a moment come instantaneously in one gulp? One wonders.
It would be difficult to get there from here instantaneously, since here is the brain-self. To move from brain-self to heart-self one must deal with one’s unconscious clutter. For me that took a number of months. Maybe a year. It started with reading Jiddu Krishnamurti and applying what he called “positive negation” to myself. He didn’t say to do this, I just did it.
Positive negation is the idea that you cannot come to big concepts like love, joy, and relationship as actualities by saying what they are. Defining them keeps them conceptual and unreal. By stripping away what they are not, if there is a living, breathing core to them, then they will become you. So, for example, if we think about the word love, what do we mean by it? We say one thing about love but in practice we often attach jealousy to it, desire, project our neediness onto another and call that “in love”—you know, we lie. But if we see clearly that love has no relationship to jealousy, fear, desire, and so on, then we’re left with a completely peeled love onion, or lonion, as I calls it. (You’re welcome.)
So, I read a bunch of Krishnamurti talks where he peeled away the lonion (still welcome) and it made so much sense. So much sense to be left with nothing. That nothingness has its own “definitions,” or Truth, which we splinter into truths, to form the core of our ideals. If you can picture Truth as a living stream, imagine that drinking from it keeps us alive. Sounds great, right? Except that what we need to do is let go because we are the stream. Our sense of being separate and drinking from the stream to stay alive is, as the magicians say, an illusion.
Human Nature is the label-lie we glue across the actions of our lie, claiming that ideals are always just out of reach to be strived for but never gotten. We should try to be unconditionally loving, for example, but we never will be. So aim high but keep your expectations “realistic,” for at heart you are a broken monster. Tether yourself, you animal, you, and hope for the best.
We should call that what it is: brain-self nature. Not all humans are out of synch with Truth, just the majority of us.
Oh, is that all?
Yes, but that is not ALL. And so that is good news.
There is so much more to us than brain-self can know. To get to where that is takes heart. From Scarecrow to Tin Man, as Dorothy might say. As I said, sorta, my yellow brick road was paved with positive negation. I took Krishnamurti’s means of understanding the psycho-spiritual dimensions of the collective and applied it to my personal psychology. I’d inquire within myself about my own behavior: Why do I do such-and-such? Well, because so-and-so wronged me and so I feel blah. Why do I feel wronged, though? Why do I feel anything about that? Can so-and-so make me feel anything or are my feelings my own? How did I learn to feel this way about that?—And it all goes back to the parents. Strip away the layers of me and it goes back to how I learned and from whom.
I went back further than the folks, though, asking within how my mom learned her behavior; how my dad. Then I thought about where their parents came from and the age in which they were born. Soon, authentic understandings about the human condition became me. It’s not me… it’s not my parents… this is what we do. This is how we behave. We’re all in it together. Even one’s personal psychology spills out into the collective ocean. I’m not alone with these feelings of mine. Contrary: I am everyone. We are all these feelings. The level settings on the graphic equalizer of personhood vary by individual, but the song is the same.
Breaking myself down this way, my negative feelings evaporated. The memories that glued them to me and formed my motivations lost their grip because they lost their importance. I broke myself down until there was very little I left. What I there was left now resided in heart. I became a heart-self and it was nirvana. I was that guy with the dopey smile who told you everything was already all right to the point that if you’d known me a year prior you might suspect I joined a cult or had a mental breakdown. Well, I did have a mental breakdown… into heart.
Heart-self is not defensive and is forgiving because it knows what brain-self is about. Knows brain-self is not human nature, even if we treat it that way. Knows that brain-self doesn’t know this, and so has compassion for adults the way healthy adults do for babies. Not condescension, mind you, but real apprehension, for we know what we were and we were you. And we know what we are and we are you. Heart is the dawning of timelessness.
How long does it take to get to timelessness? For me, about a year. For you… how damaged are you? How much longer do you want to remain that way? And is this move to heart what many folks mean when they say, “enlightenment?”
It may be. And if so, they are wrong. One may instantly transition to heart, or not, but either way, that ain’t it. So let’s keep going.
I smell a part 3.