*Brian Wilcox. 'Where does the road lead?'
I hesitate to use the word enlightenment, being as it is much-overused, with strong disagreement on what it is, too. I, likewise, question that anyone enlightened would ever claim to be so and possibly would not even know so. Yet, if one were to inquire of me, "What is enlightenment?," I could reply, "Enlightenment is a reunion with the obvious." If so, enlightenment, like being holy, is ordinary, is every-day. If so, seeking experiences that are escapes from reality is not the way of the Way. And one, I am sure, can get easily addicted to these altered states of consciousness; but altered does not mean healthy, mature, spiritual, holy, or wise. To anyone who does this, one could inquire, "From whence this hankering after the extra-ordinary? after the altered? Is the gift of the ordinary, the what is, not good enough for you?" This is not to say we might not have experiences that seem beyond-ordinary. Yet, one is wise not to seek these and to understand that such experiences are only momentary and to lead us more deeply into love and compassion. One is wise to remember that the Heart longs for the expereince of the non-experience.
So, the legendary hermit Hanshan...
With a vast net of stars, the night is bright and deep.
In my cave, I light a single lamp before the moon sets.
Its full radiance is not a polished jade—
hanging in the blue sky, this is my heart.
Kazuaki Tanahashi; Levitt, Peter. The Complete Cold Mountain.
The words and stories today, they speak of this wisdom of the ordinary.
* * *
A little girl asked her mom, "Mom, what do you do at the university?" “I'm in the art department. I teach people how to draw and paint." Amazed, the daughter said, “You mean they forget?”
* * *
A visitor asked the Sage, "I've taken some psychedelics and had some great openings. What's your thought on taking psychedelics?" "Why go on a trip when what you seek is already here?"
* * *
On another occasion, the Sage was asked, "Where is God?" He told the following story...
A man heard of a mountain where persons meet God. He had heard of God all his life but told that no one had or could see God. "Now," he thought, "I have a chance to meet God!"
This man flew to another continent and country. On arriving, he asked an innkeeper, "Where's the mountain where persons meet God?" The innkeeper gave directions. The mountain was on a nearby island.
The man rented a small boat to boat to the island. On debarking, he began a long walk. He, finally, reached the mountain. At the foot of the mountain, was a narrow, well-trodden path. He walked upward for a long time. When at the summit, exhausted, he saw a sign pointing back down the path. The sign read "Looking for Me? I'm Down There."
* * *
A reporter asked the Sage, "How would you describe yourself?" He said, "I'm one pointing in the direction of the obvious."
* * *
What is always present? Once one relaxes into the obviousness of what is, one discovers the naturalness of what is. Ordinary and Extra-Ordinary become one, for they are one. Yet, this that is one envelops hidden depths, while all these depths are not separate from the surface where one contacts Reality. How to know these depths? Be totally with what-is, that simple.
Buddhists have called this the Natural Great Perfection. Being-totally-with something invites it to open, to flower, revealing itself as part of a greater revelation, a whole. Life becomes a continuing revelation. So, we say, "Stay awake." We touch the moment through the senses, this intimacy with the sensory realm invites the depths to unfold. An example is fluid states of feeling.
Whether one finds oneself in a calm state, or in a pure manifestation of movement, these are both experiences and are not the state of contemplation itself. In the state of presence, which remains the same in relation to thousands of different experiences, whatever arises liberates itself automatically. This is what is meant by "self-liberation."
*Namkai Norbu Chogyal. Dzogchen.
* * *
This is a flower.
I feel sad.
I am excited.
Here is a raindrop.
Today is sunny.
Today is overcast.
I am I.
You are you.
Climbing the hill.
Flying the kite.
I feel courageous.
This, the Way of being in Love.
We give ourselves totally to Life, for Life has already claimed us as its own, we being its sons and daughters, friends, servants, worshippers, and lovers.
(C)Brian Wilcox, 2020