The knowledge of an ultimate immateriality, and an enveloping Ĉonsciousness, has been known for millennia by a relative few who became enlightened. The conveyance of this esoteric truth has often been misunderstood.
Enlightenment is the state of consciousness with abiding connection to the unicity of Nature. Realization is the state of consciousness with abiding experience of the unicity of Nature.
In the middle of the 1st millennium bce, Chinese sage Lao Tzu wrote of the Tao: the absolute stillness that is the source of Nature.
“The great Tao extends everywhere. It does not have a name. The nameless originated Heaven and Earth. Tao acts through natural law. All things depend upon it for growth, and it does not deny them. Evolved individuals hold to the Tao, and regard the world as their pattern.” ~ Lao Tzu
In 3rd century BCE, legendary Indian guru Patañjali instructed the path to enlightenment through meditation:
“Freedom is won in realizing the true nature of self. Matter is transcended. The nature of being and the force of absolute knowledge are then revealed.” ~ Patañjali
Buddha placed the mind as the central force in shaping our lives.
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” ~ Buddha
Buddha also stated that the existence itself is ultimately illusory.
“All compounded things are subject to vanish.” ~ Buddha
(This quote about energyism suffers in translation, but its gist remains enigmatic to matterists.)
To someone steeped in belief of duality or matterism, Lao Tzu, Patañjali, and Buddha read like dreamy gibberish.
Conversely, those who granted these men credence ushered in religions: Taoism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, respectively. In doing so they were – in their ignorance – turning instructive truths into myths and rituals.
The usage of ignorance here is of having the wrong worldview (perspective-ignorance), not of lacking relevant facts (fact-ignorance) (though that may also be the case).
In the Western world, men seeking authority fabricated a supreme being – God – to have other men cower to the absolute power these hucksters said they were in touch with. This religious scam remains a major attraction, with suckers aplenty hoping for eternal salvation after their dreary existence here on Earth.
The religiously inclined, scientists included, take umbrage at the foregoing. But they look to self-validation, not honest investigation. The ignorant are always smug in their beliefs.
“If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that, at least once in your life, you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” ~ René Descartes
Conforming to modern physics, energyism accords matter as proximate phenomena: an actual world in appearance, but ultimately unreal. This is admittedly difficult to believe, but it is confirmed by all that science has revealed which is otherwise inscrutable. There is much mystery to be had, as we have already seen in our brief survey of physics, and in pondering how evolutionary adaptation could possibly work other than through an intentional interactivity (teleology).
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Every story is of conflict, resolved by the protagonist either gaining insight, and thereby reaching a higher plane, or else struggling onward in continuing ignorance. So it is that the purpose of life is to gain understanding. If it were easy, there would be no entertainment.
“We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality.” ~ Irish philosopher Iris Murdoch
In ignorance, nattermind is given free rein, thereby binding consciousness to the mind-body. The mind creates the duplicity of duality: that one is an individual self in a physical world. This is a deceptive separation. What you think to be the world is merely a construct of your mind.
“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” ~ American writer Edgar Allen Poe
Whatever correspondence your sense of actuality has with others is possible because it is a shared belvedere: a beautiful ruse by Ĉonsciousness of physicality, the provision of the entertainment platform called existence.
The marvel is in how utterly convincing the illusion is. If relieving oneself of ignorance was easy, the game afoot would hardly be worth playing.
This ongoing process of incomprehension is abetted by the flames of emotion. Love, hate, anger, greed, and attachment exist only as appearances, like mirages in a desert of shimmering heat; yet they are compellingly real in the moment.
To bathe in emotion is to dive headlong into the great pool of illusion. Whatever we believe is make-believe.
Nattermind’s roil blocks awareness of what is, substituting for it a sense of mortal self. Removing the rubble clears the channel to Ĉonsciousness.
“To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.” ~ Lao Tzu
Whereas an unbridled mind is the source of mental illness, liberation from nattermind enables psychological health. This is enlightenment: awake awareness with sustained quietude. The road to enlightenment is a discipline: consigning the mind to a mere utility, by exiling nattermind to the subconscious, where it may toil away.
The discipline involved in reaching enlightenment is meditation; not just as a regular practice, but as a lifestyle.
“Do not just meditate; live in meditation.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
Quietude emerges with persistent insistence not to indulge nattermind. In its wake comes contentment: the bliss that Ĉonsciousness experiences in all of Nature.
To discover joy is to return to a state of oneness with the universe. ~ American author Pegi Joy Jenkins
The task at hand is to joyfully live. To do so carefully requires abandoning all cares, for those are the blockades to awareness of what is, built from fictive fear of what may be. Beyond the necessities of living, nary a thought is worth having.
“The realized one knows that all this is the play of ignorance.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
With the rumbling of nattermind at bay, connection to Ĉonsciousness strengthens, allowing one to comprehend Nature as it is, not merely as it appears. Enlightenment leads to realization: a conscious state of unity with reality while still bodily confined.
“Try to realise it’s all within yourself.” ~ English musician George Harrison, in the song “Within You Without You” (1967)