Ask Parvati 28: Enlightenment and Emotions – Part 2: Enlightenment Now

BY Parvati

(Continued from What Is Enlightenment?)
“Self-realization is the knowing – in body, mind and soul – that we are one with the omnipresence of God; that we do not have to pray that it come to us, that we are not merely near it at all times, but that God’s omnipresence is our omnipresence; that we are just as much a part of Him now as we ever will be. All we have to do is improve our knowing.” – Paramahamsa Yogananda
It is my understanding from my meditation practice, and from guidance from great teachers, that our state of unity with the One already exists, but we, for the most part, cannot see it because we are so busy, so caught up with our mind. This is why great masters tell us, it already is, that we can rest into the perfection of the now.
We on the other hand are used to identifying with our mind, to feeling that our ego is in control. We do not allow ourselves to trust and to let go. It is a bit like we are so focused on a tiny speck of cloud, thinking that it is the entire world, we miss the vastness of the sky and the infinite expanse of the universe. Amma describes this attachment to our ego so beautifully:
“Nobody likes to let go of the ego – it is so precious to everyone. However, once you have attained the state of egolessness, the world won’t disappear, as you may think it will. The world will continue, but a chance takes place within you. Something is uncovered. You start seeing everything with the wonder and innocence of a child.”
We know that we are evolving, and that through evolution, we change. So we know that change is part of the process of moving towards enlightenment. However, the greats tell us that enlightenment does not actually involve change in the way most of us would think it to mean.
Most of us see change as to mean “be other than you are”, a sort of moving away from and moving towards something else. Yet the enlightened masters tell us that what we seek does not exist “out there”, but only in the infinite expanse of the now. We are told that what we seek is already here. We are told that what we are is already perfection. Great teachers like Eckhart Tolle say, “You find God the moment you realize that you don’t need to seek God.”
Those kinds of thoughts can quickly become mentally confusing. Like the famous Zen koan by the Japanese teacher Hakuin Ekaky, “Two hands clap and there is a sound. What is the sound of one hand?” designed to throw a wrench in the mind’s sense of control, statement from the enlightened can leave us feeling confused, our minds reeling. For example, how can we become enlightened and also not change?
Most of us who are seeking to better ourselves or who consider enlightenment as a goal know that we have bad habits that must be overcome in order for us to evolve. In Sanskrit, teachers refer to these as our “vasanas”, our negative tendencies. We know we get ourselves into painful situations and we would like to stop doing so. So how can we already be in a state of perfection?
It seems that most of us get caught up in “wanting” to be other than we are, and therein lies the rub. We “want” to be free. We “want” to be happy. We “want” enlightenment. We “want” to have fewer emotional reactions or more emotional connection, so we live with anticipations and expectations, in dissonance with the fullness of the present moment. How many of us know how to let go and be with what actually is, now?
Eckhart Tolle says, “Life is now. There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be.”
In previous blog entries, I have explored the idea of non-resistance to what is, in many different ways. If we are to move into an enlightened state and flow with emotions with wisdom compassion, we must practice this.
We tend to live in a push/pull dynamic, resisting what is because we deem it “bad”, or we grab onto it because we deem it “good”. This is what the mind does. It divides. It categorizes. It tries to control, so that we feel important. But we are told that enlightenment is beyond the mind, so we know that somehow, the mind, our thoughts and our ego interfere with the experience of enlightenment.
We speak of the mind easily, as though we understand what it is. But what is the mind? How does it interfere with our evolutionary journey towards the One? And how do we get beyond it?
(Continued tomorrow with What Is The Mind?)