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Our email address is editor @realization.org.

Copyright 2001 Realization.org.

 

 
 
  ARTICLE
 

Enlightenment: You're already there!

This website is all about techniques for getting enlightened, but you don't need them. In fact, they may hold you back.

By TIM GERCHMEZ

 

THIS WEBSITE presents techniques for getting enlightened. However, I have a little problem with the idea of using various techniques to get enlightened: they're not needed! In fact, they may very well prevent you from ever approaching anything you might call "enlightenment."

I'd like to offer a few radical ideas that you may have not considered before:

  • Nobody has ever gotten enlightened. Enlightenment is ever-present, everywhere, here and now!

  • The very act of seeking enlightenment prevents you from finding it.

  • Enlightenment is closer to you than your own skin, and far more real.

  • Regarding enlightenment, there is nothing to get -- you've got it!

Let me explain these ideas in further detail.

First of all, everybody is already enlightened. What is preventing you from realizing it is the search. When you search for enlightenment, you miss it, because you already have it. I can't emphasize this enough. It is so important that I invite you to read this paragraph over and over, a hundred times!

Enlightenment is an ever-present "state." It is both a state of being and a process (the process is a state of being, and the state of being is a process). The "goal" is the journey, and the journey is the goal. There is no beginning to it, and no ending. It is simply here, and wherever you stand, this very moment, it is yours. In fact, it is the only thing you can call yours. This very moment, you are God, you are the whole, yet you keep trying to become what you already are.

There is nothing blocking you from enlightenment. It is within you already, and the only thing you have to do to "get it" is to stop looking for it. The longer you keep looking, the longer you will keep failing to find it.

You may still be asking, "But even so, how do I get it?"

Be honest with yourself. You're a seeker. You're looking for enlightenment. Just be with that idea. Don't avoid it, don't deny it. You are looking for it. First, accept that point. Look at it deeply. Accept yourself the way you are, now. You don't see yourself as enlightened, and you think you have to do something to get it. Radical honesty is called for here. If you feel you're not enlightened and are seeking enlightenment, admit it to yourself, now. Don't try to do anything about it, just look at it as deeply as you can.

When you think about "getting enlightened," you're thinking about the future. But enlightenment never exists in the future, it's always present in the Now. The future never arrives -- time moves from now to now to now, and the future is really an imaginary idea. You can only imagine it, but it never gets here, it never arrives.

When you're living in the future (or the past), you miss what you already are. You're seeking to become something. That seeking is precisely what's blocking the understanding that there is no hope in expecting something to happen in some imaginary future. You don't need to become anything. You don't need to gain something, or to get rid of anything. You are perfect, here and now.

The whole thing is simply a matter of trust. Trust that enlightenment is prior to you (as body/mind). Before you were born, enlightenment was. Enlightenment permeates every atom in the universe. Enlightenment is past-present-future, all rolled up into one. You might say it's timeless. You could also say that it's everywhere, and given that "causation" is not involved, there's nothing you need to do to get it!

Realizing this is sort of a matter of reversing your perspective. Instead of thinking about getting enlightened, know that enlightenment can only get you! It is here; it has always been here. You have always been enlightened, but your focus on other things (the constant quest for sensual gratification, looking for love and acceptance outside of yourself, living in the past, and seeking for something in the future) has kept you from understanding that. A simple shift of focus is needed.

The key is to unlearn everything you've learned about enlightenment. Forget it all. It takes courage to do this. Enter a "cloud of unknowing." Admit that you don't know anything.

Most of us have been conditioned to think that enlightenment is this, enlightenment is that. Every teacher, every guru, every book tells us what enlightenment is and how to find it. As long as we cling to these ideas, we'll never discover what it is, because these things are just ideas that others have told us. It's all second-hand information, third-hand, fourth-hand. Enlightenment is always direct, personal, first-hand.

Let go of all these ideas. Give up your religion. Don't follow Buddha, know yourself as Buddha. You don't need a path, you are standing on the "end goal." You are standing there now. There is nowhere to go.

Since birth (and maybe in other lifetimes), you've been conditioned -- by parents, friends, society, everything "external" to you. The only thing to do is to realize this deeply, without trying to analyze it. Understand deeply that everything you think you are consists simply of ideas in your mind. Look very closely and deeply at that. If you realize that clearly, enlightenment will very simply emerge, become clear as something that has always been there.

You can take a path if you like, try to become enlightened through various techniques. Tire yourself out seeking until you get so sick of searching that you nearly drop dead of exhaustion, until you're so burned out on looking for enlightenment somewhere in the future that you can't stand it anymore, until your head is reeling with confusion. Only then, maybe you can realize that the search is futile, that what you've been looking for has been here all along, that it is ever-presently HereNow.


Copyright 2000 Tim Gerchmez



Tim Gerchmez is the publisher of The Core. He has been interested in nondual spirituality for about a year. He is an on-and-off member of the Nonduality Salon mailing list. When asked for biographical information he replied, "My life occurs from moment to moment. What happened in the past is unimportant dead information. All I can say is that there is understanding here, but how much I cannot say. I sense that nondual understanding cannot be quantified and defies all attempts at assigning numbers, formulas or words."

 

This article was published on January 1, 2000 and last revised on May 15, 2000.


Copyright 2001 Realization.org. All rights reserved.