HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) Updated July 08, 2012 12:00 AM
The other day, I posted an audio message on Bubbly, an Internet social network site that I titled “Enlightenment in 80 Seconds” that got some good response. Today, I would like to expand on the topic, by attempting to describe enlightenment more elaborately, more than what I can say in 80 seconds, and using only so many words.
I don’t know if this is at all possible, for two reasons. One, I may have to write a whole thick book to even just skim the surface but I only have this small column. Two, as much as I want to tell you about it, words can never capture the essence of enlightenment.
That is a paradox in itself. There is much to say about it, but the more you talk about it, the harder it is to get to the bottom of it. So let’s forget the thick book. Besides, my Zen teacher advised me to not read books about enlightenment, and just go with the flow of experience.
There are states of consciousness that are within the territory of enlightenment. These are the states of Kensho or satori, which are some of the terms Zen has for this unique experience.
I will not try to tackle the topic in a scholarly way. Instead, I am taking you to a mountain or a view deck near the territory where we look to the horizon — north, south, east and west — and hopefully see enlightenment from a distance.
?In everyday life, we like to compartmentalize, split or separate things from each other. My philosophy teacher used to say that one has a sense of oneself by knowing what he or she is not. It goes something like this: I know I am me, or this body is who I am because I see a chair, a table, the garden and I know them to be separate from my body.
This suggests a dualistic view of things. There is the subject which is “I,” and there are the objects everywhere. In this dualistic existence where we live, things are always perceived as split into sides, like good vs. bad, hot vs. cold, white vs. black, brilliant vs. stupid, safe vs. unsafe, friend vs. stranger, and so on.
The part of us that makes this judgment is the ego, which wants the most comfortable existence. It goes for the best and it does so by judging what it considers to be good, advantageous and best for us. This is basically how we live everyday life.
This duality serves us in many ways. And it is the way of the world and its various disciplines and how all fields of knowledge and perception are arranged and programmed. ?There is you (subject) acting on the world (object). You have a job, family, bills to pay. You eat, work, pray, love, laugh, cry, feel, play in the dual realm.
But once in a while, it happens that you sense a stillness, like time stopping. There is a silence in the middle of whatever is going on and there appears to be a bigger reality arising. A spaciousness outside the field of all the divisions and dualities, time and space, good and bad, is unfolding and the noise of life gives way to a deep silence.
Your perception field — where you see things like inside and outside, you and me, subject and object — blur and boundary lines that separate you from them melt away. A new reality seems to open itself up.
As you gaze around seeing objects, you begin to ask yourself the nature of what you are seeing, hearing, feeling. And as you go deeper, more than asking “what,” you begin to explore more fundamental questions like who is it that looks through your eyes, hears through your ears, feels through your skin and perceives through your senses?
Who indeed. Is it the real you? Which is that real you? Are you participant or witness? Is it your soul, your Spirit that is witnessing everything, including you?
?Your sense of “self” has stopped being the center of sensation. The “I” that once ruled your thoughts seems far away. While there are still thoughts arising, you wonder who is thinking them. They arise and depart like clouds passing. There is nothing to like or unlike about them or anything in the field of reality. Everything is phenomena rising, just as the sun and the moon both rise and set. They are no different from the planets and stars orbiting, the wind passing, the leaves rustling, the cat meowing, the grass and foliage growing and dying, the lighting flashing, the cars passing, pedestrians walking, the world turning.
?Everything is simply arising, you included. Amazingly, you have ceased becoming a subject. There is no one watching, not a “you” at the very least. There is only the field where all this is happening. There is “no one” experiencing it. If there was, it would still be a dualistic experience. And the word “it” becomes a meaningless word since an object implies there is a subject. How can there be an object when the subject is gone? There is really no one home. There is only the radiance of connectedness, unity, Oneness.
?When I first stumbled upon this, I was floored. There were songs that were playing in my mind. One was the Beatles’ I Am the Walrus, which starts with “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together…” Another song was The Stylistics’ You Are Everything (and Everything Is You).
?The connectedness of all parts in the united field that we know to be reality was palpable. There are really no parts, just a unity including my “self” in it. Things were not separate, divided, dualistic. Everything was in its proper place and that was a divine and mind-boggling discovery. There was a great feeling of Being, of Spirit witnessing everything. Spirit permeated everything. Spirit was every thing that was being, happening, passing and fading. There was nothing that it was not.
?Being was the entire limitless field of phenomena. There was nothing it was not. And strangely enough, it was a limitless “I.” It was all there was. And yet, I could see the objects around me with perfect clarity. The bed was a bed. The window was still a window. No magic here. It was not my mind playing tricks, no sleight of hand or smoke and mirrors. It was an awakening to the radiance of reality, the suchness of everything. It was Spirit rising, recognizing its own awakening and switching me on as a portal.
There is a sense of awe that goes with what is undoubtedly a God experience. It’s like everything becomes a portal to the divine.
Like I said, words do get in the way. And I don’t know how many can actually relate to what I have written here. That’s all right. I have taken the risk of being criticized for writing about my experience with enlightenment. But I have done so because I realize that every aspect of true reality that presents itself to a few, must in the end become available to everyone.
The real cosmic deal here is: a powerful reality, or Truth, will choose to reveal itself to you, but in exchange, you must talk, write, shout about it regardless of consequences. That’s how you pay for the cosmic goodies.
As it has been and always will be.