Enlightenment Today

Today, enlightenment requires a lot more than it did in the past.  In the past people were a part of a tradition.  They were sheltered by it, enriched by it, and expressed it in their enlightenment.  Often the culture around them supported what they were doing and the direction they were taking.  Today’s enlightened person is in a different league.  They have, if they have truly reached that point, integrated all the great traditions of the past.  They have felt their essence and are a part of the essence.  That essence lives in them.  They are not particularly Jewish or Christian, but they are, at the same time, deeply Jewish, or Christian, Muslim or Buddhist.  They are a Zen monk.  They are a native American warrior or squaw.  They are all of those things, and that means they are moving beyond what’s there was in the past.  Yet it is the same wonderful ancient way, moving beyond forms, traversing the formless, melting back into the origin of things.  This is a very strange place to be because there is nowhere to go.  There is nowhere that I am not.  Yet I am still this skeleton.  I am still this old man, this Tony, with his penis and balls.  I am still that.  I still have arms to hold you with. I am still that.  I still have eyes to look at you through.  Why should that not be so?

Spirituality, in its best form does not mean unworldliness.  It means the insight into the world.  It means being more fully a part of it, creativity is a part of it.  It means being in possession of who you are, your being, your possibilities, you’re outreach.  The spiritual path means not being afraid.  It means daring to experience, not simply for the sake of experiencing, not simply having a screw for the sensation of it, but in a way to look at and digest what you experience.  It means  seeing what the experience means, what it holds in it and what part has in the scheme of things.

It is a mystery to me about feminism and homosexuality.  Why would one want to be any one thing?  I realize that in the world there are things to fight for, and that takes courage.  But in the end to simply maintain oneself as one thing, male or female, or homosexual or heterosexual, leads me to wonder why.  Why, when you have such a vast repertoire of possibilities.  Possibilities beyond one’s wildest dreams.  People mix the personality up with the spirit.  The personality is a mixture of different things.  A blending of different things.  That is the body thing, which has a long history of bodies stretching way, way back.  That brings to us certain qualities, certain possibilities, certain strengths or weaknesses.

Then there is the family line.  Well, that brings so many threads that are woven together.  Within those threads there will be outstanding influences, outstanding characteristics or drives in the family that you inherit.  There may be things of great weakness that you need to work with and redeem.  If you do that, then you will bring out the spirit of your ancestry, something that is unique and new in the world.  If you can find your way through you will bring that out.

There also many things that you inherit.  There is your cultural heritage, the land you were born in, the tribe that you are a part of.  You have qualities or strengths, and weaknesses from that.

Then there is the spirit – the spirit.  That is represented in each culture by the national religion.  That is always, in each culture, a doorway to go beyond.  In each culture, religion is a doorway enabling us to go beyond forms.  It enables us to go beyond all that has existed in the influences of our life.  It opens the doorway to touch something that stands beyond – beyond the beyond.  And if we can bring something of that back into our everyday life, we are a genius.  We are a genius of life.  We are a genius of creativity.  We are a genius of love.  We are a genius of being a mother or father.  We bring, by touching what stands beyond, something new into being.  It is ever, ever, new.

We cannot take out the treasure we have been bequeathed if we are not willing to meet our mother and father, if we cannot find our way through old angers and hates, and pains.  If we cannot see beyond the limitations on weaknesses of our times; if we cannot tap the enormous cultural heritage that has been given us; if we cannot reach beyond that into the spirit of things, then we cannot inherit that vast treasure we have inherited.  If a person cannot do that then they cannot bring that treasure to awareness; they will never know the details of it.  But to know it is there, to honor it, is important.

It is important to honour those great men and women who have dug into the rock face of life and uncovered the gems and truths that are part of our heritage today.

The gems and truths that have been mined out of the rock face of life are quite simple truths.  We so often forgets them.  We forget these simple truths, and rush looking for something more.  Looking for something more than we already have.  We already have something so enormous it is beyond most of us to grasp.  Are the entertainments of the world so wonderful?  Are the plastic joys that are offered us, that we have to pay for, so great?  Are cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, really the answer?  Are they really the life you are looking for?  Are they the life you know within yourself is there?  It might just be through a threshold, through a little discomfort, a little tolerance, a little love that you discovers that heritage.  Perhapss we need a little less self righteousness.  Maybe we need to be able to say occasionally, “Oh, I’m sorry, that was me being a pig.  I do it sometimes.”

Everything works.  Everything gives itself.  Everything is a part of something else.  Everything is more than it appears and connects with everything else.  There is not a drop of rain that falls that is not an expression of the whole vast totality, that isn’t a fulfilment of the hugeness.  And if you are not willing to give yourself now, to get into the common struggle, the common life, the mining of the understanding and the creating of the world we live in, I just want to say, “ oh come on, you know what I’m talking about.  If you are not willing to do that now, life is going to take it from you.  It’s going to have you.  That is how things work.  Look around.  It’s going to eat you up and digest you whether you like it or not, so you might as well give yourself to it now.  Say to it, ‘Here I am!  Here I am, all of me.  Here are the good bits, the stupid bits, the lovable bits, and I don’t know what the hell bits these are.  They are all here.” Here I am.  Come on, make something of me.  Help me make something of myself.  Flow through me.

When you are talking to the life that is active in yourself, you are not talking to a blank wall.  It is living.  It feels.  It knows and it creates. How do you think you came about?  So, you are not pissing into the wind.  Or if you are, the wind knows where it is going, and it is part of something enormous.  Something immense.

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