Question: What is enlightenment?
Aaravindha: Enlightenment is your highest potential, it is your Self Realization. Enlightenment is best described in a few simple words: A True Realization of your High Self is what remains when all of the distortions affecting your inner shine of Divine Will, which enlivens your sensory awareness, have been stilled or released. Please take a moment to think about what I just said. This was a very important sentence. What I mean is this: all of what you are experiencing, everything in your life, mentally or physically, is at this moment being fed to you from within. Life is not just happening around you, it is being created through you. Try to understand, what you see around you, all of this, is not what it appears to be. Everything you see is an interpretation of a complex blend of impressions that are striking the innermost sensory part of your mentality. If that interpretation is somehow distorted or blurred, then your resulting experience of reality will also be distorted. On the other hand, if nothing interferes with that pure illumining power, well then, you are very blessed indeed, because then your mind is free to receive and express the shine of your True Self.
You may have noticed that I said enlightenment “remains” when the sensory distortions of your mind are gone. What I am telling you is that you already own your enlightenment. It is already there, waiting within you, waiting for you to awaken, to express as your true spiritual art.
What most people assume reality is, is actually very different from what you will experience when you Self Realize. And please believe me when I tell you, if you are Self Realized, you will know it. Everything will become very clear, which is somewhat like waking from a long dream. In fact, you will then be awake forever, never falling asleep under the life distorting influence of ignorance again.
comment: That sounds wonderful and it is calming to hear that all teachers and masters, who really have to say something wholehearted about enlightenment, say the same in a little different way.
comment: You said that we definitely know if we are Self Realized, that is calming, that means as long as we have a question about it, we definitely are not constantly in this stage of being.
Aaravindha: Yes, that’s right; as long as you are seeking your enlightenment you have not yet awakened.
Question: How can we achieve Self Realization?
Aaravindha: Let me begin my answer by saying that on your way to enlightenment, you must be a little careful with your intention to achieve something, or to become an enlightened being. Achieving, or becoming suggests a kind of effort or pursuit. Pursuing your enlightenment is an act of illusion in itself, affirming your separation from what you already have hidden within you. Trying to become something you essentially are is an obvious waste of effort; you already are what you seek. This does not however mean that you will be able to discover your enlightenment without facing some obvious difficulties. Your awakening requires a deep commitment on your part. Fortunately your commitment is not your most difficult part of the journey. In fact, it is more of a letting go to your true nature. You are designed to be a master, expressing an awakened nature. Although, it requires far more effort to maintain a resistance to your awakening then to make a commitment to it. Your commitment simply means you are willing to be both fully present and receptive. It requires your listening. This kind of commitment uses very little effort. While on the other hand, trying to become an enlightened being is perhaps one of the most effortful and difficult things you can attempt. You could waste endless lifetimes affirming and chasing that goal.
A flower does not need to apply effort to release its beauty and fragrance. It simply turns receptively towards the sun. The illumining power of the sun provides all that it needs. Your High Self is your Sun, your illumining power. Learn how to become receptive to it, learn to make yourself ready and its power will set you ablaze with God’s Blissful Light. That Bliss-light is the path to your self Realization... And yes, there is a special art to this kind of receptivity; a very lovely spiritual art, waiting for you to rediscover. It comes with you into your life. It can open all the doors to your eventual enlightenment. Your art consists of learning what their keys are and how to use them. I can tell you this secret; these keys are as light as a feather, bearing absolutely no weight upon your soul.
Who is moving you right now? Who is causing your breath to flow, your blood to surge and your thoughts to form? In your enlightenment you come to realize there is only one Being, one ultimate Perceiver behind all that appears to be real or living. You’ll discover your Self Realization when that one ultimate Perceiver, shines through your presence, without effort, restriction or distortion. Too many spiritual teachers have missed this simple truth. They put their students on a path of achievement; to become an spiritually enlightened being. They have obviously missed the simple fact that their students are in essence as Divine as themselves. This is the biggest mistake our religious world has been making for thousands of years now; Putting their devotees or students into a pursuit of perfection is the path to exhaustion, not to enlightenment!
Question: Okay, that is a very beautiful answer, but I know so many people, including myself, who understood this truth, and still – they are not yet enlightened. So is there anything more we can do to get free? Or is it finally just grace?
Aaravindha: When I speak with new students I often hear that same sentiment. Many people have tried faithfully to follow the teachings of their early teachers. Some of these people have practiced their sadhanas and meditation techniques devotedly for many years. This can be very disillusioning when their efforts prove to be unsuccessful. After many years of trying it, is not always easy for the student to accept that a simple flaw in their teaching may have rendered their attempts unfulfilled. Although enlightenment is yet a very rare event, during our present period of transformation, it is possible to awaken within the span of one lifetime. What is essential is right knowledge, support of effort reducing techniques and proper guidance for that to be made possible. Mistakes are sometimes made along the way. Life on this little planet is a mixture of light and shadow. At times a shadow might distort the intuition of the seeker. Those shadows can be dissolved.
You specifically asked me if there is anything else you can do to "get free." Yes There is a great deal you can do. However before beginning these things, first learn to give up your struggle to "get free." You did not come into this life to try get free of what you have been given. You came here to set those things into their right alignment with your quintessential purpose for being. And while doing so you must learn to allow that purpose to support your awakening. You are a sacred being, your life is intended to be a joy filled expression of that sacredness. It is your mistaken perception of who you are and what life is, which prevents you from being free. What life offers is not a problem to the enlightened. To the awakened, life is Lila; the play and delight of God. Instead of drawing conclusions about what life is, or is not, learn to return to innocence. Become like a child, willing, receptive and humble. Humility means that you must learn to accept that life is not what you presently may believe it to be. If you already realized who you are and what life truly is, you would already be enlightened. Try to remember; life rests within a field of infinite potential. You can use that potential to bring about your suffering or your awakening. Provided you are open to learning some of its deeper secrets. However, to do so you will need to culture your inner mindfulness.
This brings me to what you can begin doing to awaken: Your mindfulness must be built upon four important principles. The first principle is established when you learn how to receptively and willingly acknowledge what is present in your life. childlike awareness is important here. No more denials. Every life situation, every relationship, every experience holds within it the lessons of of the one Teacher. Whether it is pleasurable or painful, life is offering you an opportunity to realize. You cannot make those realizations if you are not fully aware of what is present in your life. Try to remember, the most important things you need to help you awaken in this moment are already here in now.
The second principle is established when you have learned how to give up affirming your adopted beliefs. You have the power to stop defining yourself or your surrounding experiences to be what you may have imagined them to be. If you cannot do that, then you cannot discover what is true. Humility is very important here. Humility frees your potential.
Within these first two principles you should be both receptively present and open to possibility. As your third principle you must also learn how to listen intuitively for what is true. It is in this third principle that you learn to empower yourself. If you can learn to distinguish between what is false, while being receptive to what is true beyond it, you can then learn to act discriminately for your higher realization. Your ability to discriminate correctly acts the foundation for your self empowerment.
So as your fourth principle you must learn to act on your realizations. You must learn to go beyond simply intuiting what is true, because if you do not actively integrate your realizations into life they will likely become nothing more than inspiring idea’s, eventually evaporating in your mind.
What is not true is who you presently think you may be. You must learn to open to an ongoing discovery of who you are without creating any false hopes or conclusion. Listening intuitively is the heart of your art. Literally the heart. Intuition requires you to discover and invoke the light of your spiritual heart. Your spiritual heart is not the same as your physical heart. This heart is not in your chest. It is the Self-illumining grace that the principles of your mind are built around.
What is true is that you are already Divine, everything around you is also already Divine. Beware of those popular teachings that tell you there is a special path to God. God is already everywhere, inside and out. So where is this path? Is it still a path, if it begins and ends where you are? This moment is all there is of your path. There is only one Presence, everywhere you look, everywhere you go. The last part of your question was “is it just grace.” Of course my dear, it is all grace, every breath is grace. When you are awake you realize that.
Question: I think I understand the essential point of your answer. Is it that we have to let go of any idea of who we may think we are or may want to be?
Aaravindha: ... yes that is a good beginning...
Question: ... and instead of these assumptions we must learn to hear, feel and see who we are in every moment? Did I understand it in the right way?
Aaravindha: ... No. This is not correct. You are not going to awaken by trying to hear, feel or see who you are. If you attempt that you are still looking for "someone." Your effort at being or becoming someone is the illusion that binds you to your limitations. In your search you are still trying to validate "someone." That is a "pursuit;" you cannot win your awakening through its pursuit. You are not a "someone." You are the "One;" the undefinable High Self, without limit or boundary. Your life is merely one possible ray of that One High Self shining into expression through your incarnate form. Who you really are is something much larger then any one moment can convey. In fact, you are really much larger then an endless number of successive moments can convey. It is simply not going to serve you to try to become an an enlightened being. You must realize a different approach.
You must learn how to receive your High Self nature without restricting its expression into life in any way. What I will say to you now is very important because it holds the central most truth about what enlightenment is. “Your enlightenment is what remains when all the illusions you have mistakenly learned to believe in are put to rest, so that the illumining Power of Divine Mind can shine its rightful expression through your individuated mind without any distortion or interference of ignorance.” Do you see? Perhaps this will help? You are like a drop, acting as a lens for the ocean it is in, and existing for the purpose of interpreting and expressing the Will of the ocean. essentially, the oceans Power is also the Power of the drops within it. There is only one ultimate Perceiver, only one High Self behind this apparent field of endless diversity. Just as the ocean has an endless number of drops in it, there is nevertheless only the one ocean. So really there is only one drop; the ocean itself. It is just a convenient illusion that there is more then one. If your lens is clear the High Self can shine its Will freely into expression. That is the reason for your life. It is that simple.
What you must learn to listen for is what is true and what is not. There is dust on your lens. You do not have to become the illumining Power. You already are the illumining Power. In ignorance that Power is limited to the extent of that ignorance. To be free, you must learn the art of removing the dust, so who you truly are can be received and expressed as your life. The worst piece of dust on your lens is your identity. That identity is limiting the illumining Power of Divine mind to a set of mistaken beliefs. As a result you learn to express limitation over truth. “I am good or bad, worthy or unworthy, beautiful or ugly, rich or poor;” these are all lies! You can identify your self with an endless array of possible forms. None of them are really you. The real awakening art rests in letting these go, rather then affirming them or trying to come up with another even greater identity. Your awakening art is made real when the true shine of who you are is set free to shine through your purified lens. When the drop in the ocean is so clear that its walls no longer cause it to imagine itself separate from the ocean, what remains is enlightenment.
Question: Oh my... to be honest, your answer creates quite a struggle in me... You see, in times of suffering the idea of letting go of everything has felt very pleasant. But now after so many years trying to become a someone, trying to find a way to accept and to love this I, trying to love my life, and after finally succeeding in feeling that I am being someone likable, and I do mostly like my life and myself; now you are saying that there is no I at all, not even an enlightened I. When I am honest I have to say that this really frightens me. So what can I do with this fear? It feels like dying and I was so happy that my life had just begun.
Aaravindha: Thank you for your honest question. This is exactly were most people falter in their awakening; in their fear of losing what they have come to believe in.
It is not as though your small I dies, it is better to realize you are gaining a true I. You actually have two I’s; Your false I and your true I. In ignorance one’s entire reality is built around that false I. Your false I is the cause of all of your emotional feelings, whether they are happy or sad. Inside your false I, there can also be many other I’s, different personalities for different purposes. You may be one person to your Lover and another to your Business partners, and again another person to people who do not like you. In enlightenment there is only one I remaining. That one I can not be limited by definition, so you cannot ever really identify with it. It is the only real I, and yet it is forever boundless and forever free... That I is your Divine High Self. Your High Self is dreaming your life, waiting for you to realize your true nature through it. In your enlightenment, your life moves beyond all fear, it becomes your only chance to freely play God,’s Love game, making it possible for you to find your only true Beloved; your own quintessential Being. You are that same I that is looking at you from behind every set of eyes you will ever meet, regardless of whether you have realized yourself there or not. Once you have Realized it your High Self will begin to send its Bliss-light through your heart for your incarnate soul to feel, drink in and remember. You may never be able to see your true Self, but you will be able to experience your High Self nature creating this world and all of its possible moments of Self recognition. It is when you give up all resistance to that nature then you will begin to feel the Bliss of who you truly are. This Bliss-light is referred to as Visoka. This feeling is very deep, your experience of Visoka, (bliss-light) is the High Self’s way of saying to you; "here I am my dear, here in this moment, deep inside of you; find me here and you will find me everywhere."
Before their enlightenment, people often mistaken their ideas of likes and loves for what they may not actually be. Most of the time they mistaken their attachments or aversions for their likes and dislikes, which actually either affirm or threaten their chosen beliefs. What one person likes another person dislikes. What makes one person happy makes another unhappy. What makes someone happy one moment can even make them unhappy in the next moment. This is the shifting nature of attachments and aversions. Emotions are not permanent. Your emotions, whatever they may be, arise in direct relationship to your successes or failures at affirming your beliefs that define you. When your beliefs change your related emotions change as well. Have you ever said I am in love, and a while later said I wish I was free of this suffering? Love is not what people think it is. Our modern society equates love with an emotion, a feeling of being deeply satisfied with something that assures some kind of success in one’s beliefs.
Love is not an emotion, it is a state of supra-natural being. Love is unconditional. It never dies. And it cannot ever really be expressed. Love is an unrestricted "realization of the truth." It is you standing fully present in the light of your True Self Knowledge, without any attachments or aversions blocking your enlightenment. The secret of love is that it is only possible when you are free of desire, free of the need to prove your beliefs. It is only possible when you are allow yourself to be defenseless in the Presence of God’s life illumining Grace.
Question: You said that the false I is the cause of all of our emotional feelings...
Aaravindha: Emotions are the result of succeeding or failing at affirming or sustaining the adopted beliefs in who this "I" is. Lets call that "I" one’s sense of self. What people fear more then anything else in life is losing their sense of self. Some people fear that loss even more then they fear death itself. That fear generates all of the mental conditions that manifest as human emotions.
Question: So... don’t we have any emotions when we live in enlightenment?
Aaravindha: Yes and no! There are three levels of enlightenment. In the final and highest level all is bliss. In the first two there is a little mix of emotions with varying degrees of bliss. Some people may feel that bliss is the same as an emotion. This is really a mistaken understanding. Bliss is not at all like an emotion. Bliss is completely unconditional. It is the pure shine of God’s delight; incomparable in it richness. Bliss is felt within one’s highest level of receptivity as an ecstatic revealing of one’s true nature. Bliss accompanies our moments of Self realization as they are forming. On the other hand, emotions are always conditional, they are more like messengers. We might say that emotions are a little like the inner teachers voice saying; “not this way my dear, can you feel this, this is an indication you have not yet discovered the truth, let go, in my presence listen again, this time with less resistance.” Emotions are calls for right discrimination. They are a mental indicators that tell you through your ability to feel that you have not yet arrived at the truth. The wise know this. When you have cultured your mindfulness to be able to separate out the difference between what is really true and what is illusion, and you have given your life to the actualization of that truth, having thrown aside all resistance, then bliss comes, filling your senses with it’s special gift of illumination. You could say that moments of bliss entering your awareness are actually the impulses of your real High Self, offering you glimpses of who you really are; each taste of bliss calls you a little closer to your enlightenment
Question: Aaravindha, there have been so many different schools along with numerous kinds of techniques all claiming to prepare the student for an enlightened life. And also, so many people have spent years with their enlightened Gurus and teachers. Yet it is very rare that any of the thousands of students have become enlightened. Would you say that the old ways have failed? Would you say that now in our present age we need new techniques and teachings to find our way home?
Aaravindha: Humanity as a whole has been passing through a very deep sleep. It has not been an easy time for those seeking Self Realization. Many intentions to awaken were noble attempts, but often the right knowledge was only partially here. Consequently the many techniques that came from this partial knowledge was also faulted. Yes it is true that relatively few individuals have realized their enlightenment in last few thousand years. And of course, there are those gurus and teachers that say they are enlightened; and often they believe they are. But in truth, discovering a truly enlightened teacher is a very rare event. It is not that all these people are being dishonest; it is really that they have come to believe they are enlightened through a misunderstanding of what enlightenment actually is.
"Have the old ways failed the true seeker?" Yes, some have, and also some have not. In this world, light is always mixed with shadows. It requires a very present and willing person to be humble and receptive enough to learn how to navigate such a perilous sea. Fortunately the power to awaken cannot die, it will live on, outlasting any illusions; waiting for the right moment to be rediscovered in its authentic form. This power to awaken lives in every being; it is simply a matter of knowing which keys will open the the right doors. Some obvious teachings need to be restructured and re-integrated into our spiritual education.
Instead of teaching our students to pursue their enlightenment, we should encourage them to recognize what they are seeking is already within them. The way to enlightenment is through, right acceptance, acknowledgment of what is, your return to innocence, willing receptivity, humility, generosity and right discrimination. These are all acts of presence, not attempts at pursuing enlightened. Working for the fruits of one’s actions blocks the way to enlightenment. Instead of encouraging our students to find a teacher or guru who will provide them with all the answers to every questions, we should instead encourage them to find teachers who will show them the correct methods for uncovering and realizing the answers they seek within themselves. Real spiritual guidance offers right knowledge and the correct means to discover one’s inner Self. However, the students actual Self Realization depends solely upon the student. Instead of teaching our students to try to perfect themselves, we should encourage them to actualize their perfection as an ongoing expression. Perfection is not possible as an achievement as it is simply too large, It involves far more then any expression can capture. Linear time is limited in what it can express. It cannot ever express the whole of one’s being for the potential that rests within it is infinite in its range. Only eternity can express the infinite nature of perfection. Perfection is realizable, but not achievable. It is important to understand the difference. We must teach our student to be present enough to realize perfection is always what they are in essence, but that essence cannot be defined nor can it ever be fully expressed. The student has an eternal soul, which can realize its perfection enfolding through one joyful moment after another. So, we must teach the student to be willing to be patient, to allow eternity to have its voice. We must teach our students to be a little grateful for their imperfection, so that they might discover their fulfillment with out so much effort. If we teach our students the art of serving the shine of their perfection rather then pursuing it, only then is their enlightenment is assured.
As for techniques, very few techniques today are complete in themselves. What has been missing are some of the very pure and powerful techniques that were once practiced by the very highly evolved masters of the former age. Many of these techniques will now be returning to support the sincere in our world. You are standing on the edge of a revolutionary time for the re-emergence of True Self Knowledge. And, beyond the techniques that will now be offered back to our world, what has been dearly missing is a true understanding of humanities central most spiritual art; the art of compassionate discrimination. And, what has been missing is the wisdom that arises from learning to give to others what one needs, rather then trying to claim what is needed. What is missing is a true understanding of the workings of the mind, with its many intimate functions as they relate to pure consciousness. Our modern world has sacrificed too much of its spiritual nature for its beliefs in a purely mind oriented psychology. Also too many techniques promote processes of finding fault and repairing one’s self. The Self needs no repairing. It simply needs to be cleansed, similar to how a lens is purified so that the light behind it can find a pure expression.
The greatest and most sacred science man has ever come to know is about to break through the clouds of illusion, which have cast their shadows upon humanity for thousands of years. You can feel it arriving because you and many others are a part of this revolution of consciousness. It is now just a matter of time. It will not all be easy; much of this shift will present serious challenges on virtually every level of human existence. However, at the end of this last game, the long lives of waiting will finally come to an end. Fulfillment truly is just a short way ahead for those that have the willing hearts to prepare for it.