Updated: Sep 1
My daily activities are not unusual, I’m just naturally in harmony with them. Grasping nothing, discarding nothing. In every place there’s no hindrance, no conflict. How miraculous and wondrous, Drawing water and chopping wood.
Layman Pang. Zen Master
This old poem stands out for me as a lovely way to communicate, something that is difficult to describe in words. What is enlightenment? Millions are quietly seeking to experience it.
In the heart and eyes of a very young child everything is wondrous. These little beings have not yet been indoctrinated by worldly experiences including familial, social, educational and environmental programming, which leads to rational and critical thinking. Ego mind gradually evolves and the growing child develops the attachments and aversions, likes and dislikes, that shape our personalities.
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”. Jesus the Christ
Healthy young children ages 2-6 live primarily in the theta brainwave state…in other words, their little minds are open and relaxed and they are very connected to their inner world. What they are experiencing everywhere is the reflection of their own pure soul (awareness, presence). In essence they are already enlightened. As the ego mind develops, this pure inner radiance often becomes clouded over. This is sometimes describes as ripples or waves on an otherwise calm lake.
When you simply gaze at a contented baby or very young child and see the clarity and bliss in her eyes, you feel it and experience it as your own true souls reflection - pure bliss and love. There is no critical or rational thinking going on to disturb the experience or to colour it in anyway, until you start to think, “oh isn’t she beautiful” or “he has his father’s eyes”. Nothing wrong with this, except you have just lost touch with your pure state of awareness because you started thinking about something.
“Grasping at nothing, discarding nothing, In every place there is no hindrance.”
Any mentally healthy person who has experienced a good meditation, drops down into deeper brain wave states such as alpha, theta and delta which settles the ego mind (beta). This temporarily opens the channels which lead to the pure state of awareness we call Soul, Seer, Inner being, or the I AM. We merge into inner plains and into the bliss and peace of our enlightened soul. Upon returning to daily life everything is reflected back with a frequency of energy emanating from our integration with deeper brainwave states which, are always available, but normally clouded over by too much mental activity.
Colours may be a little brighter, tastes are tastier, there is more sensitivity to smell, sound, to the sense of feeling, and hearing. It's a natural "high". The mosquito you would have easily swatted dead an hour earlier, you may actually wave off now in the absence of any fear or reaction. Nothing has really changed on the outside, but your inner perception has been temporarily altered. Your internal chemistry has changed a little with the release of such feel good neurotransmitters as serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine. With the mind relaxed, you are grounded in the now, in pure I AM awareness. You are more in your feeling body and peaceful inner being, not yet back into your pre-programmed ego mind.
However, after a few moments for most people, or a few hours for people who have practiced persistently, this somewhat enlightened state generally fades away as the default programming in the brain and subconscious kicks back in and once again we begin to react unconsciously to the world around us. It is said that 95% of the thousands of thoughts the "average person" has daily are preprogrammed reactions. It takes years of dedicated meditation practice, some say lifetimes of practice, to clear out the old subconscious programming, grooves and patterns in order to reach a more permanent state of enlightenment where the heart-mind is completely cleansed and healed by the grace of our soul’s love.
“Enlightenment occurs when the heart-mind is totally clarified and purified of all possible negativity and causes of suffering. Such rare, enlightened people radiate unconditional love and acceptance. The pure light of the seer can shine through their eyes completely. Looking at them is like looking into a clear mirror of the soul, in which we can see ourselves reflected back exactly as we are, not as we think we are”
Niholai Bachman The Path of the Yoga Sutras