Tuesday, March 29, 2016
I recently listened to a talk by a renowned philosopher, someone who has been hailed as the greatest mind of out time. He does indeed have a remarkable intellect
––he has produced many acclaimed books, talks, and articles on a wide range of topics. He is profoundly honored by has multitude of followers. Indeed, he has made a major contribution in many fields.
The topic of this recent presentation was "Enlightenment" (in the Eastern sense of the term.) He spoke of the Great Chain of Being (from Western perspectives) and defined Enlightenment as "being one with all that is."
I do not disagree with the thrust of his definition, but when I read or listen to his ideas I find that something is missing. That something is in fact the infinite bliss of god/goddess union with self, the merger of human and divine that can come, not from faithful practice or hours of mental probing, but from, I think, grace alone. Rapture as such is, I believe, the ananda of Eastern thought, the wordless, silent condition that arises when the devotee becomes one with the ineffable Other (the reality that some term God).
God (a term we use in lieu of any other adequate descriptor), is vast, incomprehensible, beyond sight, smell, or accurate description. However we struggle to delineate and reveal this invisible "presence," we can never comprehend "it" fully. To make the attempt is as futile as a fish trying to understand the water in the bowl he swims in, or a bird striving to discover the composition of the air in which he flies.
Rum simply called this essence "the Friend." Others speak of the "Beloved Within."
We live in mystery, and must accept that we will never fully unravel its true nature. What we do grasp with our puny intellects is like capturing one drop in the ocean and proclaiming that we have discovered the secret truth of water. All of our books, all of our perceptions and proclamations, as impressive as they may be, are, ultimately, futile attempts to define and describe that which is beyond our comprehension.
As for Enlightenment, that comes (at times) when we enter into divine union, not through mental striving but through surrendering all thought, all conceptions, all efforts and allow our bodies (including our subtle energies) to be infused with the nectar of holy love. Although very few attain a permanent state of "Enlightenment," we are sometimes graced with temporary glimpses of what that condition might be for the embodied human.
Rapture is itself a reality that tells us that we and "It" are in fact one. It reveals, indeed, the beauty and oneness of all that is; it carries a convincing authority when it enters, as we then vibrate at a higher frequency than any we have previously known or imagined.
Some describe this state as bliss, some as ecstasy, some as rapture. Whatever term we use, it is the state of unconditional love bestowed upon us at unpredictable times by a vastly benevolent source. It is the infusion of boundless love described by many who undergo the near death experience.
However, to experience the state of rapture does not mean that we discard intellect. Rather, we use mind as a foundation, a tool to enable us to progress and ultimately transcend. Mind is not the end point, but rather a vehicle to help us move ahead toward an unseen goal.
But mind alone cannot take us there. Only surrender can awaken us to this incomprehensible reality.
Yeats said, "Man can embody truth but never know it."
Kundalini can often offer us a means to enter this transcendent state. Each moment of union is a confirmation of our heavenly source and allows us to realize, for a few moments, our true identity as the divine human.
It takes courage to go here. T. S. Eliot spoke of "The awful daring of a moment's surrender." Surrender is the key, the willingness to take the final step and plunge over the edge of the cliff into a new reality.