The signs of enlightenment by James Swartz
James Swartz is a Vedanta teacher and writer, greatly influenced by Swami Chinmayananda, Swami Abhedananda and Swami Dayananda Saraswati.
In your last e-mail you made the statement “So that ‘you’ which is unaffected by experience is called the ‘Self’ and the knowledge ‘I Am the Self’ is enlightenment. What would be the signs of that?
Ram: Here is a verse from the Bhagavad Gita, so I am just going to tell you what it is. First Arjuna asks Krishna the question, ‘What are the signs of an enlightened soul?’ and Krishna says, ‘When a man completely casts off, O Partha, all the desires of the mind …’ [Ch.2, v.55]
Joseph: Does that mean, for example, if I were sitting in a restaurant and a beautiful woman comes in and I start fancying her?
Ram: It has nothing to do with whether or not you fancy her. It has everything to do with why you fancy her. If you fancy her and are thinking that making love with her will increase your fundamental happiness you are deluded. If you fancy her as the Self, if you see the light in her and recognize it as the light in you and everything, then that would be the response of an enlightened person. But that does not mean that you will try to get her in bed. If you are just conditioned, like Pavlov’s dog, to start fancying a woman that your vasanas attract you to, then you are just an animal. It’s OK to be an animal, but it isn’t Self realization.
Joseph: But there is nothing actually stopping me from doing it? As long as I am not caught up with the idea that it will make me feel good or feel bad?
Ram: People usually want things because they think things will make them happier. If you feel that love is modifying you, then you are not the Self. That person would be Joseph, the Ego. It is very easy to fool yourself on the issue of desires. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna is not saying not to have desires in the mind. In fact in one verse he says, “I am the desire that is not opposed to dharma.” An enlightened person can have desires, it is quite natural, but an enlightened person…someone who sees his or herself as limitless awareness…has a non-attached relationship to the desires that appear in the mind. It is all about one’s relationship to the desires.
So how does a jnani, view desires? In The Course of Miracles, it says, ‘From what you want God won’t save you.’ What does that mean? It means that the karma from indulging your desires may not be as wonderful as you think. In fact experience teaches that sometimes we get what we want and sometimes we don’t, so, on one hand, we can’t even count on getting what we want….which can lead to frustration and depression. It also teaches that sometimes we aren’t happy when we get what we want and at other times we are happy when we get what we don’t want. So, on the other hand, tying happiness to the satisfaction of your desires is foolish.
In the Gita it also says when a person, ‘… is satisfied in the Self by the Self, then is he said to be one of steady Wisdom.’ [Ch.2, v.55]
This is a statement that applies to an enlightened person: when one is satisfied in the Self alone. The desires of the mind are optional and can be ignored without causing agitation. When you know that ‘you’ are the source of your satisfaction and don’t look for satisfaction outside yourself through fame, security, pleasure, wealth and duty, etc. then you are wise.
Joseph: I think one of my difficulties when you tell me these things, is when did it start? When was it that I started to say certain things? In some way, I could say I was always like this. As long as I can remember that was true.
Ram: Yes, that is the Self. It was always true for the Self. It did not become true at some point for the Self. Maybe for Joseph it became true at a certain point. But for the Self it is always true. It says in the Upanishads, “It is not for the sake of the wife that the husband loves the wife but for the sake of the Self.” Now that could mean the ego but it does not mean the ego – it means the Self. Because everything is done for the sake of the Self and everything is the Self, including all activity. When you love somebody, it isn’t your girlfriend you love although you perhaps think it is; it is the Self in your girlfriend that you love. When you get involved as a person love goes out the door.
Joseph: So what do you make of my personal situation? How does my situation fit in with this whole Self-thing we are discussing?
Ram: You see, Joseph, you are not a person. You have no personal situation. What is personal about you…your hair, your nose, your mind? Nothing here is personal. ‘Personal’ is a concept that comes about when you don’t know your real nature. How does any of what you consider yours become yours? Your body is just five elements, not different from any other body. The physiological systems are just universal forces working in the impersonal body.
Where is it written that any of it belongs to a guy named Joseph? Are any of the thoughts in your mind unique? They are not. As we speak there are millions of people thinking the same thoughts we are. What about your feelings? When you feel lust, is it a special Joseph lust? It isn’t. When you enter the state of deep sleep are you entering your own personal state of sleep. No. A king sleeping on silk sheets and a drunk sleeping in the gutter are enjoying the same state. There is nothing personal here.
The Bhagavad Gita says, ‘He whose mind is not shaken by adversity, and who in prosperity does not hanker after pleasures, who is free from attachment, fear and anger, is called a sage-of-steady-Wisdom.’ [Ch.2, v.56]
If you hanker after pleasures, that may be Joseph, but it is not the Self. If you are upset when things don’t go your way, that’s Joseph and not the Self.
Enlightenment confers the power of viveka, the ability to discriminate between the Self and the non-Self – to know which is which. So all you need to do is know what Joseph is and know what the Self is. When you get that sorted you can decide whether you want to be Joseph or the Self. It is up to you. When you think of yourself as Joseph, a person in this world, working to get certain things and get rid of certain other things, then you are said to be an aviveki, someone who lacks discrimination, a samsari.
Joseph: I can clearly say that I am unattached to those sorts of things. Today in satsang I was telling a story about how I met this person and someone called out, ‘that’s not satsang’. Everyone was shocked by the interruption. I didn’t react at all. I stopped talking and waited to see what was going to happen and then other people started to talk and a whole thing happened. I sat quietly through it and it felt really good. I noticed that there was one man in the room who was simply present in the Self, sitting there and everyone else was being hooked into the big drama that was happening. I felt myself totally with him.
Ram: The first fellow was right. It wasn’t satsang. It was Joseph talking about Joseph. But it is also true that as the Self you are not going to be any less than what you are if people either like of dislike you. It isn’t a statement about you at all. It’s just their own projections that are causing them to behave in the way they do. Your happiness and peace of mind doesn’t depend upon their opinion, or their feelings about you and whether they love you or not. It’s the ego that cares.
Joseph: I feel pretty clear about this one. That is definitely not the case.
Ram: Let’s get back to the Gita. This is something that only you know in your heart unless you’re in denial. You may be able to delude yourself but you can’t conceal it from others. Anyway, the verse says ‘The Self free of attachment, neither rejoices nor hates.’ The one who rejoices is the ego; the one who hates is the ego.
Joseph: ‘Joseph’ is attached to a friend staying here longer, but at the same time I really don’t care. Does that make me unattached?
Ram: No, it doesn’t. Joseph cannot be unattached. It is simply not possible. Being limited, Joseph is by definition always attached to something. Spirituality is not about a person, like Joseph, achieving a state of non-attachment. This is a very common misconception. Behind this idea you have a lot of people trying to detach from bad habits, other people, negative thought patterns, etc. But it is a futile endeavour. You cannot gain what you already have by karma, by doing something, in this case detaching. You can only see if you are Joseph or the Self. When you see that you are the Self you get perfect non-attachment, a non-attachment that does not have to be cultivated. But then, Joseph, after living through so many experiences, can suddenly realize that nothing here is going to make him permanently happy and he can just let go. So in that sense a kind of relative detachment can come.
This is probably enough for now. I hope it clears things up.
I want to have discourse on the quality of love known as wisdom.
In its essence, wisdom is the truth of the divine. It rises from within one’s inner guidance clearly, purely and simply as a knowing that something is absolutely true for them.
One’s inner guidance is always speaking to them and one exercises the quality of wisdom when they attune and listen to its quiet voice. In this way, they are guided to navigate the river of their live with divine intelligence.
Following one’s inner wisdom fills an individual with a sense of love for self and others. Wisdom is an undeniable knowing that a course of action is the wise choice to take and that one will be given all the guidance they need to do exactly the right thing.
When they trust their higher wisdom and inner guidance doing what feels good, they feel at peace within their heart knowing they are always led in the right direction. When they allow this inner wisdom to be heard, their life unfolds in mysterious and wonderful ways. It is a surrendering of personal wants and desires to the universal flow of life, the loving intelligence that is greater than anything one’s mind could conceive.
A mind that is united with inner wisdom becomes more proficient at fulfilling one’s deepest and most authentic desires. When one commits to discovering self with a sense of awe, curiosity and passion, they connect to a deep happiness that is unshakable by chaos, criticism, or current circumstance. Inner wisdom is the ability to access the language of the heart, the language of love and the language of feelings. It is a heartwarming sensory experience.
In order to hear one’s inner voice of higher wisdom, one needs to be mentally relaxed, physically and consciously aware and emotionally open to receive the guidance that comes forth. When one employs this inner wisdom to investigate their feelings, they become clear about what is currently happening in their life.
With this higher level of conscious awareness, they have the freedom to choose, knowing their feelings are providing important information about any given situation that is before them. When they allow their life to flow along with their inner wisdom, they feel happy in their heart. When they try to force things to go in a certain direction, it does not feel good to them, they lose their rhythm.
As they allow their life to unfold, each step they take gives them feedback with the answers that they need to set them back on track. They come to realize their body is their secret messenger that gives them clues which their inner wisdom is providing. It is important for each individual to become aware of how that occurs. They must be willing to act on it, to trust that it is taking them to the next step on their journey and is the right one for them.
As an individual is willing to meet everything that is arising in their experience by exploring it, their true direction in any given situation will become clear. Bringing compassion for self into this exploration is essential. As one surrenders to stepping into the unknown, they are allowing the flow of guidance of their higher wisdom. When they turn deep within and ask their inner guidance to help make the right choices, they are never led astray.
The more one listens, the easier it becomes to discern the correct answer when needed. One realizes that being an astute listener of their loving higher wisdom makes for a blessed life. When they follow their truth, they are allowing themselves to let their inner wisdom guide them rather than listening to their own personal desires. Their life is far more peaceful, centred, loving and gentle when they develop their inner listening skills. When they make a choice and do their best, every life situation offers the learning and growth that they need.
As each person aligns to and listens to their loving higher wisdom, their minds and hearts are filled with creative expression, new ideas and promptings that come from a place of fullness, a place of love and fulfillment. They know innately that they are aligned with a consciousness that speaks only truth and is characterized by feelings of trust and love, humbleness and gratitude, compassion and mercy, peace and harmony, and tolerance and forgiveness.
The more one identifies and aligns with their higher wisdom and consciousness, the greater their spiritual power becomes and things start to manifest in their lives through amazing synchronicities. The answers they receive make sense to them on more than one level because truth reveals itself on all levels. They come to realize that the power inside them is the same power that creates worlds and that part of their life purpose is to learn how to utilize this power to create the peaceful world they want. This has a wonderful positive effect on their life!
May your connection to your inner wisdom prompt you always to listen to your heart. It is the creativeness of the universe speaking through you. It is a valuable guidance from deep within.
I AM Archangel Gabriel
By Wes Annac, Culture of Awareness
Osho is one of many revolutionary spiritual figures who encourages people to free themselves from the prison they’ve created in their minds, which is easier to escape than they think.
He’s reminded people that the greatest fulfillment comes with the joy of simply being, and instead of constantly falling prey to the mind, we should stop, become still and silent, and observe it. We’ll grow closer with true peace if we do this often, and meditation could eventually become a huge part of our life. We might wonder how we lived without it, and we’ll never know what the present moment has for us if we don’t slow down and explore it.
Our existence is enough, and we don’t have to prove our worthiness to the world with big, impressive achievements. We need only to relax into the silence and stillness of the inner self to understand our true worth, and then, we can use that understanding to get the most out of life and help others awaken to the presence of their higher consciousness.
I’d recommend checking out more from Osho if you like the quotes listed here. While the greatest teacher lives within, it helps to receive guidance from other wise sources so we can relax into the personal changes that align us with a more present and enlightened state of being.
15 wise quotes from Osho:
1. “Be — don’t try to become”
2. “If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.”
3. “Experience life in all possible ways — good-bad, bitter-sweet, dark-light, summer-winter. Experience all the dualities. Don’t be afraid of experience, because the more experience you have, the more mature you become.”
4. “Sadness gives depth. Happiness gives height. Sadness gives roots. Happiness gives branches. Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth. Both are needed, and the higher a tree goes, the deeper it goes, simultaneously. The bigger the tree, the bigger will be its roots. In fact, it is always in proportion. That’s its balance.”
5. “To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.”
6. “Listen to your being. It is continuously giving you hints; it is a still, small voice. It does not shout at you, that is true. And if you are a little silent you will start feeling your way. Be the person you are. Never try to be another, and you will become mature. Maturity is accepting the responsibility of being oneself, whatsoever the cost. Risking all to be oneself, that’s what maturity is all about.”
7. “Be realistic: Plan for a miracle”
8. “Life begins where fear ends.”
9. “Drop the idea of becoming someone, because you are already a masterpiece. You cannot be improved. You have only to come to it, to know it, to realize it.”
10. “One thing: you have to walk, and create the way by your walking; you will not find a ready-made path. It is not so cheap, to reach to the ultimate realization of truth. You will have to create the path by walking yourself; the path is not ready-made, lying there and waiting for you. It is just like the sky: the birds fly, but they don’t leave any footprints. You cannot follow them; there are no footprints left behind.”
11. “I’m simply saying that there is a way to be sane. I’m saying that you can get rid of all this insanity created by the past in you. Just by being a simple witness of your thought processes. It is simply sitting silently, witnessing the thoughts, passing before you. Just witnessing, not interfering not even judging, because the moment you judge you have lost the pure witness.
“The moment you say ‘this is good, this is bad,’ you have already jumped onto the thought process. It takes a little time to create a gap between the witness and the mind. Once the gap is there, you are in for a great surprise, that you are not the mind, that you are the witness, a watcher. And this process of watching is the very alchemy of real religion. Because as you become more and more deeply rooted in witnessing, thoughts start disappearing.
“You are, but the mind is utterly empty. That’s the moment of enlightenment. That is the moment that you become for the first time an unconditioned, sane, really free human being.”
12. “Each person comes into this world with a specific destiny–he has something to fulfill, some message has to be delivered, some work has to be completed. You are not here accidentally–you are here meaningfully. There is a purpose behind you. The whole intends to do something through you.”
13. “You feel good, you feel bad, and these feelings are bubbling from your own unconsciousness, from your own past. Nobody is responsible except you. Nobody can make you angry, and nobody can make you happy.”
14. “Intelligence is dangerous. Intelligence means you will start thinking on your own; you will start looking around on your own. You will not believe in the scriptures; you will believe only in your own experience.”
15. “I love this world because it is imperfect. It is imperfect, and that’s why it is growing; if it was perfect it would have been dead. Growth is possible only if there is imperfection. I would like you to remember again and again, I am imperfect, the whole universe is imperfect, and to love this imperfection, to rejoice in this imperfection is my whole message.”
All quotes from http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/2856822.Osho–