Eighteen older people kicked around the concept of enlightenment for a couple of hours, and I didn’t say much, which some thought a bit unusual, but it seemed better to let everyone explore to their depths before I interrupted. This is being kind on my part because what I say almost always creates a problem for someone, and I have no intention of giving anyone problems; rather I want to reveal their options by opening the doors that are preventing them from seeing what they might choose to do.
Most people present have experienced quite a lot of guided spiritual exploration; a few are ex-ministers, some are presently practicing psychologists, there are some world traveling gurus … in other words, most of these people have thought and meditated on these spiritual subjects for years, and they all can hold forth with considerable eloquence. They had a lot to say on enlightenment, and I approach most of these types of subjects with a lot of head baggage and not much faith, or hope, or money. I say money because to and from this crowd there has been a lot of money flow, both seeking and revealing answers to these esoteric questions. There is a willingness to hear many sides to the questions that arise, and some are direct contradictions to what others have said, and yet we are very friendly, and everyone leaves feeling much closer to humanity and the human condition.
Most of us are willing to leave the uncertainties of the world in a soft state of verbal blurriness, and let the mysteries remain comfortably outside the rigid strictures of religious certainty. How will you know when you have moments of enlightenment; is it just that ah-ha feeling? Aren’t we all just on our personal path, following a trail of crumbs, each of which is a little ah-ha, and thus our journey through life is a continual on-going enlightenment? Enlightenment springs constantly into our everyday consciousness. Usually it’s just seeing what was there all along to be seen, but with a different view it reveals itself and we get our ongoing ah-ha.
Do we ever know where are we going? Can we see the trail of crumbs strung out before us, or is it just one crumb after another without any coherent trail or goal? Those are each moments of enlightenment, according to some, but others assert that this doesn’t lead to wisdom and the ability to consistently choose behaviors that bring about what we want, and thus wisdom is a more useful goal than enlightenment. By that view enlightenment is a transient feeling that is dependent upon external contingencies; wisdom brings about a sustained, controllable and comfortable relationship with one’s personal reality. Enlightenment is just the shortest path to the next bread crumb, whereas wisdom is the map to future abundance.
Seeking enlightenment sets you up for failure; “Get wisdom, and with all thy getting, get understanding!”