Why even talk about this? Concepts about enlightenment are fruitless, and can never be it. Why not spend time eradicating poverty? Last night I heard a comedian end his act by saying "If we [America] used all the trillions of dollars spent on weapons to eradicate poverty - which it would do, many, many times over - we could explore space together as a unified world". Well, in spite of the massive logistical social/national problems with such a task, and the fact he left out disease, he has a point. What I and so many write about, whether they emphasize there is no utopia but this or not, there seems to be a real lack of putting value on the story of life, and making that story a more compassionate one. It's an illusion, we say; you have no choice in anything you do. Yet seeing reality clearly brings with it - or can - a certain lack of fear, a loss of ego-concerns. The apparent actions of one's life can usually change to something "better", when we are not in the way, boxing our delicately constructed ego into a tight, protected corner, or lashing out in fear-driven anger against apparent others who threaten us. This is not a philosophy of life; it is merely seeing through the illusion.
"There is ONLY seeing-knowing. The expression is NOT it – the expression is like a reflection in the mirror. The reflection is never what is reflected and there is a SEEMING distance between these APPARENT two and YET they are actually One." -Gilbert Schultz
Gilbert's pointer to pure awareness - or seeing-knowing, beingness, or whatever we call it on Fridays - can be confusing, when in one breath the writer says there is only seeing-knowing and the the appearance is not seeing-knowing, yet in the next breath says that the appearance is, indeed, oneness. It's the kind of paradox the mind hates - the mind can't stand mutually exclusive yet co-existing concepts. They are, after all, just concepts. You can pay attention to the machinations of life - the ins and outs of the expression - pay attention to the apparent causes and effects - or there can just be paying attention. Thought, it is often said in these blogs and books about enlightenment, is overvalued; too much importance is placed on it, it is said. Boundless, infinite, eternal, timeless awareness is before thought; without thought. Thoughts, and the ego-structure they create and reinforce, are the problem; or perhaps put more mildly, the difficulty.
Well, maybe so. But it seems to me we have the perfect mechanism to explore, act, ponder and emote right here, staring us in the face; it is the face. We are boundless, and not limited; yet any apparent limitations of manifested life are the perfect playground for any and all actions. So if a strong urge to eradicate poverty comes up, volunteer. If not, don't. Without embracing the ego-fears of worthlessness, the energy for action is available and the freedom can be intense. However, the danger of trying to describe any supposed benefits of enlightenment is that the ego will desperately cling onto the idea of a "better" life. Life doesn't have to be orchestrated by a small self, just seemingly executed by it; All-ness takes care of it, opening up the story in ways the ego could never have imagined. And if the small self seems indelible, the playground is still here, oneness is, and many possibilities are always ripe. If there is a point to awakening, and there isn't for the ego, it is the intrinsic value of liberation itself. But don't take my word for it, or any word. It is everything you are, seem to be, thought or no thought; this, just as exactly as it is. See it "for yourself"; just see it; it is simplicity itself; it is everything, now, here, this.