Honestly it is probably not the right time for me to write about the topic of Enlightenment. But sometimes there are wrong times that call to us, wanting to be held by us and acted upon, though we are not ready. So I will speak.
People in my spiritual groups are quite comfortable hearing someone expound their opinions about Enlightenment. Often they think of it as the end of spiritual realization, the goal of their many hours of meditation and other forms of practice. They are invested in the topic and expect certain sorts of replies. I won’t speak to them as my primary audience.
I want to speak to people for whom Enlightenment is an exotic topic, one they don’t think about. They are probably religious and wonder how Enlightenment and God are related. Some of them might be secular agnostics wondering if there is any proof that Enlightenment is possible or scientific methods for reaching it. I’ll speak to them moreso.
I want to speak to everyone who will hear me out. What I want to say is that a big taste of Enlightenment is readily available to everyone at almost every age, almost every culture, and every language. It’s there for the taking, right here and now. It’s not complicated. It’s not incompatible with belief in God or belief in science. It is right there, if you just reach out and take it.
I said a big taste, not the whole enchilada. If you want the whole enchilada, if you want to dwell in the bliss and inner divinity and contemplative serenity of the more or less permanently enlightened, then you will have to work for it. It’s like anything else. If you want it badly enough and you work for it hard enough, you will find it in abundance. It will take over every area of your life, not just your sitting cushion or yoga mat, but your business life, your sex life, your friendships, your amusements, your politics, everything.
So if you want it, you can become more enlightened than you are. You can start with a taste.
You have heard Eckhart Tolle say that all you really need to do is be in the present moment, the eternal Now. That is a good way to get a taste, a terrific way. It is simple. It is uncomplicated by philosophy or theories or religion. It just is, and it’s a beautiful teaching.
But a lot of people don’t really understand why they’re not already in the Now, or what holds them back from being present. They have even heard it said that thinking is taking them out of the Now, putting them “stuck in their heads”, and they don’t want to give up thinking. They have also heard it said that language is an obstacle and they must leave behind all words — indeed, all symbols — and enter non-symbolic consciousness, in order to taste enlightenment, to shed subtle barriers to the causal floor of existence.
I was one of those people, and I still am. I’m a skeptic of some of the conventional beliefs about enlightenment, even though the expounders of these dogmas have admirable credentials and are widely acclaimed for their wisdom. I think they’re mistaken about the role of language when they speak against it. They think language and symbol and thought is a prelude at best, and often an obstacle to an empty, boundless, unfettered consciousness. I think instead that language is a door, an opening to emptiness, and it reveals subtle shades of emptiness that are missed without using it. I think that symbol interpenetrates all emptiness and is not an obstacle. It is all part of the majesty of enlightened mind.
Finally, there is a dimension of Enlightenment that is ONLY entered upon through symbolic and non-symbolic consciousness intertwined fully and inseparably. It is a place I call The Whirl. Note that I said Whirl, not Wheel — the term in the Abrahamic angelology for the Thrones, the living beings who represent God’s justice and authority. The Ophanim are wheels-within-wheels with rims covered with hundreds of eyes. Pretty peculiar for angels, huh? The Whirl includes The Wheels, at least our experience of them. The Whirl also includes The Spiral, the overarching spiritual symbol of the Evolutionary and Integral spiritual movements. These new traditions take the image of the DNA spiral or a spiraling galaxy as the central image for the spiritual journey, its emergence, ascent, and oscillating nature. The Whirl includes the direct experience of The Spiral itself.
The Whirl is part of the fullness of Enlightenment from the perspective of Tai Hsuan Integral. It must be transacted to complete the voyage from the gut wrenching, dramatic, and humanizing Station of The Violet Heart to the contemplative but potentially ruinous Station of realization called The Silver Stars. There’s only one way to enter these two Stations: by way of The Blue Castle. In our map of the Stations of Life, The Blue Castle is the entryway to the latest and most complex dimensions of the human spirit. At The Blue Castle, you may find yourself at The Now. It is the Yin Master in the Integrated Collective Quadrants at the Station of Negativity. Navigate the transition between the Yang Master of Nastiness/Natural Beauty with the Yin Master of Now in order to get to the Yung of Knowledge. The Now is the Key to Knowledge; The Whirl Unravels It To Show You The Vox of God.