This short back and forth is from a recent conversation with my friend Boosy.
TM: Stop worrying about achieving a ‘silent’ mind. Stop it. Just be pleased that you were born and are able to enjoy this life.
Boosy: What about meditating to achieve a silent mind? Isn’t that the control that takes you to the next Buddha?
TM: It is all very easy to say, because we have heard this for thousands of years now. But we never take a moment to ask important questions:
What is meditation? What is a silent mind? Who is it that wishes to achieve this? Does control lead to freedom?
Why someone would want to be the next Buddha is beyond me. It is living a life handed down. It would be more helpful, more powerful, to be the first Boosy, and not the next someone else.
Boosy: Yes, I totally agree. And as to the control, understood. However I must ask, how can Boosy take Boosy to mental zenith of enlightenment?
TM: How can you be sure that there is anything else other than what you already have? Is it possible that enlightenment is nothing more than an idea handed to you by someone else? I am not saying this is the case, or that it is right or wrong. Let’s just look at this.
Most people would say that enlightenment is something they do not have but want. So they see themselves as separate from those that do ‘have’ it. How does this come about? There must be this comparison; “They are higher than me, someday I will get there, I should be there, I am at a lower level but someday I’ll be higher,” or whatever it is.
In order for this to occur there must be the two separate ideas: Over there is something, but here something is missing. So this search for wholeness is built on a foundation of separation.
If you see this, how do you approach the search for enlightenment? This is just something to consider while you work in the laboratory that is Boosy.
Boosy: I actually believe that you are born enlightened and that it is more about the awareness.
TM: You have pointed out something very important…that we are already there from the beginning. The problem may arise when someone else tells us about this enlightened state – or some other state we ‘need’ to achieve – then we decide to go looking for it. Much like the man searching for his glasses and they are on his head the whole time.
Although, this search might not begin as a search for enlightenment per se, there is this separation when we begin to seek because we feel we are not already enough.
Boosy: I look back to me as a 4 year old on the balcony laying looking into the stars…I feel then what i feel now. I am then who I am now. I would say that the search for enlightenment lies within you, and rather than the silencing of the mind, I’d opt for listening.
How do you approach your search? Do you consider yourself “enlightened”?
TM: To answer your question, there is no search here. Search in the sense of looking for something that is not here, looking for something to make ME complete, looking for something I feel is missing, and so on. There may be ‘technical’ searching when working within thought, but that is not the same as we are talking about here.
And as to your second question, never trust someone that tells you they are enlightened, for they have no idea of what is happening within themselves. (Note: see below for further discussion on this sentence. Also, Davidya has written more on this topic in his post The Goal of Enlightenment.)
If I say, “I am enlightened,” then I am dead. Once I say I’m in a particular state, an unchanging state, a finished state, then I’m dead man masquerading as a live one. Even the term ‘enlightenment’ is inadequate for the beauty of the human form, of human functioning.
And the word Enlightenment has been used to cause even more separation. It is more of the Haves and Have Nots; the Have Nots feel they need it, so they go to the person that has what they feel they need, while the Haves need their students, or those below them, otherwise no one will know they are enlightened!
Luckily, not everyone in the world is in such a state, and it really is not so difficult to see. But in order to really see this, you must dive deep into truth and forget about what you think the truth to be.
Anyway, there is NO STATE that can capture this. Humans are flowing, alive, and changing creatures, and problems arise when we force that creature into an unchanging state. If there is the total destruction of humanity, it may arise because of this mistake.