I have been away from this site for two weeks, but I am still living. I have received some questions from a nice person named Hampton on the Steve Pavlina.com forums. Now that I have a regular connection to the internet, I am more than happy to go into whatever questions are placed in front of me. That is not to say that I have an answer, or that what I say is right or wrong. But it is interesting, at least for me, to think over questions or statements placed in front of me.
This might turn into Question and Question, and not Question and Answer.
I hope you do not mind if I copy and paste your message, Hampton! If you'd rather I don't/didn't, just let me know and I will remove anything you might find objectionable.
Here we go:
Hello Takuin, I have been reading your blog for some time now and find it very interesting and helpful. It's not often that there's an opportunity to communicate directly with someone who has experienced what you have. I would have emailed you, but I couldn't find a link to do that on your blog.
There is now a contact page, but I am not entirely sure if it works. If you send a message and get no response at all, send me a comment and let me know. Or send an e-mail to Takuin(at)gmail(dot)com.
I have been trying to fix some of the errors, and it is taking me longer than I thought. I am not a professional, so fixing website errors tends to take a bit of time for me. (You may have noticed some strange changes in the wordpress theme, too.)
Thanks for your kind words, and I am happy to talk to anyone on this subject. Just don't expect me to give an answer that you may agree with (if there even are any answers to be given, which I would question).
I wonder if you could help me to further understand what it like to be "enlightened". Because the way one thinks of perceives the world changes so dramatically, I am a bit scared to jump into it and be willing to have the realization you had. At the same time, I think I understand to some degree what you and folks who live without thought experience even though I haven't experienced it yet.
I have thought about this paragraph for some time. It would be very easy for me to give you an esoteric answer like, "There is no understanding in enlightenment," or "Experience and No Thought cannot exist simultaneously," or something like that.
Even though I can see for myself that those statements are true, it doesn't really help you at all. I could tell you that there is nothing to be free from, that there is no state to attain, and nothing psychological that is worth achieving, but unless you have gone into it for yourself, taking it step by step, seeing what is really in you through your own questioning, then it all has little meaning. (When I say step by step, I don't mean using some system or method other than whatever way you tend to question yourself.)
I have also been thinking of the term, no thought. (Haha...thinking of no thought!) Is it true that there is no thought inside of this organism? Is it true that Takuin has no thought? I must think to type these words, or to fix my website, or to read a book. So there is, of course, thought here. I have used the term no thought before, but it is not really true. When thought no longer interferes, it is essentially not there, but it is not gone forever. It still has its functioning, and still has its usefulness. Perhaps Quiet Mind would be a more appropriate term to use?
Thought does have its place. It functions in a mechanical sort of way, and without it we would have no technology to speak of, and no means of ensuring our survival. Perhaps we would live as sponges? I don't know, but thought is useful and I think that no one questions that.
The danger arises, however, when thought spills beyond its field of usefulness and starts inserting itself where it doesn't belong. When thought enters into the psychological realm is when the trouble begins. And by psychological I mean, thinking you have to become something other than what you are; thinking that things should be different from what is real (or thinking in shoulds at all, for that matter); the whole idea of becoming, as in, I will be a better person, I will be enlightened, I will be something in the future; seeing things or people through our beliefs and through what we have been taught, as opposed to seeing them, or reality, for what they/it is.
If you and I are talking, and I am thinking of who you are in relation to my own belief of what is right or wrong, or I am thinking of how I can help you, or if I am thinking that you have been nice to me so I will listen, or you have been mean to me so I will be cautious, then I am not there with you at all. I am just having a conversation with my thoughts of you. I cannot be compassionate or loving, and I can not truly listen or try to understand you. I am just having a fantasy on my own.
If you and I meet somewhere, I am not interested in thinking about you. I am interested in meeting with you, seeing you, exploring some subject or listening to you. If I want to think of you or see you through my beliefs (you or anyone else), why not just stay home and do that? It doesn't make any sense to me that I will meet someone just to impose my thoughts on them. There can be no connection or expresion, if that is the case.
For the purposes of discussion I am going to use the idea of becoming enlightened. I realize that one is always enlightened, however it seems that until one has the true realization that he is creating his illusions, he will continue to do so.
The language can be difficult here. I just want to be sure what we mean. The idea of becoming puts it into the future, and if it is there, it can never be here. I think we both realize this, but there are limitations in using language to describe something that is, essentially, beyond thought. We'll just have to do our best, won't we?
The realization seems to be essential. Everyone that has undergone a fundamental change usually mentions some realization they have had or experienced. But failure comes in trying to force it. I nearly drove myself mad trying to have a realization as an experience. As if it were something to be had like having sex. I wanted to possess it and have it, like so many other things I might have wanted to control. But let me tell you something: when it comes, it will happen when you least expect it, and most likely, it will be a realization you have never considered. I don't think that I would have realized anything if I desperately wanted to have it.
We have a tendency to think of what could be realizations beforehand. We hang onto them and store them, as if we are memorizing a phone number. But once a realization, or rather something we hope could be a realization, is stored into memory as something to be used, it loses its usefulness. It becomes as important as our grandmother's recipe for cooking potatoes. Actually less important than that. You can cook the potatoes, eat them, and be satisfied. But if you desperately cling to the idea of the realization, you'll always be hungry.
Questioning points in the direction of freedom, but there are no guarantees. And the questions themselves are not important. So don't store them with the idea that you can use them like a formula to achieve the result you are after. You can use a system of questions to help see what is real and what is a fantasy. But that does not necessarily mean that it will bring about the ultimate realization, whatever that might be.
Keep questioning your thoughts. An unquestioned thought is the most dangerous thing in this world.
Coming Tomorrow: Part Two