This is a great article on how you can determine whether or not you’re an enlightened being. Hint: If you have to ask, you’re probably not.
From my perspective, enlightenment isn’t something that suddenly happens; it’s an awareness that unfolds. Slowly. Sometimes painfully so. I’m looking forward to the day I don’t have to even entertain the question of whether or not I’ve become enlightened; I’ll just know.
Until then, I’ll continue to do the inner work and increase my awareness bit by bit. Every day. For as long as it takes.
How I know for sure I am not yet enlightened
The longer we work on freeing ourselves from the erroneous belief that we are separate from all we see, the trickster nature of the ego becomes more subtle. In the yogic tradition the delicate but shrewd play of three primordial energies, or Prakriti, form what are called the three gunas. I know for sure I am not yet enlightened because, of the three, one is always predominant: tamas (darkness or inertia), rajas (activity or change), or sattva (beingness or joy).
One might mistakenly assume that if my mind were in a state of sattva or ‘joy’ all the time, that then would be enlightenment, but that’s the sticky, tricky thing about the play of maya. Our consciousness is not the perceptions we have of the world, but a ‘backdrop’ of infinite possibility before anything ever manifests as experience, or thought – as things, people, or circumstances we experience.
Most of us, anyhow, can only maintain a state of sattva for a brief period of time, then our highly unstable, monkey mind will go back to being busy, and agitated, or lethargic as if we’re inebriated.
If I step in a pile of dog poo in the grass outside and call it ‘bad’ or I smell a beautiful magnolia blossom and call it ‘good,’ these are exactly the same type of experience as far as obtaining the Ultimate Wisdom. They are both just illusions of the mind. Mind is not Consciousness. It is, in fact, notorious for distorting it.
“When one rises above the three gunas that originate in the body; one is freed from birth, old age, disease, and death; and attains enlightenment” (Bhagavad Gita 14.20).
The trickster (ego) is an alchemist that creates our experience of duality in time and space. . . and even our ‘good’ experience is fodder for the awakening mind. On other occasions, the mind becomes lazy, and doesn’t seem to ‘care’ but it is not actively engaged with the world, nor the creation of a better one, while being fully present.
In Swami Satyananda Saraswati’s book, Four Chapters on Freedom, he states that ignorance leads to egoism such that, “people falsely identify with their min-body; this produces a strong sense of individuality. We then try to impose our selfish will on others for out own selfish gain.” This leads us to the cycle of aversion and attachment, likes or dislikes, which keep us caught in a causal chain of unhappiness.
This does not mean that we lose discernment, and that we should not call attention to the wrongs we see in the world. This would be equal folly on our path to a higher mind; however, we do not lose our equilibrium when something ‘good’ or ‘bad’ happens. We simply observe it, without reacting, and make a choice based on Truth, not an altered perspective of Truth.
The Mandukya Upanishad outlines this very specifically. It states that there are three dimensions of consciousness – of the atman before it merges with the paramatman, or essence of all that is eternal and Absolute.
Zen Buddhism explains the same mistakes of the awakening mind. When we are caught in dualism, we assume that seeming real divisions, or actual separations in reality; or the existence of independent dharmas (things, people, entities, instances, events, etc.) define reality. They do not. These things are only representations of the Absolute, which only a clear mind can apprehend. Or really, ‘No Mind’, or ‘Original Mind’ as the sages have called it.
As Swami Satyananda Saraswati explains, the self, or soul, is bound to make all kinds of mistakes when it is not abiding in its True Nature. We simply super-impose our mind-chatter or chitta on the Universe as it truly exists. We start to identify so completely with the actors in the movie we are watching, even taking on their emotional states, all the while forgetting that the images we see are only projections on a screen.
Swami Krishnananda states:
“Chant Om, and entertain this feeling in your mind for even five minutes continuously, and record your experience in your diary, and tell me whether it has made any difference to you or not. Definitely, it will make a difference, and if God blesses you with the time and patience necessary to do this practice for even half an hour daily, you should regard yourself as a thrice-blessed seeker.The world enters you; and where is the world, then, to agitate you! Samsāra is a network of agitations, and all these are like currents of rivers rushing into your universal being. You have swallowed them up in the bosom of universality; and the roar of the river ceases when it enters the calmness of the ocean. The vexations of the world cease when they enter the solemn existence of your universality.”
When the mind is constantly aware that mind-stuff is altering its perceptions, ironically, it can abide in joy, because it never forgets that what it is watching is NOT the essence of consciousness. This is nirvana, and it is the birthright of us all. I’m not constantly aware of the projections, but I’m working on it. Are you?
About the Author
Christina Sarich is a staff writer for Waking Times. She is a writer, musician, yogi, and humanitarian with an expansive repertoire. Her thousands of articles can be found all over the Internet, and her insights also appear in magazines as diverse as Weston A. Price, Nexus, Atlantis Rising, and the Cuyamungue Institute, among others. She was recently a featured author in the Journal, “Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and Healing Arts,” and her commentary on healing, ascension, and human potential inform a large body of the alternative news lexicon. She has been invited to appear on numerous radio shows, including Health Conspiracy Radio, Dr. Gregory Smith’s Show, and dozens more. The second edition of her book, Pharma Sutra, will be released soon.