(or: Ignorance is only a major distraction)
The comments to these fallacies about enlightenment were later expanded and included in my book "Enlightenment 101" which deals with 108 fallacies in all.
Introductory remarks about Self-
The "I" is being created constantly. If seeking Self-
The fact is, nothing can be said about enlightenment except that it IS. The closest you can ever come to say what enlightenment is, is that it is IS-
There is no difference between Self-
Ignorance about the Self is not the truth, nor your real situation. It is only a major distraction.
The following misconceptions about Self-
We are all born to become enlightened.
Jan: Enlightened is not something you "become". The truth is rather something like this: We are all born enlightened and we have never been anything else and simply can not be anything else. But it is truer to say: We were never born. But let's stay with the first "truth". Enlightenment is not something we develop or grow. Enlightenment could be said to be: Self, aware in and of itself in a non-
2. Fallacy :
Enlightenment is a brief awakening of the mind when all prejudices and discriminations are momentarily set aside, and the world around you becomes a source of wonder.
Jan: Nope. Enlightenment is none of this. Enlightenment is not "a brief" awakening, nor is it an "awakening". First of all, enlightenment is to realize ones nature as prior to anything temporary, hence it can not in any sense be "brief". Enlightenment is never "brief", either it is there or it is not. You can have "brief awakenings" of many kinds, but be assured they never have anything to do with enlightenment. Second, "enlightenment" is not an awakening of "the mind". Mind is relative (ever changing) and enlightenment is realizing your true nature as non-
Recognize that enlightenment is a purely subjective experience, nobody can tell you how to become enlightened as it is your own inner journey.
Jan: Nope. Enlightenment is prior to the subject and it certainly is not an "experience" and least of all a "journey" . Enlightenment is realization of ones true nature as unmanifest and therefore in no sense a journey. The statement "nobody can tell you how to become enlightened" is a common misconception. One who is enlightened and has fully awakened Shakti, can transfer spirituality to others as easily as handing them an orange. If this fails, the problem is never that the enlightened one can't do it, the problem always is, that the receiver either can't receive or can't hold what is being given. Most people are so identified that handing them real spirituality is like trying to kill a fire in the kitchen by pouring water on the roof.
Learn to recognize the little moments when you do become enlightened as they are moments you suddenly grow as a person and your brain suddenly plugs you into another part of the universe.
Jan: No. There are no "little moments" when a "you" becomes enlightened. And enlightenment is not something you "grow" into and certainly enlightenment has nothing to do with "a person" or a "brain" becoming "plugged into another part of the universe". My above comments should suffice as comments to this also. But please, please, please grasp the fact that anything you can in any way consider to be "you as a person " and anything you can in any way consider to be "a momentary experience" and anything you can in any way consider to be "growing" has nothing to do with enlightenment at all. Enlightenment is freedom, plain and simple. "Personal growth" is bondage within the growing ego/mind.
Don’t go chasing enlightenment as it comes to you when you least expect it. It could be something as simple as seeing your baby walk for the first time, feeling compassion for someone, reading a book, kissing your spouse. Don’t chase it but learn to recognize it.
Jan: This stuff about "learning to recognize it in experiences" is nonsense. First of all, enlightenment is not an experience within duality, or dependent upon experiences. Secondly, enlightenment is certainly not something acquired through learning. And enlightenment has nothing to do with any kind of experience, or event, no matter how sublime or delightful. Also, enlightenment does certainly not "come to you when you least expect it and less so if you chase it". If that was the case, then everybody in the world, except the yogis, would be enlightened. Yogis chase enlightenment with all their heart and all their mind and all their will.
Our only obstacle keeping us from fully awakening is our mind -
Jan: Nope. If you manage to stop your mind, you have accomplished nothing but stopping the mind. Enlightenment does not care if the mind is active, passive or stopped, because enlightenment has nothing to do with the mind. So the mind is certainly not "our only obstacle keeping us from fully awakening". The mind is no obstacle at all, the real obstacle is that you identify with the mind. If you identify with your mind, and you succeed in stopping the mind, you will still be identified with a stopped mind -
Ultimately, there is only one problem: the time-
Jan: This is from Eckhart Tolle. Fortunately he makes far more sense elsewhere, so I am surprised he says the *ultimate* problem is the mind. No, the *ultimate* problem is identification. The mind is just the body taking care of itself, it is not a problem.
The very entry point into the ego-
Jan: This is also from Tolle. What is wrong is the notion that the "power of now" will make you enlightened either as an entry point or as a total presence. What is also wrong is the notion that there is a mysterious relationship between time, presence and enlightenment. The statement says that the ego can only be transcended by accessing the present moment. Well, that is wrong. You can be in the present moment from now on and for ever and still not get enlightened. The reason for this is that the ego only exists in the present moment and thus Tolle is basically off track. There is no ego in the past and no ego in the future. The ego is entirely in the present moment for the simple reason that the ego solely and utterly depends on identification with what is currently going on in the complex of mind/psyche/emotions/etc..
All of your answers are within you, as you, RIGHT HERE (in the eternal now).
Jan: Enlightenment is not a matter of answers, so it doesn't matter at all where any answers are -
You do not 'need' any masters, enlightened beings, special people or places or books or methods.
Jan: True, enlightenment does not need any support or confirmation. It is true that since enlightenment simply IS, and also since what is realized in enlightenment is your Self, then it does not "need" any aids. But hanging out with an enlightened being who has mastered Shakti and is in lovebliss, will inevitably lead to the enlightened being transmitting Self-
To get enlightened, you only need SELF-
Jan: This is a continuation of the previous statement. Trust in yourself will never (in itself) lead anyone to enlightenment. Because enlightenment is not of the self in which trust can be placed. Enlightenment is not dependent on awareness of anything, whether it is in the present, the past or the future. It is of course nicer to have your awareness in the present moment, but it is certainly not a gateway to enlightenment in the least. It will reduce identification with the pain body, but that in itself is also not a gateway to enlightenment; it is more in the category of therapy. You can have a terribly hurting pain-
Once you’ve realized you’re dreaming, you can’t follow the dream the same way as before. Now you know it for what it is, and you know that you can now wake yourself up. That’s the Awakened Mind, that’s Enlightenment. [...] So, when you ponder your life and who you are, ask yourself if all this is real, or are you not in fact dreaming?
Jan: This is Buddhist teaching. However, the statement confuses "awakened mind" with "enlightenment" (enlightenment has nothing to do with the mind, no matter how awakened it is). It is quite true that "once you've realized you are dreaming, you can't follow the dream the same way as before". But what's the point of this teaching if you are still following the dream? With respect to getting enlightened, it makes no difference if you follow the dream one way or the other. The author of this statement has not understood that you are not out of dreaming until you are Selfrealized, and the author has merely replaced a mediocre dream with a grandiose dream and commits the fallacy of assuming that because the grandiose dream gives him a greater kick it is more real. Now, replacing one dream with another in a radical way could be conducive to a mind-
The Awakened Mind is something more concrete than Enlightenment (which is pretty abstract), but the result is the same.
Jan: This is a continuation of the previous statement. It shows that the author has no idea what enlightenment is at all (he calls it "pretty abstract"). He then commits the fallacy of identifying his abstract speculations about enlightenment with the concrete results he has experienced of working with the mind ("the results are the same"). And he implies that since the results of working with the mind are more concrete than enlightenment, awakening the mind is better than getting enlightened. Well, this is all wrong. First the author commits the fallacy of transferring the concept "enlightenment" from the sphere of abstract speculation to the sphere of known fact, and in the process of this transference he transfers the quality of his own inferior understanding, "abstract", to suddenly be a quality of enlightenment. What the author of this statement should have done instead was to admit, that he has no idea what he is talking about. If you are enlightened, enlightenment is not an abstraction at all. Rather it is so, that from the enlightened perspective, the mind (awakened or unawakened) is something that is not concrete. I wouldn't call it an abstraction, but certainly not concrete. The authors introduction of concreteness as a measure of value and validity is totally beside the point.
Enlightenment/Salvation comes through forgiveness of illusion: Constant Peace, Happiness, Joy & Freedom!
Jan: This is the kind of nonsense you find in A Course of Miracles. It is based on duality. It presupposes that there is a subject who forgives an illusion and also that there is a subject that is somehow rewarded with "constant peace, happiness, joy and freedom" because it has mastered the act of forgiving. Let's analyze it: This teaching maintains there are five things: 1. a subject who gets enlightened by doing something, 2. a means of enlightenment which is forgiveness, 3. A state one is rewarded with. 4. Enlightenment is synonymous with salvation. 5. Enlightenment is identified with "constant peace, happiness, joy & freedom". Well, enlightenment has nothing to do with salvation, because salvation requires a lost subject to be saved, and in enlightenment there is no longer such a subject. In fact, you could better say that enlightenment is freedom from the illusion of salvation. Identifying freedom with peace, happiness and joy is problematic. There is no freedom in emotions, no matter how nice they are, in fact, as long as there is identification with the subject who experiences peace, happiness and joy, there can not be freedom. On the other hand, the subject can be going through sorrow and unhappiness, yet if there is no identification there will be total freedom.
You can wake yourself up.
Jan: That depends on what you understand with "you" and "yourself". But basically the statement is wrong since it presumes a "you" that is in one state and which can enter an other (awakened) state. Anything that can change like that is not within enlightenment.
How “enlightened” someone would actually be, in a context of evolutionary enlightenment, would be determined, I suppose, by whatever degree beyond 51% the individual had actually become the authentic self, as an awakened and evolving human being.
Jan: This is from Andrew Cohen. It states there is the "individual", who is "an evolving human being", so we can safely assume that this evolving individual is understood by Cohen to be the real person. And as this individual evolves it does so towards becoming more "authentic". And furthermore it is stated that if the individual is more authentic than inauthentic (has crossed the 50% border), then the individual is enlightened. The 51%-
Our own intense emotions -
Jan: This, and the following statements, are from Sally Kempton. No. Intense emotions are within the soul. They are within the realm of change. Emotions and what they can accomplish are in no way related to enlightenment. It is true that if you go completely into an experience of noise you will find silence, and if you go into a complete experience of agitation you will find peace. But this silence and peace has nothing to do with enlightenment, it is merely silence and peace.
It's the radical truth behind the Spanda Karikas verse: If we choose to practice with such strong energies, they can lead us into the very source of our own power. Entering a strong feeling is like splitting an atom, except that when you practice going to the heart of an intense feeling, the power you will find inside it is essentially the very creative force of the universe.
Jan: No. Spanda Karikas is a text from the Kashmir Shaivism tradition that wanted to correct the fallacy of Vedanta that the only entry point to enlightenment was pure being and transcendence. Spanda Karikas is about realizing the unity between Shakti (poorly translated as energy) and Shiva (Pure Being) from the point of view of Shakti as a an entry point to enlightenment. Spanda is a term for the enlightened cognition that Shakti and Shiva are one and that this unity can be perceived in and as everything as a kind of dynamic prescence (Spanda). The author of this statement has committed the common fallacy of understanding Spanda Karikas to mean that any form of energy can be an entry point to enlightenment, since "all energy is Shakti and Shakti and Shiva are one " (or something along that line) . The first misconception of this author is that she thinks Shakti means energy and she therefore assumes that the more energy something has, the more Shakti it has or is. Well, this is wrong. It is true that dynamic forces are manifestations of Shakti, but so are static objects. And there is no difference between a static object and a dynamic force as far as Spanda goes -
But there's a big difference between using strong energy to get high or to feel more alive, and consciously using energy as a way to move deeper into our own essence. That movement, of course, is what the inner life is all about.
Jan: This depends on what is meant by "essence" and "inner life". Unfortunately statements of this sort rarely say. The first fallacy is that enlightenment is "inner life ". Well, it is not: enlightenment is beyond inner and outer, or it is both inner and outer, as you please. The statement equates "moving deeper into our own essence" with "what the inner life is all about". But as long as there is an "I" and an "essence", there is duality. You can take any "I" and move it deeper and deeper into "essence" from now on till the sun burns out and you will still not get enlightened. Also getting Selfrealized is not a question of "moving", neither in a concrete or metaphorical sense. The next point of the statement is "consciously using energy ". What does the author of the statement mean by this? Well, we have no idea. But Self is not within the realm of consciousness and its motions, and as long as someone is using something, the very "using" will prevent Self-
True meditation takes you into a relationship with your own heart.
Jan: No. True meditation mirrors Self-
Meditation is not just a practice. Meditation is a natural state. It's an actual channel in our consciousness, a bandwidth of tranquility, energy and joy that reveals itself when we learn to pay attention. Once you discover how to tune yourself to the meditation bandwidth, it will empower your life from within.
Liberation (mukti, enlightenment) is the complete liberation of the senses from the control of the mind. The purpose of life is to live the life of the senses. The senses must be free and independent of the mind.
Jan: This is from Bhagavan (the diksha guru of Oneness Movement). Nevertheless it is total nonsense. Neither the mind nor the senses have anything to do with enlightenment and whether they are connected or not is irrelevant.
You will feel that you are connected with everybody. So you discover true love. True love and true joy are not separated, they are one and the same. You feel connected with everything and everybody. You do not live for yourself any more.
Jan: This is also from Bhagavan, the diksha guru. Within the realm of duality (relationships) this is all very, very nice. However, it has nothing to do with enlightenment and Self-
Enlightenment is the opening of one's eyes to what is. In order to attain Enlightenment, the exact way to Enlightenment must be known. First, the activities of the karma which try to conquer the self must be stopped. Second, one must be able to see what is. Third, there must be conscience and courage. Fourth, the karma in oneself must be extinguished through endless love.
Jan: This is from Tathagata. On the one hand it is stated that enlightenment is characterized by the ability to "see what is" and on the other hand the path to enlightenment incorporates to "see what is". If this ability is the quintessence of enlightenment, it can not also be a prerequisite to enlightenment. It is stated that the first step to enlightenment is: "the activities of the karma which tries to conquer the self must be stopped". This stopping, unfortunately, is not possible. An enlightened person's life is just as much within the sphere of karma as anybody elses, but the Selfrealized one is free of the binding influence of karma since there is no identification. Also it is wrong to say karma "tries to conquer the self", as if karma has ill intentions and a bad will ("tries"). The truth about karma is that it is completely neutral and that it does not try anything, since karma has no consciousness. Also karma never "conquers" the self. The small self upholds ignorance partly by identifying with the minds reactions to the effects of karma. It is not karma that upholds ignorance by conquering the self. The fourth step to enlightenment is stated to be "the karma in oneself must be extinguished through endless love". Well, love is itself within the sphere of karma so it can not be a means of extinguishing karma. Endless love will generate good and nice karma and neutralize bad and unpleasant karma, but it is still within karma. Finally, you do not have to extinguish "the karma in oneself" to get enlightened for the simple reasons that there is no karma in the Self and that karma is not the basic problem of ignorance. Karma is a bothersome circumstance of life at large, but it is not the root, or cause, of ignorance. It is true that in enlightenment you are in a Selfcognition prior to karma, and thus can be said to be free of karma, but it is a misunderstanding to conclude from this, that one has to free oneself of karma to get Selfrealized.
If you are aware of your "I AM-
Jan: This is from Ken Wilber. He commits the common fallacy of identifying "I AM-
When practicing, the moment you recognize you are distracted, the moment you realize who is distracted, " I am distracted", you are instantly and automatically reinstalled in "I AM-
Jan: This is also Ken Wilber. It is from a lecture where he teaches how to do a practice for enlightenment. Unfortunately this practice only anchors the practitioner in the primal bondage and the root of suffering. It will not lead to Self-
Enlightenment is the recognition that your nature is nothing other than all things. As all things evolve, so does enlightenment. The enlightenment Buddha got is not the same as the enlightenment we get today. Enlightenment itself is changeable, it evolves.
Jan: This is from Diane Musho Hamilton and reflects Ken Wilber and Andrew Cohen. It is nonsense. Enlightenment is not a recognition that ones nature is all things, rather it is a recognition that ones nature is no-
Even great masters, who seem very enlightened, even they go through falling asleep, waking up, falling asleep, waking up. The difference is that they can hide it better, because they don't act out when they have fallen back to sleep, when they feel like the petty small human again. What happens with the great master, however, is that they remember more quickly again who they are.
Jan: This is from Christine Breese. It is not true about Self-
There is nothing one must do except be awake in the moment, and everything else takes care of itself. The first challenge is to become lucid, rather than operating on automatic pilot through life. The next challenge is to maintain that lucidity without falling back to sleep into the human condition. Stopping the mind is the first step. This is where it begins. It only deepens from there.
Jan: This is also from Christine Breese. This practice can lead to temporary realizations of the I AM-
The common basic definition of enlightenment is that the enlightened one lives in total and constant contact with the divine, that this persons ego is permanently dissolved in divine ecstasy, and that the person in all acts and words is a pure channel for the divine energy.
Jan: This a common misconception. It maintains that enlightenment is a relationship in the nature of "contact". And it maintains that this relationship is defined by three things: 1. It is with the divine, 2. it is developed to a very intimate degree, 3. it is of the nature of ecstasy. As a consequence of this, it is maintained, the enlightened persons ego is "dissolved in ecstasy", and also the enlightened person is a "pure channel" for the divine. However, this is a misconception. Basic enlightenment is in no way defined by a relationship, in fact enlightenment can be characterized negatively as the absence of the relator (in other words, there is no longer anyone who relates). After enlightenment, there are of course all sorts of relationships going on in life, both internally and externally, but there is no longer anybody relating. It is a basic characteristic of ignorance that one identifies with an imagined part in life's relationships. Ignorance circles around this error: If there is a relationship, then "I" must be relating, therefore, "I AM". And so the confusion of Self with non-
Enlightenment is the conquest of death through turning the body into light. This type of enlightenment is perfect mastery over matter. It is the ultimate enlightenment.
Jan: This is what the Tamil Siddhas teach. However, it has nothing to do with enlightenment. It does not matter if your body is matter or light. If there is identification with it, there is not enlightenment. Enlightenment is prior to I-
Enlightenment is one of the attainments people seek on their spiritual quest. It is the highest level of light that most people experience within themselves. That is the state of enlightenment. But enlightenment is defined by each generation. Each generation defines new heights available within enlightenment.
Jan: This is from channeler Lee Harris. It is wrong from beginning to end. Enlightenment has nothing to do with levels, nor with light. Anything that can be divided into levels is within the relative. Enlightenment is oneness with unmanifest pure being prior to I-
You can't become free if you do not know what you need to be free from in the first place. Know thyself. The way to freedom is living it rather than running away from it ...How can you know pain without feeling it?
Jan: This concept of freedom is not the freedom of Self-
The "heart" is the abode of the Self, not the physical heart but the spiritual heart "2 digits to the right of centre". When we enquire "who am I?", we will find the answer there. If we watch the place where bliss arises we feel for ourselves that it is the very same place.The Maharshi (Ramana) said that the enquiry, "who am I?", also takes the form of "whence am I?", ie. where is the source of me.
Jan: The Self does not have any abode at all, since the Self is prior to anything manifest. Once the Self is realized, it is not in any physical location. If we are talking about physical reactions or sensations connected with realizing the Self, it is more correct to say the Self permeates the entire body and a large area around the body, because once one is in the Self, that is the space that becomes permeated with bliss and presence. So the question "where am I" is really strange since it has no answer. One should also be aware that the question "who am I" does not have an answer, since there is no "who" ("me") in Self, and the "I" one is enquiring about, is also not present in Self and indeed, because the Self is unmanifest. This means that the recommended self-
If one looks at the thousands of spiritual practices that have been taught to humans in the past, the Awareness Watching Awareness Method is the most rapid and direct means to bringing sorrow, suffering and the ego to its final end here and now in this lifetime. The Awareness Watching Awareness Method is the most rapid and direct means to living in infinite-
Jan: This is from Michael Langford's book. It is a big statement. From the amount of time Michael has spent every day on his method, it is obvious that he can not have had much time left to practice other methods, in fact he makes a virtue out of not practicing other methods, so his statement is purely speculative. His method is that of Ramana Maharshi and it is a fine method, but it is not the fastest to what I call love-
Awareness watching awareness is part of any practice that leads to Self-
The most rapid means is when the Self actively takes part in dissolving identification and delusions about Self. This is the most rapid and direct means because it is not “a means” and not “a practice”, thus it does not begin in ignorance and try to make ignorance unignorant through practice (such as other practices do, including Michaels). It is the Self burning and collapsing the manifestations of Self that cause confusion of non-
What do you do when you are on this path where the Self is actively and spontaneously removing the distractions that keep awareness from merging into Self? You surrender to grace and the Self (they are One and this oneness is soon realized on this path). Part of opening to this surrender is doing a small amount of awareness watching awareness when beginning a meditation, but once this practice has given a basic freedom from present entanglements, one surrenders to the grace burning within and merges with it in oneness with massive energy and bliss-
Since this is not a practice but a process of surrendering to (and merging with) what is continuously burning away ignorance from within (this “what” is the Self). The proper question now is: what do you do to get on this path? The answer is, that this path is grace and grace it not something you can create or do yourself, it is given to you either by divine intervention (I received it spontaneously from the Blue Being when I was still a teenager) or by the loving kindness of someone who is capable of awakening it in you (I do this with my close friends). This awakening involves Shaktipat, but also involves creating a connection between unmanifest Pure Being and the Self as manifest identity and I-
However, there are means to invite the Grace of Self and kundalini to awaken and put you on this path. I have described them on the page about meditation. Do not underestimate these practices, though they may seem simple. There are other more potent ones, and if you practice the ones on the meditation page daily for a while, let me know how things are going and I might instruct you in these other methods.