Enlightenment: Be who you are

Chandelier in the Sky

With the level of unconsciousness that pervades humanity, we hardly know who God is with what he told Moses, “I AM WHO AM.” Then he did not call himself God. You hear and call ‘God’ again and again but do you really know God?

If you are driving to Ajegunle and you come across a signpost that points you in the direction of Ajegunle, you understand that the signpost is not Ajegunle. In a similar manner, the name ‘God’ points us to the Being. ‘God’ then serves as a signpost. But today when ‘God’ is mentioned, many people create an image of God with their mind. The image of God is no longer the old man with a white beard. It may presently be a strict judge who is penning down all your sins. Our use of ‘God’ should not make it empty of its meaning. ‘God’ should point us to a sacred and infinite Being.

Going by the level of lack perception we have, one may not be wrong to say that the name of a person, animal, or thing, seems to serve more like a hindrance than a help in appreciating the person, animal, or thing. Look at a bird. It has been labeled ‘bird’ and so you fail to experience the beauty of its being. You fail to experience the grace of its flight, its aliveness, its being. Stop seeing a name as label and start seeing it as a signpost so that you can start experiencing being.

Now let us come to you. Whether your name is Ada, Uchenna, Agnes, or John, your name is not who you are. So do not let your name pose as a hindrance to your enlightenment. “What is enlightenment?” I can hear you ask. Here is Eckhart Tolle’s answer:

…It is simply your natural state of felt oneness with Being. It is a state of connectedness with something immeasurable and indestructible, something that, almost paradoxically, is essentially you and yet is much greater than you.1

Being is your true nature, your deepest self, and you can access it now. Being is not something you just know about, it is something you know and to know Being your mind has to be still. How can your mind be still? By being fully present in the Now. This is how you can feel being but you can never understand it. “To regain awareness of Being, and to abide in that state of “feeling-realization” is enlightenment”2

But there is an obstacle to your experiencing your being. It is your identification with your mind which can be called mind-identification. Can you let go of your mind when you want to? Can you stop thinking when you want to? If no, then your mind has taken over you. Your mind is using you, not that you are using your mind wrongly. I say that thinking is the most common and greatest addiction. In fact, I call it the mother of addictions. It is a disease, the root cause of suffering. You may have never been told that thinking is addictive. This is probably because the people you are expecting to tell you are addicted to it but do not know it. We are so unconsciously identified with the mind that we do not know it has possessed us.

But you can be free. You can start to be free by beginning to be aware of the actions of your mind. In doing this, you realize that you are not your mind. You start to disidentify from it. You disidentify from it and you are able to observe it. By observing your mind, you have already activated consciousness. This is your awakening. This is your enlightenment, “the end of suffering” as Buddha defined it.

Notes:

  1. Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, 1999, New World Library, Novato, and Namaste Publishing, Canada, p. 12.
  2. Ibid., p. 13.

Godwin Nwaokike is the author of Growing Through Life and Live The Mission.

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