Intellectual Enlightenment vs. Real Enlightenment
by Harry Palmer
Intellectual enlightenment is the culmination of a semi-competitive discussion consisting of "imagine this..." The imagined experiences become more and more subtle and may even emanate a low power spiritual profoundness. (Whew! That concept blows my mind.)
The last "imagine this..."—the checkmate of intellectual enlightenment—is, an undefinable void of transparent awareness that creates and discreates time and space and everything else including itself from itself. Far out, man!
What now? What happens when you have reached the top of the mountain without exhausting any of your desire to climb? More intellectual discussions? Who wants to notice objects* after they have just imagined post-graduate enlightenment?
Intellectual enlightenment, interesting as it is, has a missing key ingredient.
Vicarious spirituality is a slippery slope. You wanted to find out, and now you know. The true self beyond space and time has been imagined as unmeasured, undissectable and understood as undefinable. Undefinable—an inadequate and unsatisfying definition. Even when you win the game, it ends in depression. Nothing in your life has changed, not even an attitude. The ultimate "imagine this..." has paraded through your life and what now?
Intellectually, of course, you know the futility of intellectual enlightenment, but you still play.
You are encouraged to play by the stereotypical image of the serene meditator. Seated in perfect posture. Unwrinkled robe. Motionless. A still life picture of enlightenment. Quiet, motionless, with an expression of appropriate reverence. Shaved head. This is performance enlightenment. It is intellectual enlightenment carried over from the media of discussion and printed word into the media of theater.
There is also diagrammed enlightenment for the media of science and icon enlightenment for the artist. All forms of symbolized enlightenment are interesting. And that's really all they are. Interesting. Enlightenment is mistaken for something interesting. The problem is that something interesting soon becomes something boring, and enlightenment begins to look a lot like depression.
Intellectual enlightenment, interesting as it is, has a missing key ingredient. Real time experience. The intellect does not like things that are sweaty and agonizing. Gross. It does not like a million years of resisted incidents thrown in its face. It does not like an out-of-control rush through a maelstrom of terrifying images and painful emotions that no instruction or description could ever prepare it for. It has no stomach for the grinding, crushing horror of the complete humiliation generated in a moment of awe. It loathes weeping confessions and disdains fits of trembling supplication. And it altogether abhors death, particularly the struggling, pleading-for-mercy death of itself on the threshold of spiritual awareness. The threshold!
So if you're seeking real enlightenment, forget the illumined stares, turn away from the book of secret doctrines, ignore all the ritual pageantry and costumes. Find an Avatar Master, preferably one that is offensive to your intellect, who will make you do exercises when you'd rather be discussing the meaning of life, one who will, ruthlessly if necessary, initiate you into real participation in your own life.
Oh, and wear old clothes, because rolling on the floor in laughter can get messy.
*A beginning exercise in ReSurfacing®: Section I of the Avatar materials.
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