I’m just beginning to understand that the masters said.
Good news! You’re already enlightened. Bad news. You still need to practice, for a long time, and most likely until you die. Ain’t this fun?
Oftentimes, Zen practice beings with a desire for enlightenment. I’ll get enlightened. Then I’ll show them! Not a very wholesome thought, but one that may occur. Or I’ll get enlightened. Then I’ll save all sentient beings. A more wholesome thought, but still a naive one.
As I said above, you’re already enlightened. I’ve heard this a dozen times over from the masters of old, and the masters that were forged yesterday. I understood this, but I still did not understand it. What I needed to do is to understand it in my bones. You should read the Types of Knowledge section in this article if you don’t know what knowing in your bones mean:
The beginning of understanding in my bones began for me when I watched Heaven Up There by Palace. Why did it cause a shift in me? I don’t know. For one thing, I was high when it happened. I also already had about 26 years of meditation under my belt. These factors may have helped. I just watched the music video, transfixed by the song and the images.
This understanding deepened when I had to deal with an ex of mine. At the time, we were partners. She told me that she did not see a future for us. She assured me that the issue wasn’t me. She couldn’t see a future with anyone. Still, at that time, I was able to listen to her without judgement.
More recently, I sat in meditation and realized that enlightenment happens whether we want it or not. Enlightenment is not one event in time. It is a continual happening from moment to moment. Moreover, there is no way to prevent it from happening. It is because we do not have our attention attuned to enlightenment that it appears falsely to come into existence.
Let me repeat this: enlightenment is not a punctual event, but a continual happening. It happened before we were born, and will continue happening long after we are dead. I’m definitely not finished examining how this enlightenment happens.
So many words, obscuring it.
I know. I sound like a madman.
Here’s the music video I mentioned above: