Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Light of Being

If we speak of "enlightenment", we are speaking of an attainment, an achievement, a milestone. The suffix "-ment" implies the existence of someone who is TO BE enlightened. The suffix "-ment" implies a state.

A "state" is something arrived at. An example is Contentment - it assumes that you are not presently content, and in the future might attain contentment. According to the seeker's belief, "enlightenment" is not presently here, the "state" of enlighten"ment" isn't here, and through various practices that "state" will be achieved.

So let's flip it around. If we take the word and drop the -ment, what do we have? Enlighten. To enlighten. To supply with light.

And what is supplied with "light"? We might say that the senses are supplied with light. We might say that Consciousness is there, sentience is there, because of this light, because of this capacity. It is often called "knowing" or "awareness", but it is the "light" BY WHICH the senses operate, the light supplying sentience.

So that sentience is a function OF enlighten"-ment". And because of this sentience, there appears a world, a body, thoughts, which are then, within this sentience or Consciousness, conceptualized as "someone", as a separate "somebody".

But the appearance of this "world" or "body-mind" is DUE TO this Consciousness or sentience, which is "supplied light" or "enlightened". We might say that the light "behind" Consciousness is the truth or reality - what that light is changed into, through this prism of Consciousness - is the appearance of the world, body and idea of individual.

Therefore the appearance can take any shape or size. It can be conceptualized as anything. The mind is the mechanism by which this pure light is divided into "thingness". There isn't anything wrong with it, except that it's taken to be the absolute reality, the absolute perspective. The individual is a creation of this conceptualization.

The Christian Bible said that God is the Truth, the Life, the Light. The Bhagavad-Gita states "Brahman appears as the attributes of all the organs, is free from all the organs, is unattached and is the sustainer of all, is free from the qualities and is the experiencer of the qualities." Nisargadatta Maharaj said "When you see the world you see God. There is no seeing God apart from the world. Beyond the world to see God is to be God. The light by which you see the world, which is God is the tiny little spark: ‘I am’, apparently so small and yet the first and the last in every act of knowing and loving." The Yoga Vashistha says "The light of self-knowledge alone illumines all experiences. It shines by it's own light. What is the light by which one 'sees' (knows), if all the lights in the world from the sun onwards become inert? Only the inner light... The inner light of consciousness shines for ever within and without..."

John Wheeler's latest book is titled "The Light Behind Consciousness". Here is an excerpt:

"The whole world appears in the light of consciousness. Consciousness itself is a time-bound, phenomenal state, an appearance on that unconditioned source which is prior to consciousness. Reality is non-conceptual awareness that does not even know that it is. Simply put, you are the one who is aware of being and of being conscious. That ‘you’ is entirely beyond the body, senses, mind, consciousness and anything else that can be perceived or conceived. It cannot be grasped or even be understood, because it is what you are."

You are not the individual. You are the light. You ARE Enlightenment - what you are illumines or "enlightens" the "Consciousness" or mind and remains while it subsides. You are the light by which darkness is known. You are the light of knowing which is the very substance of the world seen and taken to be made up of separate entities.

What is it all these "gurus", "saints", "teachers" and "seers" are saying? It's blindingly simple, and overlooked because you are the "looking". We are looking FOR our true nature, when all the while we are already looking FROM our true nature. That light of I AM-ness isn't a state to be achieved. It is the true Being-ness.

Now where will enlightenment be found?


  1. Wonderful post Randall, thank you. 'En-lighten', yes I had never seen the word in this light before; truly enriching. Enlightenment is conceived as something that happens to 'us', when indeed it is the essence of being itself, consciousness is the light that en-lightens the world.

    thanks again,
    Lune x

  2. Yes! Yes! Yes! That shift from some experience FOR the individual to recognizing that the very essence of Being is THAT. THAT BY WHICH the world, body and mind is known. THAT IN WHICH the content changes, suffering and joy arises. The essence of being itself... spot on, my friend..

    So there really isn't anywhere to go, nothing at all to GET. You already ARE that - it is only the idea of the individual which obscures. The "I" AS Lune falls away because it's obviously a misplacement of identification with the CONTENT. The true "I" is ALREADY pure Being/Knowing.


  3. Beautifully written, Randall! Great clarity! Thank you!

    One can never hear this message too many times, as it can be expressed in an infinite number of ways, and each is a gift in itself - from the one to the one. In fact, what is NOT an expression of this message...? (Directly or indirectly.)

  4. Hi Svante,

    Yes. Well said. Everything is an expression or manifestation of that light - it IS that light. Therefore placing a condition on any expression or experience is the essence of suffering - wanting one over the other. That's a precise description of mind.

    When we recognize that ALL expressions or experiences are THAT, then nothing is rejected - like the mirror which reflects without preference. We're no longer in search of some better experience, some special spiritual experience. THIS right here and now is IT. And it's always been.

    Ramana Maharshi said something like - A day will come when you laugh at how you so easily overlooked something so obvious.


  5. Hi Randall, just wanted to say what a good idea this blog is, when so many seekers/teachers/writers seem embroiled in dualistic argument and nit-picking. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!) The thought that seems to come up often is: there's room for it all. There has to be, if, indeed, it exists (or seems to) in the first place!