Have I Achieved Enlightenment Yet?

Before enlightenment – chop wood, carry water.
After enlightenment – chop wood, carry water.
~Zen Proverb

Having troubles? See troubles in others? Can’t seem to make ends meet? Unhappy sometimes?

You may be enlightened.

Resolved every trouble you’ve encountered? Helped others overcome their troubles? Feeling happy most of the time?

You may be enlightened.

In other words, might enlightened be invisible to an observer?

I Wonder

I wonder about the motives and definitions of folks who claim they’re enlightened.

How can I tell when I achieve enlightenment – in the sense described by Descarte, Kant, and Tibetan Buddhism? One man’s “enlightenment” may be another man’s “denial” and yet another’s “bullsh*t!” Who is correct?

Am I in denial, thinking I’m enlightened because my life seems to be going smoothly right now? Seems to me that’s a bit like saying climate change is a myth because today is a nice day or that the lake can’t be very deep because it’s only knee-deep here or that a person must be nice because they’re pretty.

Who knows my heart and mind? I’d like to think I do… and better than anyone else. Yet, I’ve experienced enough self-surprises to appreciate how little I consciously know about myself!

Once I’ve “achieved” enlightenment (whatever that means!), what then? Would I have the “key” that opens the door to the “answers” to life’s biggest questions? Be in possession of the ultimate “insider” information? Would I then “know” and understand the answer to the ultimate mystery (whatever that is)?

The answer to the question may be itself a question… perhaps without an answer… only more questions… perhaps I’ll still be carrying water and chopping wood… and asking…

“Have I achieved enlightenment yet?”

Presupposing May Be the Key

Just asking the question, “Have I achieved enlightenment yet?” presupposes that it is achievable and that I can achieve it. JUST that underlying presupposition may be enough to “turn and keep the lights on.”

As I’m already presupposing enlightenment, I wonder what might happen were I to ACT as though I HAVE achieved enlightenment (as I currently understand it).

Perhaps the key is to BELIEVE that everyone and everything I experience on every level IS ENLIGHTENED! What might happen to my belief as I interpret my perception of every person as experiencing their enlightened state of consciousness right now – just as I’m perceiving it? Could I be experiencing that in every animal, every plant, every rock, every planet, every THING – right now?! I’m asking the question, so I MUST believe in the concept at a level that prompts the question. Maybe all I lack is attention – noticing!

No surprise – what I perceive is what I believe. So, I must be perceiving enlightenment in everything because I believe in it. Have I noticed it yet?

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” (Gandhi)

I think I’ll change the question from, “Have I achieved enlightenment yet?” to..

“Have I NOTICED our enlightenment yet?”

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