Emerald Heart School Principal Tim Dyson, shares with the Blog his ideas concerning enlightenment, the perception around belief and how it impacts on the spiritual aspirant.
Spiritual Enlightenment or Limiting Beliefs?
I have been contemplating the nature of Enlightenment recently and my own limiting beliefs in this regard and so I offer my musings in the hope that they will be of some benefit to you.
There are certain things that we tend to take as a given without necessarily giving them much thought or questioning them very deeply. One of these is that as people who are on conscious spiritual paths we are seeking the same thing- spiritual enlightenment of a full and permanent nature.
If asked, we might well all give this answer although we might phrase it slightly differently but as all of the names for fully awakened consciousness amount to the same thing, that is not important but what is of vital importance is, is it true?
Our Limiting Beliefs
If you look inside yourselves honestly and you find as I did, that you have a whole number of very limiting ideas and beliefs around Spiritual Enlightenment then the first thing to do is to honestly acknowledge them. Pushing them to one side and trying to pretend that they don’t exist will lead you nowhere, beating yourself up over them will also lead you nowhere helpful. By acknowledging them and beginning to let them go as you start to see and feel how much they have been holding you back- you will start to see through them and no longer allow them to limit you so.
What we will probably find is that we don’t really believe it is possible to attain enlightenment in any form, certainly not for us and not in this lifetime. Many of us have probably had a number of awakening experiences if we have been at this for any length of time but do we really believe that Enlightenment of a permanent nature is something that we can attain? Or do we listen more to our unworthiness and believe it is something for only a few very special or holy individuals?
Do we even really want it? Or would we be happy to just feel less tormented or more at ease in ourselves– just a little more enlightened, maybe? Perhaps we are actually more concerned with meeting a partner or being part of a community or spiritual family. Perhaps we simply wish to be better healers or develop our gifts and talents. These are all important aspects of having a good and happy life and I’m not criticising them at all, but they are not the same thing as having a deep and conscious yearning to be fully awakened. All I am seeking to show is, just how much most of us limit ourselves in so many ways. I sometimes only half jokingly think that maybe we should call ourselves ‘spiritual seekers within certain limits!’
Seriously though, if we can start to see just how absurd these limitations are we might be able to be free from them. We claim to be committed to a path in life whose goal is Enlightenment but we don’t believe we can attain it. Please dwell for a moment on this as I did and you might come to the same conclusion- that it is difficult to see how we could have any bigger limitation than this in our mindset and our core beliefs.
The Conceptual Problems
Conceptually, Enlightenment is too big for the mind to grasp because it is beyond mind, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t use conceptual understandings to point towards it or perhaps even more importantly to point out what it is not. If I spend my entire life chasing after a cat whilst thinking it’s a dog then this is an obstacle that will hold me back no end.
Perhaps then, the first thing is to demystify the concept of Enlightenment somewhat. Now I don’t claim to be realised in any great way at all but I do have some sense of what Enlightenment is not. We tend to see Enlightenment as something outside of ourselves that we have to try to find at some unspecified future time, perhaps many lifetimes from now and that in this life we are simply making a few steps in that direction. These ways of seeing it are not going to help us for they fail to fully grasp the truth of all the Wisdom Teachings- that Enlightened Consciousness is already our True Nature. It is who we actually are on the most fundamental of levels and as such, is not some point to reach that is currently outside of ourselves and is based in some unspecified future time, but is already there within us waiting to be revealed and always has been. We just are currently unaware of it. Rather than seeking Enlightenment outside of ourselves we need to recognise that what we should be seeking is a Teacher and an approach that has the capacity to reveal to us who we already are which at the deepest of levels is Enlightened Consciousness.
Sometimes on the Path we experience times of real bliss or happiness, perhaps feelings of great love for ourselves and others, perhaps feelings of interconnectedness, of the oneness with all things. These experiences are very important for they can help us in a whole number of ways. They can trigger a permanent shift in our consciousness, they can inspire us, they can give us hope and trust in the path we are following- they encourage us to keep going. However, they are not in and of themselves Enlightenment, although I am sure if understood correctly they can lead us in that direction. The problem is, if misunderstood, we can become addicted to these feelings and endlessly chase them, becoming lost in our attachment to them like spiritual drug addicts. We can no longer bear to feel ‘normal’ and become lost in the dualistic game of grasping and aversion. In this state we are far from Enlightened Consciousness that sees the sacredness of God in everything and not merely in the blissful states of being.
It is important to understand that these states are not Enlightenment itself but rather Enlightenment is the ground from which these states readily arise. If we understand Enlightenment to mean consciousness’s realisation of its own True Nature, which is God, then it is no great surprise that from that realisation come states of bliss, happiness, Oneness and the sense and recognition of God in everything. This then, is interesting, because if we find ourselves experiencing some kind of an awakened state it suggests that we must have touched the Truth of Our Real Nature, to some degree at least.
From this point- it is not too difficult to recognise that if something is already our true state then that must be true for all of us, with no exceptions. Because it is all of our original nature it must follow also, that it is entirely possible for all of us, with no exceptions, to learn to reside in this state of our True Nature.
Everything we believe or feel that is in conflict with this is untrue and consists of our limitations, unworthiness and disbelief talking to us.
To be fully realised or awakened would change everything at least inwardly and of course parts of us know this and will therefore do everything they can to limit us and to protect their own existence. It is therefore indispensible to nurture what I like to call Impeccable Intent. To me this is much more than even a very serious intention because it infers a number of qualities; it is a pure and unwavering intent, free from any distraction, corruption or compromise.
With this Impeccable Intent as our bedrock I fully believe that with the right tools we can make rapid progress in revealing our True Nature. Of course there are many approaches and tools available in today’s world and this is very important for although Enlightenment is our True Nature, we need the help of Teachers and powerful spiritual tools to reveal this truth to us. In the Emerald Heart way of approach we use the essences and Programs that have been developed through higher Guidance for this purpose, by David Ashworth the founder of the School.
What we could call the fruits of Enlightened Consciousness are many; wisdom, patience, childlike wonder, joy,love of self and others to name just a few. It logically follows that just as these states arise and flow naturally from the Ground of Enlightened Consciousness, if we connect with and nurture these states we are becoming closer to this same Ground for we are learning to see and feel as God. It is no wonder that all the religions seek to nurture and develop these states of being and ways of seeing in their followers. For it is not just that they are less likely to do harm to themselves or others but because the Saints and Enlightened Ones of all the traditions knew that it would take them nearer to realising their True Nature. As these states become our natural way of being and through which we see the world around us we become closer to being truly Enlightened. As we become closer to God within and to our own God-nature, so a state of Enlightenment – our real state, becomes something that we can experience in the here and now and can begin to become our permanent state of being.
Love & Blessings,
Principle of the Emerald Heart School of Enlightenment