I used to think enlightenment was something magical, mysterious, and transformative. Something conferred or earned through practice or through the wisdom of sudden realisation.
But I’m finally accepting that enlightenment is just deliberately feeling good, feeling better for the sake of feeling better.
What I missed
It’s not that I misunderstood per se, but I too quickly seized on enlightenment as the solution to my problems, something that would fulfil what I lacked.
So my understanding of enlightenment was an extrapolation from my focus on “lack”. It was like a vague and mysterious shadow, a promise of relief from, freedom from unwanted conditions.
But that meant my idea of enlightenment was just another action pathway: “I’ll feel better if I get this”.
Actual enlightenment is just recognising that we can deliberately focus and feel better, and our circumstances follow from this focus, not the other way around.
There’s no transformation to undergo. Enlightenment and delusion exist on a continuum, just like joy and sorrow.
Some people say that once enlightened you can never be deluded again, and I don’t know for sure what they mean. It’s not as though we would want to be deluded again, so perhaps what they mean is that once you are practiced enough at deliberately feeling good, you won’t suddenly forget and begin unconsciously feeling terrible.
For where I’m at, it’s enough – more than enough – to see that I was chasing the promise of fulfilment while reinforcing a sense of lack. That’s why feeling better was hitherto still not enough for me, and why I sabotaged my own happiness for the sake of something “more”.