What’s the Point of Life After Total Enlightenment?

When the mind is somber, broad daylight gives birth to demons and evil spirits. When the mind is clear, a dark room has its blue sky. That which is self-concious and ulterior is far from the Truth. That which is Mindless, is near.” – Taoist poem.

There’s a common saying in Zen that says after Satori (Enlightenment, there sits the ordinary old man.

Something extraordinary happens through Enlightenment, but nothing at all. Vedanta — the philosophy Buddhism originates from — translates to “the end of knowledge.”

If Enlightenment is the end of knowledge, the end of struggles and the end of suffering, what is left in life? What is there left to do after the struggle is gone? After all, isn’t part of the beauty of life the struggle, the tears, the heartache and finding healing and peace through it all?

If there’s nothing left to do, if there’s nothing left to strive for, what’s the point of living? What’s the point of living when life itself has no point? What’s the point if the game of life isn’t worth playing?

There is a point though; the creation of your story. The only difference is after Enlightenment and the realization of One Taste, we no longer identify with the drama.

But detachment does not mean not participating. It’s not an escape from life; it’s simply creating your story with the awareness that you are not the story. It doesn’t bother you when your life takes a wrong turn or when something goes awry. In the same way you can celebrate when something wonderful in your life happens, but you don’t get attached because you realize that your story is not you.

Everything in life is a story. The evolution of the Universe, from unconscious matter to becoming conscious, is a story. The Eros of human consciousness, how we evolve from duality and separateness to Enlightenment and union, is a story.

The search for meaning and beauty outside ourselves, and realizing that happiness can only come from within, is yet another story. We turn even the most mundane things (like washing the dishes) into a story. We have all sorts of feelings about everything and we use those feelings and associations to mold our story. Life is a series of stories.

In The Voice of Knowledge, Don Miguel Ruiz makes the point that we are all artists. We are all constantly dreaming, constantly creating and molding our stories. Based on the investment of our beliefs, we shape our story. Since we’re always perceiving new things and events, we filter some out and accept other information and ideas based on how it aligns with the story we want to create.

Like Ruiz, I think it’s a much more powerful paradigm to see ourselves as artists and not “just people.” Even if you don’t think you’re the “creative type,” you are creating all the time. You can’t not create. Every time you breathe, move, or open your mouth, you are creating.

Not Living an Accidental Life

Have you ever taken a step back and just observed life, while thinking “How the hell am I here?” It’s in that stupefying moment you realize that you’re the architect of life, but there’s no blueprint. We have this mysterious internal compass, but beyond that we’re on our own. We have to fend for ourselves and make things up as we go along.

We have to take control and steer through life the best we can. What’s most is that we take the wheel and don’t live on accident. What matters is that we don’t give up our power and relinquish the ownership of our minds.

We have to realize the power of:

The Beautification of Your Mind

There is a lot of credit (and merit) given to creating a beautiful space. We spend inordinate amounts of time decorating our homes, buying new clothes and products in the effort to make our lives more desirable.

But not much credit is given to the beautification of our minds.

We adorn our homes and spaces with expensive things. We often associate the value of our lives with the value of our possessions. Once we buy or obtain the object of our desire, within a few days or hours we’re thinking about our next purchase. The illness of materialism has a stranglehold on us; we are always in need of our next fix.

The reality is that this search for the beautification of our bodies and our spaces will never satisfy us. We have more luxury and more convenience than a lot of Royalty had a few hundred years ago. In fact, royal servants now have more luxury than the same Kings they served a few hundred years ago. Obviously something is seriously wrong. Our value system is distorted. If internal wealth is the greatest asset you can have, why is it so overlooked? Because you can’t see a luxurious mind. You can’t brag to your friends about it. You can’t say “Hey Jim, look at the shiny mind I’ve got. Your internal space looks like a pile of shit.

So if we can Feng Shui our external space, can we Feng Shui our minds?

I think so. It’s something I’ve been personally vying for.

As I said earlier, the problem with creating a luxurious inner space is that you can’t exactly see a beautiful mind. You can’t measure it, you can’t compare it. Paradoxically, I think this misconceived “flaw” is its most attractive quality. Our obsession with measurement quantification seems unhealthy at best, anyway.

Creating a beautiful mind is about placing permanent fixtures of beautiful ideas in the corners of your mind. It’s about cleaning the cobwebs of self-limiting beliefs. It’s about creating the auto-response to be impeccable with your word, and to not ever use your mind against yourself. It’s about coming to terms with your practical mind, and creating a relationship between your head and your heart. It’s about taking ownership of your mind, and realizing that that is the most powerful and precious gift that you have.

The Tyranny of Monotony

If you’re at all like me, it’s easy to see yourself as an artist for a little while. You might last a few hours or a few days. But then the routine and monotony of life sinks back in. Everything seems to be a repeat of the day before. Every day seems exactly the same.

I’ve found that the best way to combat slipping into the black-hole of monotony is by realizing each moment is brand new. Past and present are illusions. Even if you feel like you’ve been doing the same thing, you really haven’t. This moment is all there is and each time you do something, it’s for the first time. Actually, it isn’t even the first; that would imply that there’s a second and a third. Rather this is the only time you’ve done whatever you’re doing now, and it always will be.

Each moment, each day, we write another page in our story. It’s hard not to get caught up in the routine of life. Each day seems the same and we take for granted our artistic power. We put off the beautification of our minds. Another day, we think. Maybe tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes.

The truth is, if we don’t keep ourselves present and realize that with each day we are creating, we will never get to it. We’ll wake up 10 years later and wonder what the hell happened.

We can choose to make our stories a masterpiece, or mediocre. But the point is that we choose now. If we put off our choice, we give up our power. I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to put it off anymore. I can’t betray myself any longer.

I admit I don’t have all the answers, and I haven’t quite figured out how to completely resist reverting into a routine. What can we do to make our lives more like a work of art, and less like a colorless repeat of yesterday? I would personally love to hear your thoughts on how you remember the artistry of your life and how you resist living uniformly.

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Comment & Add Your Voice

Daniel Richard August 26, 2008 at 4:08 pm

Heya Jonathan!

Liked it about Beautification of our minds, and not comforting ourselves back to a routine life.

What I do is to go show some kindness in other’s lives, through making new jokes or finding some fun stuffs (playing pranks) or say the next interesting words that encourages others.

We are definitely not living an accidental life. Thats a certain which we could help inform more people about. :)

Daniel

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Shilpan | successsoul.com August 26, 2008 at 4:35 pm

Jonathan,

Our biggest folly is to believe that happiness exists outside in physical things. You have put that in beautiful words, “There is a lot of credit (and merit) given to creating a beautiful space. We spend inordinate amounts of time decorating our homes, buying new clothes and products in the effort to make our lives more desirable.”

We mortgage our freedom to accumulate these things that can only imprison our mind later.

Shilpan

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michelle August 26, 2008 at 5:02 pm

Very enlightening indeed. I find that the moment that I don’t know something that I thought I did know is quite enlightening, it lifts the veil of my own deception to reveal the bright light of truth.

I also have a favorite expression “Accidental Destiny” because there really are no accidents.

Great post, Michelle
The Soul Coach
http://www.smartcareerchanges.com

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Writer Dad August 26, 2008 at 5:18 pm

“The truth is, if we don’t keep ourselves present and realize that with each day we are creating, we will never get to it. We’ll wake up 10 years later and wonder what the hell happened.”

Well said. Too many people simply survive when they should really be living.

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Kris August 26, 2008 at 5:33 pm

I’ve always wondered about this. I enjoyed your examination of this question.

I particularly liked the idea of fighting monotony with the realization that each moment is brand new. That’s a cool thing to meditate on.

I also liked the idea of “beautification of the mind.”

Maybe I can use the mindfulness focus to help me keep from latching onto arguments with my mom.

Thank you!

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Evelyn Lim August 26, 2008 at 6:31 pm

I appreciate your honesty when you said “I admit I don’t have all the answers, and I haven’t quite figured out how to completely resist reverting into a routine.” For myself, I guess it is a question of focus. When I wake up in the mornings, do I choose to observe that brilliance of the sunshine today is different from that of yesterday’s? Things may appear to be the same but in reality, something has shifted. The daily activities may appear routine but within the pockets of time, there is greater joy, peace and beauty. It is how I live rather than what I do.

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Annie Binns August 26, 2008 at 7:41 pm

Jonathan,

What if our actions are routine and monotonous, but our mind takes in these actions with a freshness and enjoyment and newness each and every time?

Just as we can say that materialism is pretty much pointless, can we also say that trying not to live uniformly is a wasted effort if it doesn’t come naturally? I, for one, feel blessed to have some routines, and it allows my mind to be free of having to always “experience” life and instead, just “be” life.

I love the idea of being able to feng shui my mind!

Annie

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Seamus Anthony August 26, 2008 at 10:01 pm

Great post dude. My blogging partner Steve wrote a cool article about our ‘Ego and the Inner Story’. http://tinyurl.com/egostory

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Zendad August 27, 2008 at 7:42 am

I do agree that struggle is what makes life worthwhile. Scars (emotional and physical) are proof that you’ve been places and done things. Proof that you’ve left your safety zone and put yourself out there and had some struggles. As for Feng Shui of the mind, it’s a great way to summerize Zen and ensuing Enligtenment, kudos! I like the idea of arranging thoughts, memories and experiences to create positive energy. The only thing I’ll add is that although I do try and live in the moment, I still have those “how the hell did I get here?” moments. I think it’s a part of having kids, they are great reminders of the quick passage of time. You look up every now and then and they’ve grown so fast and learned so much. Goes to show ya how fast life happens, grab a helmet and get in the game!
Zendad
http://www.zendad.net

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Tom Stine | Life Coach August 27, 2008 at 8:51 am

“What matters is that we don’t give up our power and relinquish the ownership of our minds.”

So, who owns your mind? I’m fairly certain that “I” don’t own mine. To be honest, I’m not even certain I have one. ;-)

You mentioned that the key is that we “no longer identify with the drama.” I would suggest that the reason an enlightened one doesn’t identify with the drama is because there is no identity in the enlightened one. “He” sees no “he.” There’s no person to identify wiht anything.

Just some thoughts for the middle of the week. Be well. :-)

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Jennifer August 27, 2008 at 9:41 am

This is so crucial: “What’s most is that we take the wheel and don’t live on accident.”
I did live on accident for a long time. It’s no way to live (if you can call that living).

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Glen Allsopp August 27, 2008 at 10:12 am

Excellent stuff, made sure you were in my feed reader then checked out your other work!

Cheers,
Glen

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Jarrod - Warrior Development August 27, 2008 at 11:18 am

I’m with Tom on this one.

There is nothing for drama to stick to. After all drama is what we create when the mind and emotions run wild.

When there is no drama to be stuck on then monotony doesn’t exist as everything is new.

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Jonathan August 27, 2008 at 11:29 am

@ Michele, absolutely. Accidental destiny is the enemy of a life worth living.

@ Annie, I really like your approach to this. I guess it’s not routine that I want to fight, but the negative associations that can be attached to routine. Like there never being any surprises. If I had my whole life completely mapped and plotted out, I might as well die right now.

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Jenny Mannion August 27, 2008 at 11:32 am

Wow I LOVE the quote “So if we can Feng Shui our external space, can we Feng Shui our minds?”. I believe it is CRUCIAL to Feng Shui our minds.

I try and remember the artistry of my life by remembering how multi-faceted it, and I are. I have goals in all aspects of my life and when one is meeting with resistance I “let go” and move onto another aspect that needs attention. I nurture MANY different interests… some I do with friends, some with my family, some alone and some with my kids…. I always want to be learning and moving forward and meeting new people who also add spice and variety to my life…

While we might have one or two true GIFTS there are tons of things we can all do well and by appreciating and paying gratitude to each by enjoying them at different times it avoids routine and boredom but encourages growth. I love the seasons because it also seems to encourage my different hobbies and interests; long walks in the summer, cross country skiing in the winter, grilling in the summer, warm yummy homemade soups and stews in the winter….

Thank you for such a wonderful post!

Gratefully, Jenny

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Stillborn August 27, 2008 at 11:45 am

To all comers,

Respectfully injecting, outside of the idea of “enlightenment”, it can’t seem to be found anywhere. Therefore it must be deduced that this mythical, spiritual tooth fairy parading around under the guise of blissful oneness and self knowledge, cleverly marketing itself as “total” or “final”, is just what it appears to be, a myth, illusion of the finest grade!

Clearly the titular question here is rhetorical, for the very notion of there being something post “totality”, is an inference so ostensibly inviting (akin to having your cake, and eating it too) yet so fundamentally flawed that its unconscious implications will only serve to further confound what is for the conceived many, the quandary of “enlightenment”!

“Can we do to make our lives more like a work of art, and less like a colorless repeat of yesterday?”

1. For starters get over the idea that there is a “you” that is even capable of having a “life”!

2. If you have difficulty accomplishing the first suggestion perhaps you might want to start by having the idea of “you” cease trying to make the idea of “your life” more or less anything, be it successful, prosperous, artistic etc. Acceptance goes along way when it comes to understanding, particularly Reality.

Mentation on what needs to be done and why and how it needs to be done etc., has many impacts on the conceived individual, the most damaging of which (with regards to “enlightenment”) is the implication of a doer. Which creates a subtle sense of seperation in the now conceived mind of the now conceived individual, later manifesting in the now perceived world generally in the form of a desire, generated to mitigate oft unconscious anxieties and stresses caused by… that’s right, the simple thought there is something to be done and its implication that there is someone to do it. Choice is a joke and within the Tyranny of Monotony it is not just the idea of a separate doer but the implication of one that is Tyrant. (Think about it! What are you going to do…yourself?!)

Thus to resist living uniformly…resist the idea of living altogether!

For Better and Worse
Stillborn

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Alex Kay August 27, 2008 at 12:40 pm

Personally, I don’t believe that there exists a “total enlightment”. It’s a path, not a goal. Interesting post!

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Davidya August 27, 2008 at 3:39 pm

Hi Jonathan
While you make some interesting points, I’ll have to agree with Tom and Stillborn. From where I sit, you are mixing different levels of consciousness which have very different realities.

Firstly, detachment is not “total enlightenment”. It can arise before any waking. The ego drivers are falling way but the cosmic or divine drivers may not have kicked in yet. This is not the nature of enlightenment but rather a transition towards.

Monotony is mind absorbed in doing. It has nothing to do with enlightenment. There is nothing monotonous about bliss and love.

It would also suggest that you have to be careful about the question of WHO’s story. It’s not all about the person. There is the personal story, the social story, the story of the universe, the story of creation. Each value arises in a different level of awareness, a different value of oneness. Yes, all stories or dreams, but not ones you change by decorating your mind. You can only fully see the story when you have transcended it.

Vedanta is the “end” of knowledge, not in the sense that it’s over, but that it is the ultimate, the final knowledge, the conclusion of veda. If enlightenment is transcending the story, it is the beginning of true knowledge, direct perception of reality beyond the dreams.

I could go into a number of other points but suffice to say, enlightenment has nothing to do with individual life. Eventually, that is within it but not usually at first.

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Jonathan August 27, 2008 at 4:29 pm

Davidya and Stillborn,

You’re absolutely right! I am definitely mixing different levels of consciousness. Consciousness is a spectrum, not a fixed point. When you transcend one level of consciousness, you don’t eliminate the previous, you move beyond it and include it.

I agree also that there is no “doer.” There is feeling, but no one is feeling. There is seeing but no one sees.

“I” would say, however, that you can choose to pretend that you are a character in a dream. Or an actor in a play. If “you” choose to accept that character, then you can choose to adorn “your” mind.

Does that make sense? I hope so…

The whole problem with me even talking about this is Enlightenment really can’t be spoken of. Reality itself can’t be spoken of. The moment you open “your” mouth about it, you contradict yourself. That is because you’re trying to use knowledge to measure the immeasurable. You’re using a concept to describe something that is not a concept.

“I” would have put this in the article, but “I” think it would have muddled things. =)

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Ariel - We Are All One August 27, 2008 at 10:10 pm

Definitely some good points raised by all, particularly the ones about there being no doer. Nevertheless, despite the fact that nothing outside of us is “real” or can ever make one happy, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.

Despite seeing everything as perfection, Jesus still healed the sick. Regardless of knowing that the One truly can not die, Mother Theresa still went and served the poor and hungry in Calcutta.

So while the understanding ultimately that there is no doer is in alignment with the absolute, that doesn’t mean that nothing should be done in the first place.

“The truth is, if we don’t keep ourselves present and realize that with each day we are creating, we will never get to it. We’ll wake up 10 years later and wonder what the hell happened.”

Well put Jonathan. It’s not about not doing, but rather doing from a place of full consciousness, being all here below that you are above, so to speak.

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Tom August 28, 2008 at 6:06 am

Nice essay Jonathan.

I am surprised it has not been obvious that after enlightenment comes “service to others.” I believe this IS what Buddha did after his enlightenment–as did many before and after…

Thanks again and save all beings from suffering,

Tom

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Evan August 29, 2008 at 5:23 pm

Hi Jonathan,

Life is not the same as struggle. And struggle is not the same as hard work – the right hard work is a pleasure.

In my experience there is much outside ourselves that is real. Those who don’t think so are yet to walk through a wall in my observation. (Is this really just my limitation. I am not disagreeing with their experience only their expression of it.)

After enlightenment we are more of an individual as well as less. The disciples of Jesus and the Buddha were in no danger of confusing either of them with anyone else (identity persists – though our relation to it alters).

My serious concern is that if nothing outside us exists then compassion is of no value (after all it is simply delusion).

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imnotreal August 29, 2008 at 9:01 pm

nice i really like it

i do dissagree about the accidental life tho. if you try to stear or force your way through life i think its harder to see the bueaty in the small things like washing the disshes. i might be missunderstanding you but i think going with the flow of life makes it easier to feel the bueaty of all of life and all aspects of it. when i say flow i don’t mean like go with everyone elses idea i mean like go with how you feel is right idk if thats what you were trying to say but i go tthis more ruff feal too taking control of your life rather then just going with what ever feels right

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Øystein August 29, 2008 at 11:56 pm

Jonathan I really enjoyed your post, and I have thought a lot about this myself. Somehow there arose a point where I no longer focus on going anywhere or becoming something else than what I am in the moment. I know I will become what I will be anyway. The strugle you talk about, I think it may be nessessary for a while. Have you ever walked in the mountains? If you have experienced it you will know that as you aproach the summit there ka be several times where you think you are about to reach the top only to discover another peak even higher..

I guess my point really is that I find what you say to be true as far as it goes but what you never mention is compassion. There is something beyond struggle and climbing of hills. No matter how enlightned or detached we are we still have to realize that we are all on this planet together. Love is the force that makes this life living, not just knowledge for our own personal enlightnement quest.

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axel g August 30, 2008 at 6:54 am

What’s the Point of Life After Total Enlightenment?

Well, I wouldn’t mind flowing with life like water in a stream…

What I find interesting is what it takes to realize enlightenment?

Who sets out on such a quest and why?

I believe that unhappiness and dissatisfaction act as triggers…

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Kathy September 1, 2008 at 5:21 am

Jonathan: you asked how we remember the artistry of our life and resist living uniformly.

For most of my life, I resisted uniformity, but have finally decided that structure is ok. I’ve found that routines free my mind of clutter and embrace them lovingly. Turning off the ticker tape of to do’s allows more room for the creative ideas and passions to flow.

One way I resist living uniformly (or not allowing myself to get in a rut) is through cooking. Food, with the endless combination of flavors, colors, aromas, and textures allows creative pursuit each day that I choose to cook. An empty plate becomes a canvas that allows total immersion into the present moment as I use my mind and senses to create a masterpiece.

Thanks for your post. Your statement that a beautiful mind is about creating an auto-response to be impeccable with your word, and to not ever use your mind against yourself is perfection.

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NewssyLee September 5, 2008 at 3:15 pm

Thanks to you

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Brian November 19, 2008 at 1:36 pm

There is no life after Enlightenment – when you have transcended every pain, every fear, every instinct, even the desire to breathe is ‘let go’ and you cease to be in form. This is not suicide, but transcendance. Not that I know anything, but I would guess no more need to reincarnate after enlightenment. The greatest teachers teach nothing, do nothing and are nothing. they literally are no thing! lol

Don’t worry, it’s not nihilistic, we all have a few thousand lifetimes of work before we get there! lol

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Lissa Boles November 29, 2008 at 11:15 am

Really interesting piece. Beautification of mind will naturally be impacted by what we ‘think’ is beautiful, but as a metaphor I love it.

And I have a monkey wrench thought to throw in here about routine/monotony…

Resistance to monotony and routine is actually a reaction of the ego to being usurped. You could even go so far as to call it addition to novelty (which will really mess with ye old Beautification of the Mind).

Far as I can tell, routine and monotony is as much a place of beauty, peace and breakthrough as the rest are, and an unusual expression of creativity. I don’t always like it – and chafe against it just like everybody else – but as a form of self-governance and ‘surrender’ nothing else beats it.

You’ve written some great stuff on simplicity, and I see routine as a kind of simplicity – a parring down of action as a form of devotion to what matters mos. The dust that’s kicked up in reaction to ‘monotony’ seems to be the way the ego tries to regain control by using what seems like a very justifiable argument to distract and disarm.

Never fails to amaze me how the novelty of the new is really one more bright shiny toy that takes my eyes off my focus PDQ!

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Vern at AimforAwesome December 15, 2008 at 8:45 pm

I just found your blog – and it’s great reading. I’ll grab your RSS in a second. I liked what you said here…

I’ve found that the best way to combat slipping into the black-hole of monotony is by realizing each moment is brand new. Past and present are illusions. Even if you feel like you’ve been doing the same thing, you really haven’t. This moment is all there is and each time you do something, it’s for the first time….Rather this is the only time you’ve done whatever you’re doing now, and it always will be.

If you notice – it’s very hard to define a present moment, because once you think you’ve done so – it’s the past already. You can experience life in the present moment and that feels like the present… but what constitutes the present? Is it a tiny fraction of a second that quickly ticks by? I keep trying to find the present -and there doesn’t even seem to be one. All this talk of the present moment might be missing something.

I know when I’m in the flow state or just experiencing life without thoughts – and I feel like what I’ve always labeled as the present moment – it feels good. It feels like I’m alive. It feels like I’m not separate from anything going on in the world. It’s as present as it gets.

But, is it really living in the present moment?

hmm.

Good food for thought your statements today – thanks for that! I’ll read more of your blog…

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Marco December 17, 2008 at 4:58 am

Hi, nice blog.

I want to make a comment too. Enlightenment, what it is in itself cannot be explained properly.

Explanation is a partial aspect. And it holds purpose.

Isn’t the unhappiness in it’s most profound state institutionalized in the identification with partialism as supposed holder of ground and center. Isn’t this the illusion called I, the great divider? Without this, everything is a constant flow of expression, there is no reflection and therefor no partialism. But without the division what’s the purpose of continuation, that’s the question of this piece of work right? Life without a purpose, a life in which nothing matters, for purpose defines what matters -and what matters not. Imagine a world in which everybody truely lived the purposeless life. Wouldn’t that be a heavenly world, because suffering has it’s place in purpose. Try imagining this world, where everybody doesn’t live by the sake of purpose but only lives life for the sake of living. Can you see this world? But, actually, it’s there right? People Are living this life.. It’s already there!

It’s there. If you can see it, then you’re there, living the life of living.

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Mimi December 23, 2008 at 8:57 pm

Very interesting topic. Good points made by all, and all in all everyone has a great hold onto what life is about and how to go about it. To be alive is the greatest gift of all, and how one CHOOSES to live their life is unto his or her own accord. If you are AWARE you are alive, with a mind, a life and a world to play with than you can live a life however you would like no matter the circumstances. Well written Jonathan, once it is all said and done you have the choice to be the script writer, the director, the actor or the cameraman.

” It’s about coming to terms with your practical mind, and creating a relationship between your head and your heart. It’s about taking ownership of your mind, and realizing that that is the most powerful and precious gift that you have. “

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Brother Brit February 5, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Namaste Jonathan,

Well written article with truthful information.

It was once said, “It is easy to be mindful, but it is hard to REMEMBER to be mindful.” Ideas for remembering to be mindful:

1) Tie a string around your index finger. This really works! People will ask you what you are trying to remember. Since you are trying to remember to be present, it often starts great conversations about being present.

2) Wear a Mala (a bead necklace used in Buddhism with 108 beads plus a guru bead) on the outside of your clothes. Take it off only to shower and sleep. It gets in the way, which reminds. You see it in the mirror, others ask about it.

3) Sticky notes. “Be…Here…now…and Breathe.”

4) Sit still in silence. Allow the mind to have time to get bored and grow quiet.

5) Associate with others who are also wishing to live in a present way.

As with any skill, it takes time and concentrated effort to develop. Set aside time each day to practice being present. After a while, in a future Now, the practice will become the habit…and the habit of remaining present is a valuable habit to have!

In love and peace.

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Conrado April 19, 2009 at 9:13 pm

The enlightenment is just half the road.
Please, check this out:
http://itisnotreal.com/Hunting%20the%20I.htm

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Kaushik May 4, 2009 at 6:38 am

Great thoughts, Jonathan.

Today’s conventional wisdom tell us there is a big-bang event called enlightenment and we should strive for it, and we have a false identity and so on. It’s funny that the same people who tell us to drop assumptions and beliefs, encourage us to build all sorts of nonsense around enlightenment. Maybe it’s true, but it’s not true until it is true for you.

I like the words awakening or flow because they indicate a continuum, and something available to everyday people and not just the spiritually-obsessed. Why should we live in flow? We can continue to live in the world of fear and sadness, or we can live in flow. The fear and effort go away. It makes no other promises.

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Dan Adrian June 3, 2009 at 2:05 am

Great post! Great topic too. I must admit I am still left with the same questions after reading it, but hey, there is time to answer them all. After all, we are forced to live this seemingly pointless life – the least we can do is understand why we live it.

I sometimes look around in a room and say to myself – “what’s this??” – I find it all so strange and weird and pointless. There can be so much beauty in some things, and especially inside oneself – the energy inside that makes you feel alive and vibrant and one with the Universe, but then, there are computers that crash, plastic bags looking all ugly – you move around the house and you hit something – and it all seems so inadequate given our true nature within. It is hard to fathom why should one participate in this theater.

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Marshall Woody October 18, 2009 at 5:32 pm

Conversations With God…by Neale Donald Walsch. Hands down, the best book I’ve ever read. This has more than helped me with some of the same issues.

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Tobias Mixer December 4, 2009 at 1:55 am

I think this article is so fitting and right where I am looking at things. Thank you for taking the time to grapple and grasp such an intensely beautiful calling.

Cheers

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John Deere May 22, 2010 at 10:22 pm

Spiritual people hope to escape the search by searching. How can one find something with the act of looking for it, to find something you must undergo the act of finding it, the mistake most make is that the act of looking can lead to the act of finding. I don’t know how many ‘enlightened’ people of whom I’ve heard who ever said something like “we are not the story” isn’t part of enlightenment becoming one with everything? if you are one with the story of your life then you are that story. Any thing you mind comes up with is absolutely useless, fools are those who listen to one about ice cream who has never had the taste

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soir June 14, 2011 at 5:47 pm

To “write your own story” is a beautiful way to see life and experience it, because it is OUR story (individually). A story written with detachment and Love, using the pen of Consciousness to guide it’s poetic content.

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StevenCundiff August 10, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Vern the whole idea of “being in the Present” is just a tool that helps people who are deeply absorbed in their own movie to take a step back and realize its just a show on a screen that they got absorbed in. Being in the present moment is a means, not an end. becuase only when you are in the present moment can accomplish the true result these people are seeking, and that is to simply be self aware. And oh my God if I had not spent ten years of my life wasted on some grandios picture of what enlightenment or self awareness was….people couch it in grandios terms like one with everything etc….but it is really the simplest of things….just pay attention to…or rather be the observer of yourself while you are thinking thoughts, or smelling a smell, or hearing a sound etc….its just that…being the observer of the observer….nothing more nothing less hehehe.

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StevenCundiff August 10, 2011 at 11:03 pm

not so brian, not a thousand lifetimes away, its only one breath away, sometimes less

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StevenCundiff August 10, 2011 at 11:14 pm

when you wrote this post you were in a delusion of words and sound without even the faintest clue of true and simple realization….to achieve this…read your words from above…but then suddenly switch your focus from the words to the white space between the written words…be that stillness in the space…then when your mind moves again observe it from that still place are you will have achieved “Enlightenment” lol….but be careful, nothing special will actually happen hehehe.

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nefertiti.totonaca August 30, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Wow, this is what I was looking for… This last Saturday I suddenly reached enlightment, and I was precisely wondering today: WHAT IS NEXT???… I feel really grateful that I found this post! :)

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Jr. December 15, 2011 at 12:35 pm

You put into words what I have been pondering about for years. Great post! This is exactly what I needed to read.

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Justmehere March 30, 2012 at 1:42 pm

What’s the point of life after enlightenment? I’d say there is none. That leaves only one option: to SEE (the beauty)–with the I (the “eye”) and to LOVE, the only “thing” that has no opposite.

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Justmehere March 30, 2012 at 1:44 pm

What’s the point of life after enlightenment? I’d say there is none. That leaves only one option: to SEE (the beauty)–with the I (the “eye”)–and to LOVE–the two sides of the same coin (love and beauty)– which is all that remains when all the opposites have been folded back into themselves.

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Meghan Kerner October 22, 2012 at 10:46 pm

I have been enjoying reading about this topic, because it is interesting to see how people talk about something that can’t really be talked about with the language we have at hand. Often this topic seems trite when put into words, but I like the feeling and intention behind this post, Jonathan. I am happy that you are writing about this topic and that you are enjoying the life (the story) that you are creating for yourself.

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Marcanthony May 6, 2013 at 11:12 pm

But how do you reach TOTAl enlightenment, to say this means that you know all things that have been and will ever be, and as anyone who has stared into infinity before knows this is inprobable.

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Rasta May 15, 2013 at 4:16 am

I read something that basically said you begin your journey as a student learning from others and life then you become a teacher so that others may learn from you then you become a guru who gives his message to large groups and then you become a sage who is a student all over again he doesn’t try teach others like a teacher he simply let’s people learn from him and learns from it himself he will never judge or force a belief because other people have their own journeys to make in closing I believe that the best way to put it is to quote an old story a zen master was walking somewhere when a man ran past and knocked him over the zen master got up and continued in the same direction he was before paying no attention to what just happened a student of his then said to him who was that man and the zen master replied I don’t know as he carried on his way his student then said but master if you spend your life like that a man could murder you and you would not know who it was the master then stopped briefly and said that’s his problem not mine (sorry for the long message)

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Peter Brown July 8, 2013 at 2:17 pm

So how to deal with theurge to just die. Not because of boredom or depression. Mostl because the money part and the world byrocracy is so damn complicated and not my interest.

Im dont really believe the “many years of hard work pays back”. In the financial field (which is my definition of success) nothing really happens. Attention wise things are ok but waiting the cash to come is retarded. Isnt there anyway to get instant gradification or die and wake up in a world of naked chicks and alot of cool foods for free!

This world sucks ass.

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BuddhaBabe January 25, 2014 at 11:57 am

After enlightenment, we live the joyful lives we were born to live, creating and becoming all we want to, experiencing it all. We become a light for others, showing them the way by our existence. In short, we live happily ever after. It’s not a fairytale.

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Lyubomir Boychuk February 27, 2014 at 8:28 am

At one point in my life I was more afraid of myself than anything. The creation and the influence that we have in this world is infinite. Hurting someone or causing discomfort sometimes causes pain in my mind. It is like a burden, but yet a gift. I would intervene so much, trying to make the world a batter place, only to find out that somethings the world is not yet ready for. Skipping steps in learning is not healthy for the mind.

The evolution of the mind takes many routes. I think back to the 1800s, when the world we know began to expand its knowledge. so many have suffered to create what we have today. And yes, we take so much for granted. There is no way to measure the beauty of the mind. We tend to show off often. I see role models and elderly, how they wanted to became know for their efforts. I know we all have that flaw, but that flaw is also part of the minds evolution. It is another step.

I too, sometimes want some attention, but find myself escaping from it every time I make new friends. Growing up a quietest kid in class, I practice my mind more than those who expressed themselves. I believed that I must resist to become stronger. It did make me strong. In fact the mind became so strong, it sometimes takes me away from these physical attachments. It makes me not want money nor merchandise, but create with my mind. I have an urge to observe and create without having pride. I do not believe I was born with this ability, but that my creation was timed precisely.

It was not easy to get to the state of mind I am in today. I sometimes wonder if this is possible for everyone. Some people end their lives when they can’t fight with their mind.

I am still creating and trying to let go of my burden. Learning, that the physical truth and the mental truth is far some the same. Distinguishing them both though out lifetime.

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Pete Schrader May 6, 2014 at 1:33 am

To Lyubomir Boychuk: After reading your post, I wanted to share a couple things for what they’re worth. First, don’t try to let go. Just let go. There’s a shimmering wall of fear, thicker for some than for others, constructed from experiences, thoughts, warnings from ignorant but well-meaning people, that we all must walk through to find truth. Question everything, as they say, but then really listen. A good friend introduced me to music by Kitaro. The music is mystical, so as I listened, I tried to create images in my mind that matched the music, but it all seemed flat, uninteresting, dead. About the fifth time I listened to the album, I managed to shut down my thought generator and I just listened. I listened very intensely. Listened to each instrument as though it was a living thing communicating something to me. Expecting to see or experience something, rather than impose my thoughts onto noise in my ear. Suddenly, doors in my mind opened. I began to relive memories as though for the first time. I could smell the pine trees on the edge of Spirit Lake, where our family used to vacation when I was a young boy. And I began to have visions of places I’ve never been…all very intense…all with a sense of mystery…and all without the use of drugs, by the way. Bottom line is that when I stopped trying to control the scene, so to speak, and just listened carefully, things started to happen. When we stop trying to control our environment, events in our lives, or even other people, and rather watch and listen intensely with a sense of mystery and expectation, everything seems to come alive. Just some thoughts I wanted to share. All the best to you and yours.

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Mario Peniche June 10, 2014 at 12:45 am

I have recently, just recently found my peace. at the same time, i have found my purpose, maybe it is the purpose we all seek. i have realised, that my purpose in life. is to spread the word of peace in a way that everyone will understand. my sincere wish, is to help anyone willing, to find and achieve peace, using a mix of modern pyschology, religion, and logic. it is the way i found peace. being brought up to value knowledge, and view religion as a place to seek peace, i sought after peace in terms of religion. and i learned that i do not understand it. religion, although gives the necessary tools for peace, does not necessarily mean people will understand how to achieve it. they way i achieved peace first came through years and years of unhappiness. followed by the understanding of why i was unhappy. next was removing anything that made me unhappy. after that, i sought personal understanding and acceptance. i achieved that acceptance through modern pyschology. and through the child-like innocence i had achieved, i , once again, turned to view religion. to see if these ways were effective, or relative to what i had achieved. to my surprise, they are pretty spot on. but then i wondered why people didnt achieve peace this way. i realized that the people in charge of helping them, have not achieved peace themselves. i believe, if someone has not achieved that inner peace, they are not qualified to help them fully understand. i realized then and there. my purpose is to spread this peace through any means possible, as long as the implementation is peacefull and can be understood. i believe you all are right. the point in life after total enlightenment is to try to instill that peace in the whole world. as long as it is your wish, and as long as if the people you are teaching are willing to achieve peace, and will let you teach them of course. humanity will prosper from this peace. i beseech you all to help implore this peace, slowly and thoroughly. we can help the world achieve peace. my name is mario peniche. and this is my dream.

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Kyle June 25, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Jonathan,
First, thank you brother for putting out a worthy thing. Second i totally am floored not by the ideas you present as I’ve seen most before in various things but how elegantly and on level you put it together, not high brow or simpleton but equal parts common and royal in the way you say. I love how you worded it that we are each moment living a new thing doing a new thing and it’s our art. Thank you. I looked online tonight In a half ass interested state of not being really happy and i stumbled upon your writing. That’s an honor for us both Jonathan, the big sceme had us meet like this and that’s pretty f****** awesome brother. I love you as much as i know you by what you wrote and when we meet next we may be different than we are now but i know that moment will be great as well. Right on PECAN,
-Kyle

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