No bottle and
not packing up for Colorado just yet?
And are you still thinking about enlightenment?
So, what do you think: why aren't more spiritual seekers enlightened?
Close contact with Nature is enlightening... but it is not yet enlightenment: the simplification of life and thought is likewise enlightening... but not yet enlightenment... years and years of stirring soup and loving homeless folks is likewise enlightening... but it is not enlightenment... so what is it that I have to say?
Shhh... It took a whole-lotta hard, internal, knocks for me to realize that very nearly every aspect of my "spiritual life" was about "ME". My faith, my place in the community, my self-regard, my contentment, my service: my enlightenment! I entered upon the spiritual path with all the vigor of youthful intention -- also, of course, aware of all the promised by-products like personal fulfillment, peace of mind, lowered blood pressure, and a longer life. But every step of the path was always -- in its essence -- all about ME... and so transformation could not occur because I already had exactly what I was truthfully aiming for: more of ME! Based upon my experience, I want to quietly suggest that I / WE are not enlightened because we are all perfectly, satisfied, with US!
Yeshua the Poet of Nazareth, though, suggested to his followers a "different" ordering of relationship -- away from "Me" and into: Love the Holy One with your entire being, and love your sister and your brother with the same will as you love yourself. In other words: if you really want to live -- if you want enlightenment -- recognize that not the least iota of Life is about YOU! Everything is always about the OTHER! Enlightenment is exactly this and nothing more!
"Could you completely forget yourself, even for just an instant, you would be given everything."-- Meister Eckhart
"My soul then said, I have nothing, for I am utterly stripped and naked; I can do nothing for I have no manner of power, but am as water poured out; I am nothing, for all that I am is no more than an image of Being, and only God is my I AM." -- Jacob Boehme
"The ineffable sweetness of perfect union cannot be described with the tongue, which is a finite thing. Lovely beyond loveliness is the home of the soul in perfect union with Me. Nothing stands between us, because she has become one thing with Me." -- God speaking to Catherine of Sienna
"If Love kindles a fire in you, you will feel it burning up your self and devouring all ego -- all of that which you call 'I' and 'me'." -- Jacob Boehme
Duality is the great challenge confronting the struggling mystic-activist. God / creation... spirit / life... soul / body... light / dark... good / bad... beautiful / ugly... and on and on. Yet, the Holy One is One Love: That which unites (wraps) everyone - everything in an all-embracing "Hug" (the ultimate string theory?): into one indivisible whole. This, "Only One", is the only Reality: "we" are not enlightened because we are, all of us, clinging to our separate selves... Our spiritual practices then are meant to be the means to forgeting ourselves... together, they are meant to put us in the proximity of enlightenment: You! There is Nothing outside the One -- Only One exists: enlightenment is seeing only this truth, speaking only this truth, and serving only this truth.
"Know that when you learn to lose yourself, you will reach the Beloved. There is no other secret to be learnt, and more than that is not known to me." -- Al-Ansari
"When you know yourself, your 'I-ness' vanishes and you know that you and God are one and the same."
-- Ibn Arabi
"What you most want,
what you travel around wishing to find,
lose yourself as lovers lose themselves,
and you'll be that." -- Attar
"In the Unity there is no distinction, the Quest and the Way and the Seeker become one." -- Mahmud Shabistari
"From the beginning of eternity God lies on a maternity bed giving birth to the All." -- Meister Eckhart
Enlightenment is the will to fully engage in the struggles of life -- in love and service -- of the One in each and every sister and brother: to live as the lover in the arms of the Beloved -- moment-by-moment: adoration... service... adoration... transformation...YOU are worthy of perfect Love! Where dualism ends, enlightened consciousness begins... Ever-present in both the heart and the breath: isn't this the experience of the Lover and the Beloved? Love is the mirror of the Only One held up before the face of everyone and of all creation: grace is the willing glance, enlightenment is remembering the look! (So long as we dwell in our bodies, this "glance and remembering" is as near to union as we can get).
The love of the Lover and the Beloved is the essential illumination every human heart hungers for: to live everyday as a mirror-image of the Love Hunger of the Holy One. So draw close to your Beloved... heart to heart, face to face, surrender and adore... Now, as in a mirror, match movement-for-movement: pour yourself out for your Beloved, for every sister and every brother, for every creature and for all of creation: when someone says again to "pass the bottle" realize that you are the Cup... and when someone else says it's time to "light up" remember that you already are the Flame...
So, you want enlightenment do you? Close -- then open your eyes -- Become a Mother: Become the Food of the Universe. Be Love. Act Love. Now.
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.