Search & Read
Realised but Not Enlightened
Justin: Hey, Daniel, thanks for replying. What I actually feel is that I realised that I’m awareness two years ago. I didn’t know the teachings of Vedanta yet, but I just had this burning desire, I had to know what’s true.
Daniel: Hey, Justin, good to hear from you.
Vedanta or no Vedanta, if one has a burning desire (mumukshutva) for liberation it will be revealed one way or another. What Vedanta does do, however, is equip you with a complete toolkit to convert that realisation (experience) into hard and fast knowledge, from realisation to actualision.
Self-realisation is not moksa. “Self-realisation” is an experiential term and means that one has understood that one’s true nature is awareness. However, self-realisation is an experience. It is therefore not real in the light of Vedanta’s definition of what constitutes reality as that which is always present and never changes, meaning you can “lose” your self-realisation if the knowledge “I am awareness” is not firm.
To be self-actualised means (1) that one has fully discriminated the self from the objects appearing in it (the dharma field, one’s conditioning), that (2) that knowledge has (a) rendered the vasanas (likes and dislikes) non-binding and (b) destroyed one’s sense of doership.
Your confidence in the realisation “I am awareness” will become grounded as you continue to apply and contemplate the teachings.
Justin: The moment I understood that I’m awareness was a great moment, but soon thereafter things returned to normal… it’s an event that will always remain with me. But there really is nothing special about enlightenment, is there?
Daniel: Enlightenment is both special and not special. It’s not special in the sense that you, awareness, have never not been enlightened. You are the light that has never been endarkened. But it is special for the jiva, as it eliminates the sense of limitation, i.e. suffering.
Justin: Since there’s only one awareness, who cares if someone understands it or not? If we’re all the self, then there are no special jivas.
Daniel: Correct, there are no special jivas, as there is only one of us. This is a non-dual reality, so there is nothing to compare with. Everyone and everything is just awareness. If one doesn’t understand that reality is non-dual then comparison will arise in the mind of the ignorant.
Justin: I think a lot of teachers like to blow the whole thing up, like they’ve got the answer to every single question in existence (Neo-Advaita) and to claim a special status, like they’re very special individuals, and after enlightenment you will always feel good or something…
Daniel: You’re right, there is a lot of spiritual porn out there. Many teachers hype enlightenment to be some sort of special status or state or some mind-blowing, orgasmic spiritual event. I’m glad you’re not falling for that bogus. And as for those Neos, they don’t offer much either.
Justin: I know what I realised, but the weird thing is that thereafter I continued to want to experience something… to no avail… every experience is always coming and going. I can try to hold onto it, but sooner or later it will collapse…
Daniel: Ignorance is hardwired, Justin. A lifetime’s worth of hard conditioning is not going to just “zap” away as a result of an epiphany or from an experience of realisation.
The need to continue to experience something is due to a sense of lack and limitation, i.e ignorance. Continue to apply the teachings and eventually the wanting to experience will dissolve along with the sense of doership.
You’re correct, every experience will eventually collapse. This is why freedom is not an experience. Freedom is self-knowledge, the knowledge that “I am awareness and always free from experience.”
Justin: I continued to seek for some experience that would bring me lasting happiness, but it’s just impossible. But, hey, I don’t control what Isvara sets up for me, and since I’m awareness, I’m not involved in it.
Daniel: Yup, lasting happiness is only available in something that lasts. And the only thing that lasts, timeless in fact, is self-knowledge, aka you.
Correct, Justin doesn’t control what Isvara has set up, but Justin still has a certain degree of control with regard to his relative nature, svadharma, and “jiva actions.” And being an enquirer of liberation, he should align his actions in harmony with the total and cultivate an appropriate mind fit for self-enquiry. Make peace of mind your goal at all costs.
Correct, you, awareness, are not involved in anything. You are free from Justin and Isvara.
Justin: You know, sometimes I’m just trying to meditate on awareness all the time and the effort is tiring me out, like I still need to get a confirmation that I’m awareness and that something magical will happen. It’s just not satisfying…
Daniel: Justin, you’re trying to attain something that is unattainable. You are already are the “thing” that you’re trying to get. And the thing that you’re trying to get is not an experience either. You, awareness, are the factor that is beyond experience altogether. You are not an experience, but the knower of experience.
Meditation is a good tool to calm the mind so one can contemplate the teachings. Justin will always be limited. Something that is limited cannot attain a limitless result. This is why freedom is freedom FROM Justin. Justin and and his meditation are objects known to you, awareness.
Continue to apply the teachings of Vedanta without worrying about the result. The knowledge will do the work. Don’t worry about it.
Justin: I’d just think about it all the time, and since nothing would happen I would stop it and get frustrated with myself for not “realising.”
Daniel: Continue to apply the thought “I am awareness.” As James Swartz would say, fake it till you make it! Even though it feels fake, it’s the truth. The knowledge will eventually dissolve these doubts, and frustration will flake away.
Justin: Just recently I got to thinking that I already realised two years ago… You see… I’m a bit confused as to whether I should continue seeking or that I’m already “realised”… I just want to know! Ha, ha.
Daniel: You are realised but enlightened. Your knowledge is indirect. We now want to convert the indirect knowledge into direct knowledge. There is nothing further to seek, as you know who you are, but there is still some work to be done. Continue to apply the teachings and take it easy.
Justin: The jiva has gone through a difficult period over the past few months… maybe it’s just not glad that it can’t experience everlasting happiness… since in duality all things are in a constant state of flux…
Daniel: This shows great maturity. Good for you, Justin.
Justin: So if I had to sum my message up, it’s that I’m (1) frustrated at not being happy all the time, frustrated at being unable to do the things I want…
Daniel: Once self-knowledge is firm you won’t do for happiness, but rather just do whatever happily. Enlightenment doesn’t turn one into a never-ending bliss machine. The jiva will still experience the good, the bad and the ugly. The only difference is that he/she will know that it is not the limited body-mind and that he/she is actually the knower of the experience, whether it be good or bad.
Justin: … and (2) just want to know if my experience could have been enlightenment.
Daniel: It was a “wake up” to your true nature as awareness, but this is not enlightenment. Enlightenment is not an experience. Enlightenment is self-knowledge. Enlightenment is discriminating the self from the not-self.
Through discrimination the jiva, the individual under the spell of self-ignorance, understands that it is actually the self, limitless awareness, and not the person it thinks it is. Moksa is for and from the jiva because the self is already free. This knowledge allows the jiva to live free in this apparent reality. This means that the jiva is not bound by his or her conditioning.
Justin: Now just saying that (1) it’s all due to Isvara and (2) we’re all awareness just doesn’t cut it for me. I hope you can help me with these two points.
Daniel: The first point is due to a lack of confidence in the knowledge. This will be resolved as you continue to apply and contemplate the teachings, and as to the second point, though we’re all awareness it’s not awareness that requires the teaching but rather the jiva in the apparent reality.
I hope this helps. You’re welcome to write to me anytime.