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William: I went to your website and was attracted to the enlightenment quiz. I completed the questionnaire and, not noticing that some questions might have more than one answer, still got an 84. This concerns me. What does “ordinarily enlightened” mean? At first, I thought you were joking… isn’t everyone? I do not think of myself as enlightened at all, even though the definition given in the book has granted me some leeway. Please advise.
Sundari: To my knowledge, there is no one else in the world of Vedanta or any spiritual circle who refers to awareness as “ordinary” other than James. The whole point of using the term “ordinary” to define awareness is that it is just that: ordinary. There is only awareness, and you are only ever experiencing consciousness/awareness, so how much more ordinary can that be? The spiritual world has created such nonsense and hype around the word “enlightenment” with all its enlightenment myths; referring to awareness as ordinary is a good way to destroy those notions. And of course everyone is “enlightened.” When asked whether he is enlightened or not, James replies that he is neither enlightened nor unenlightened. He is the knower of both. He is the light and that which makes the light possible. The point is if you don’t understand or have incorrect ideas what enlightenment means as the person living in the world, what use is it to you?
Enlightenment is not another object to obtain no matter how much the spiritual world tries to make it so. Awareness cannot be objectified, because it is who you are. You cannot gain what you already have. Moksa, freedom, is the ability to discriminate between satya and mithya – between awareness and the objects that appear in awareness (you) – 100% of the time. When you do, you have no problem with the person or the world, because you understand them both, what makes them the same and what makes them different. There is no need to change or perfect the person or the world, because you will see them as the self sees them, as you, awareness.
But to be free of the person means that you have rendered their binding vasanas non-binding and negated the sense of doership, with karma yoga. Understanding the world means you understand Isvara, the Creator. As awareness, you know that although you are beyond the Creator and the creation; as the jiva you are subject to the laws that run the creation, so you always follow dharma. The Creator (Isvara) and the person (jiva/jagat) share a common identity with you, awareness, but you exist in different orders of reality: satya and mithya. All objects arise from awareness, are made up of awareness and depend on awareness to exist, but as awareness you depend on nothing to exist, because you are existence itself.
William: Thank you so much for consideration of my questions. I am already in your debt.
~ Love always, William
Sundari: Much love to you too, William. I highly recommend that you corroborate your reading of James’ book with as many e-satsangs at our website as possible and watch the videos too. You will find many hours of free video available af YouTube. If you like, I can send you the full Vedanta set of James teaching. Also, what would be good for your sadhana would be the 12-month teaching course at the ShiningWorld website, based on James’ subsequent book to How to Attain Enlightenment, The Essence of Enlightenment. Each course is a chapter, with questions and answers. Feel free to write anytime. We are happy to be of service.