I didn’t achieve spiritual enlightenment last Tuesday evening on my train ride home.
I did, however, at least for a few moments, realize what I’ve inherently known all along: that It is all around us, and inside of us, all the time, always, and always has been.
Of course it’s quite easy to forget It, or to become distracted or disillusioned from It.
In fact, the very moment that we label It as ‘spiritual enlightenment’, we begin to become separated from It. To try to talk about It creates a problem; a division .. unless we do so with the mutual preceding agreement that It cannot be spoken of, and that any words that follow are merely intended to help us eventually lose the need to speak of It altogether.
And so it follows that the harder we search and strive for It, the farther we get away from it.
It is nothing to attain because you cannot attain what already Is.
A moment before this brief moment of clarity I was reading “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” by Shunryu Suzuki, in which he explains the famous koan ‘the sound of one hand clapping’ is actually quite simple: “One hand is sound.”
You may have noticed I’ve been capitalizing & italicizing It in this post; that’s in honor of “This is It” by Alan Watts, who points out the same thing: “… the eternal fitness of things.”
It works better than ‘enlightenment’ because it’s less lofty and goal-oriented. It is what already Is.
Sounds so simple that a child could understand it, yes?
And in fact, they do.
Later on that evening, I was nonchalantly recapping my day at work, out at a trade show, to my family after dinner.
I wasn’t thinking about any of the above as being a ‘big deal’ at all.
I was telling them how I met some interesting people, and spoke about this or that …
… and then I remembered my experience on the train, and said “Oh; by the way, I also achieved spiritual enlightenment today”, with a smile, because I wasn’t attempting to present it as a major accomplishment.
My ten year-old son (at the time of this writing) asked, “What the heck is that?”
I gave as brief and simple of an explanation as I could, to which he replied, “Oh, so, you mean, like the way things already are right now? Ok.”
We moved on with our evening.