Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Reflection on Enlightenment
There are many interpretations as to what enlightenment means and what the experience of the Buddha was on the day he declared as the earth was his witness that he was indeed free to love! Today, we tend to gravitate to the notion that enlightenment is some far off state to be worked at and perchance accomplished after a life time or many life times of heroic effort. The Buddha felt similarly and spent a great deal of time and energy engaged in rigorous spiritual practice and study before he finally came to rest at the foot of the bodhi tree.
Rest, a spiritual practice aligned with purity of heart, is what we do when we surrender, or more to the point, give up grasping toward some perfected and exalted state. Rest, Thomas Merton tells us, is a kind of simple "no-whereness and no-mindedness that has lost all preoccupation with a false or limited self." In other words, to rest is to be at peace in the possession of the sublime "Nothing". It is a radical yes to the presence of Loveand a dramatic shedding of the need to know, hold on to, or possess.
In these days of darkness, we are invited to rest in that which is unknown. Like the Buddha, we too may be exhausted from a life of too much, too many and too often. This may be our season to seek out a bodhi tree of our own.
May the deepening Darkness gently draw you into the silence ofLove.