Intrinsically Enlightened


 Dear Vlasta Marek, my partner and I have been following you and your work for quite some time and we also attend your seminars and workshops. We both can very much relate to your teachings. The question we have is whether you have ever met anybody who has achieved enlightenment in person (perhaps here in Czech Republic)? I hope that our question isn’t too daring, we are simply wondering whether there could be a person like that living here among us.

 My answer is, no, the question isn’t too daring and it is always useful to define exactly what the enlightenment actually means. However, we should not focus on finding the enlightened person but rather to notice or seek enlightened actions and support those people who make them. As I have mentioned before: today, the Buddha or Jesus would most likely crashed against the system and the bureaucracy and they would most likely never achieved enlightenment. And even if they did, they would most certainly be prosecuted for their actions and non-actions (like non payment of taxes for instance), and the different nature of their personalities would most likely be labelled as pathologic (by today’s psychiatric standards).

 In relation to that, Stanislav Grof said: “According to the traditional approach in psychiatry, the spiritual experiences of the saint and the enlightened people from our history indicate serious psychopathological states of mentally ill people. The psychiatry literature is full of articles and books on the possible diagnoses of the famous personalities from our history. To name some names, specifically Jesus Christ, Prophet Mohamed, Ramakrishna, or St. Anton. Their visionary transpersonal experiences are very often labelled as serious psychosis of schizophrenic type or epilepsy as in case of Prophet Mohamed.St. John would have been labelled as having some congenital degenerative disease and St. Therese would be branded hysterical and psychotic.”

 Besides, we tend to demand a lot more from an enlightened person. Thanks to testimonials and history literature we now know what such person should look like, what they should talk and act like. If Jesus or Buddha would live among us today, we would probably not even realize that (or recognize them). Jerry Mander writes in his book “In the Absence of the Sacred”, that our technologically focused (it begs to say“confused”) civilization has fundamental impact on thinking processes of the individuals as well as the planetary ecosystem and its “less developed” inhabitants. The name of his book is very aptly pointing out the issue: we are completely ignorant of the sacred nature of some places on Earth. If we feel the need to launch a few nuclear rockets somewhere in the Pacific, we simply relocate the native people to some other “suitable” place. We laugh at the Australian aborigines’refusal to deep drill their land for the same reason as some red Indian tribes refuse to plough the soil, so that it wouldn’t hurt the Mother Earth.   

 Well, what can we do with it? As I hinted above, we should look for and support enlightened actions (rather than a person). There are many people in the world who by acting in enlightened way became enlightened. For example, the Dalai Lama was not considered to be enlightened in the traditional sense of the word, however he lived his whole life in an environment which treated him as such being, he has been acting in enlightened way throughout (as it was expected of him) and eventually became enlightened.

 H. W. L. Poonja (1910-1997), who was a student and later a secretary of the famous Shri Ramana Maharishi, had a speech at a gathering of like-minded people and students of spirituality. The 8 minute long video (available to view on Youtube) shows a female student asking to“only sit by the guru”. Papaji, as they called him, asked her to come forward and started talking with her. It only took him a few minutes to take her through her own “dead end” thoughts and reasoning and she suddenly realised that the only obstacle in her own way is herself. And at that point she was “enlightened”.

 I would recommend you watch this video named “spiritual awakening in four minutes” as a real life example of the practical spirituality. Every word he utters, his every gesture and laughter beams with limitless unconditional love to all people and living creatures. His ability to be and live in meditation is incredible: he is able to be fully present, focused and kind, at the same time just chat or provoke thoughts and then within matter of seconds to quiet and perfectly calm down his mind and thoughts into meditative state. In this video, the message I took is simple: for anyone of us, it only takes a decision, start acting on it and patiently persevere, we have all our lives to do it. It also shows that from an untrained person’s perspective, the enlightenment is almost like a gap in reality of what is possible. In the above example of the female student, her gained insight (kensho) should be followed by a cultivation of this gift with her own efforts to achieve something greater. However this seems to be increasingly difficult in the pressures of the world we created for ourselves (I mean, our consumer society and our selfishness). It takes a lot more for every individual as it is practically unfeasible to blend the challenges of our everyday lives with the high aims of becoming an enlightened being. But it is not impossible.

 Last but not least: in today’s world, the Buddha or Jesus would most likely never be born as potentially enlightened beings. As I keep saying, one of the main reasons are the medicalized hospital births, likely traumatic and/or via a caesarean section. They would be just as “damaged” as any of our children today and became just the normal human beings as any one of us. The solution as you may guess is, in the first place, to change the way we are born into this world and anyone of you future mothers could potentially give birth to the next enlightened one. I would say, let’s not ask where we can find that person or what  he/she could do for us but ask what we can do for the future enlightenment.  It’s in our own hands..

 To give birth, is to give ourselves a future. Childbirth is not only a physiological event but also a spiritual one (and in another meaning also“Buddhist”one). During pregnancy, at (natural) childbirth and the following nine months after birth, the woman can act and think in an enlightened way if she doesn’t stand in her own way. You, your partners and your naturally born children are potentially intrinsically enlightened, and can become the Maitreyas, the future buddhas.