BY URVIL JAMES VILLARUEL
Feb. 26, 2016, Toronto, ON - I have come across many definitions for this idea of "enlightenment", and this has been the most comprehensively apt description I have found, thus far: enlightenment is a complete and total state of non-attachment towards all outcomes, at all times. What this means is that, no matter what life throws your way, you are resoundingly unfazed by it because you understand that everything is as it should be; simply because it is. In essence, you are freed from your own suffering because you are un-attached towards any "wanting" state.
For some, this idea of non-attachment in order to feel no sadness; no anger; no jealousy; no resentment, sounds like a blessing. However, with it also comes no joy; no happiness; no passion; and no good-times. Why? Because all desire to feel good stems from an aversion towards feeling bad. What's more, with no contrary, how could one ever know the difference between good and bad, if there is no opposite to compare it to? Hence, a true state of “bliss” is one in which all desire has ceased via an absolute acceptance towards all that is; leaving no room for any sense of good or bad --- because both good and bad are attached states.
Attachment is the root of all suffering. The mind is the root of all attachment. If we learn to accept everything as it is, then there would be no suffering, no desire, no expectation towards any perceived outcome. But is this how we really want to live our lives? Granted, there are those of us that would welcome such states; but when being truly honest with ourselves, is it "enlightenment" that we seek or just the tools of enlightenment? We may have been coveting something that we never really wanted, all along.
The tools of enlightenment are what allow us to delve into both the attached and unattached states. The tools of enlightenment are what afford us a choice. "I know that suffering will come of this, but I choose to do it anyways." By knowing and working past our suffering when it does come, (through acceptance, awakedness and meditation) we can employ the tools necessary to move beyond all suffering and experience the most out of life. Both knowing and accepting are the means by which to exercise this more practical sense of enlightenment; or, rather, the application of enlightenment.
“We are all one,” “God is in all of us,” “I create my own suffering,” “Everything is as it should be.” I suppose a being of enlightenment would see such truths in all instances, but can you not see them as well? Maybe not in every instance, but to be aware of such truths is what allows us to tap back into that same enlightenment when times get hard; it's just a matter of applying now. That is the application of enlightenment. So, perhaps instead of continually seeking out the more illustrious and overly romanticized ideal of enlightenment - only fit for the "holiest" among us - realize that, by simply knowing, you too have become your own path towards illumination. The application of enlightenment being your tool for creating a more meaningful existence in life. Allowing yourself to become attached, just enough, so as to appreciate both the comedy and the tragedy that is our lives… To be in, but not of the world.