The realization of Enlightenment is not a denial of individuality
but rather the embrace of the higher individuation beyond ego, namely Unique Self.
In this post we continue with Part 2 of the Democratization of Enlightenment Video Series. Following the video is Part 2 of my recent Center for World Spirituality white paper, called “Three Steps to the Democratization of Enlightenment,” which was originally published in the October 2012 issue of Integral Leadership Review. This is the first time it has ever been seen online.
The Democratization of Enlightenment – Part 3:
Why World Spirituality, Why Now?
Three Steps to the Democratization of Enlightenment
(Part 2 of 3)
By Marc Gafni
Originally published in print, in the October 2012 issue of Integral Leadership Review.
Continued from Part 1…
Enlightenment is an awesome thing. It changes the game in every way.
It is probably the single most important commodity of consciousness necessary for your personal fulfillment and depth. Want to be free? Want to be good? Want to be creative? Tap into enlightened consciousness and you are on the way!
Enlightenment is also the single most important evolution of consciousness necessary to create the kind of global commons and We-space necessary to chart successfully the next steps in the great Universe story. Enlightenment is the mind/heart technology that is absolutely essential if we are to transcend the contractions of individual and national ego that are the source of so much suffering. Only an enlightened community of nations can take this planet and all of us living in it the next critical step. So anyone who cares about their own life, the life of their loved ones and the life of their children and grandchildren – necessarily must care passionately about Enlightenment.
There are even those of us that are calling for the “democratization of Enlightenment” as the critical next step in the evolution of consciousness. That means that for the first time in history – Enlightenment needs to – and can – become a genuine option for the average Joe. No longer the exclusive province of the esoteric elites, Enlightenment has come down from the mountain and is seeking the Promised Land. The Promised Land is the democratization of Enlightenment in which enlightened consciousness will become – to different degrees – available to ordinary human beings. The democratization of Enlightenment is not entirely dissimilar to the democratization of governance that took place in the eighteenth-century when democracy replaced monarchy. In the same way – a world which is top-down driven by authority can now move towards an authentic democratization of Enlightenment.
And yet for all of that, the conversation on Enlightenment lives on the fringes of society. The people talking about it in niche publication are few. The amount of people who would say that Enlightenment is a core goal of their life is fewer than few. Enlightenment is rarely taken seriously in the mainstreams of our society. It is certainly not considered a genuine option for the normal, healthy, well-adjusted individual who is gainfully employed and in loving relationship. As a matter of fact if you mention genuine spiritual Enlightenment in particular places it may cost you big time. For example, if Barack Obama were to talk about becoming spiritually enlightened as a goal for Americans or others around the world – he would most certainly lose the upcoming election. If you put Enlightenment in the title of your book you may rest assured that you will lose at least fifty percent if not significantly more, of your readership.
But if Enlightenment is so good, if it can deliver on such significant promises both for the individual and culture, then why is to not taken seriously? I mean really, if Enlightenment can move you past the petty contractions of your coiled narcissistic ego, and open you up to vast love, intention, energy, and wisdom, who wouldn’t want it? Maybe it is just a marketing question? Enlightenment clearly seems to need a good marketing firm (naturally one that is hip to the cutting edges of social media). Marketing companies manage to achieve stable profitability through marketing candy bars, salad dressing and all manner of home appliances. Surely Enlightenment is not harder to market then salad dressing.
This really is a conundrum. Enlightenment is the ultimate product with the best endorsements around, from all of the world’s mystical traditions. All of them walked the Enlightenment path, did the Enlightenment practices and came out significantly transformed. And it is in a sense a product, which everyone is in need of, in a pretty dire kind of way. So what seems to be the problem? Why does Enlightenment not go mainstream?
Stated simply there seem to be two core issues that we need to understand if we are going to open up the genuine possibility of Enlightenment going viral. This is a critical issue simply because Enlightenment going viral – what we have called the democratization of Enlightenment – is precisely the kind of evolutionary shift in consciousness we so vitally need to successfully respond the new world conditions. Utterly essential issues like world hunger, infant mortality, poverty and much more would begin to disappear if we reached a critical mass of people holding some level of enlightened consciousness. Both of these core issue will be addressed in the remainder of this article, so keep reading.
The first is: What is Enlightenment? Underneath all of the spiritual platitudes and generic sound bites, no one seems to be too sure just what is Enlightenment anyways.
So let’s clarify this issue. That will not be hard to do because Enlightenment is actually very clear. Enlightenment is not an advanced spiritual state for the elites. Rather – stated very simply – Enlightenment is sanity. No more and no less. Now, once we understand that Enlightenment is sanity, the idea that it should be limited to the spiritual elites becomes absurd. Sanity is not a commodity for the elites; it is a survival necessity for virtually everyone.
So what do we mean when we say that Enlightenment is sanity?
Simple. Say you and I meet and I tell you that I am Barack Obama. When I say it the first time it might be funny. The second time is a bit strange. But clearly you assume that I KNOW that I am not really Barack Obama. But after a while I keep insisting that I am, and you realize that I actually think I am Barack Obama. At this point you realize that I am insane. Insanity means – among other things, the inability to correctly identify yourself. If you think you are someone other than who you really are, well that is more than a bit crazy. Sanity means to know your true identity.
The basic premise of enlightened realization is that you are not merely a skin-encapsulated ego. You are not merely your separate self. The belief that you are merely a separate self is simply stated – insane. Really crazy. The realization of Enlightenment is that YOUR true self is THE true self. And that the total number of true selves in the world is One. The realization of Enlightenment informs you that you are not separate. You are not separate from the whole, from source, from all of reality. You are an indivisible part of a larger whole, indeed the largest whole – the seamless coat of the universe. When you wake up, you know your being to be inextricable and indivisible from consciousness itself. You furthermore realize that that entirety of the largest field, the God field, and reality itself – lives in you as the essence of your being. This confusion between thinking you are merely a separate self and not a True Self is far more significant than the relatively minor identity confusion between Marc Gafni and Barack Obama. This is a massive confusion in identity. Said simply to think you are merely a separate self is well … kinda of crazy. It is insanity. To wake up to your true nature, which is your True Self, your correct identity, is not an advanced spiritual state. It is simply sanity. Now you understand what I meant earlier when I said, Enlightenment is Sanity.
Once you get this, my next statement will sound a little less crazy. Here it is. Not only does Enlightenment equal sanity but also “normal” consciousness is insane. That means that what is called normal consciousness – meaning your default experience, as a separate self – is really crazy. Insane. Now if you do not think normal consciousness is insane then remember this: normal consciousness is the belief that you are a separate self. It is the core human experience of separate self that produces most human suffering. The root of brutal conflict, grasping, pettiness and murder of all forms is the delusion that you are a separate self. As separate self you protect your turf and inflict pain and hurt on those who seem to violate your space. The deluded consciousness of separate self is directly responsible for twenty million children dying in the world this year! – of malnourishment and starvation. Is that not insanity, my friends? The deluded consciousness of separate self is directly responsible for one hundred million people being brutally killed by other people in the twentieth century alone. Is that not insanity, my friends?
So now the equation makes sense. Simply put, Enlightenment is sanity. Normal consciousness is insane. Clearly if Enlightenment means sanity, then the democratization of Enlightenment is not a luxury but an absolute necessity. We all need to be fundamentally sane! Occasionally we might get a bit crazy and think that we are merely separate selves but we always need to return to our core sanity. Sanity = knowing the nature of your reality, which at minimum means to know your True Identity.
But we are still not home yet! A huge conundrum still exists which really is the proverbial elephant in the room. If Enlightenment is so great then how come so few people care about it? That was the question with which we started our conversation but now it has immeasurably deepened. Enlightenment not only liberates you from unnecessary suffering. Enlightenment not only awakens you to be lived as love. Enlightenment not only frees you from the desperate fears of the small self and awakens you to your larger True Self.
More then all of that – which is really a lot – Enlightenment is sanity itself. Well that is a pretty important commodity of consciousness. But if it’s so important, then why do so few people care about it? Why does putting it on the cover of your book lose you a huge part of your mainstream audience? (I am hoping my new book, Your Unique Self, The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment, will be the exception and not the rule. So far so good!)
My fellow Enlightenment teachers – who are awesome in so many ways, virtually all give some version of the following two answers. The ego is very clever. It does not want to die. Since Enlightenment means dying to your ego, the ego does everything it can to prevent you from being enlightened. It holds on for dear life to prevent its own death. The ego holds on to its own story of being a separate self, a skinencapsulated ego. Sometimes the teachers add a second reason as well to explain why Enlightenment is just not catching on. It is hard they say. It takes an enormous amount of practice to have a genuine opening to your True Self. People are lazy. They do not want to put the time or effort in to do the work. Now clearly both of these explanations of why Enlightenment is not catching fire around the world have some merit. But really only limited merit. Both explanations are true but partial. You see these explanations by the Enlightenment teachers put all of the onus on the students – that is you, dear reader – who are just not getting it. Or just not willing to work hard enough. Or they demonize the ego and make it the all-powerful villain who is capable of stopping you from reaching your natural Enlightenment. Well… maybe…
To be continued in Part 3…
For the full article by Marc Gafni (posted as a PDF)…