Enlightenment is the ability
to put things in perspective.
We all want to be enlightened. In order to be enlightened we have to put everything in the correct perspective. It’s not complicated but it has to be in the right perspective. So what is the foundation of this right perspective?
The first thing is that somehow or another
we have to believe within our own hearts
that what we are is more than our physical body.
Maybe sometimes that’s not easy to do. But if we can gather up the strength to realize that what we are is much, much more than what we see, that starts putting everything into perspective. That starts to show us very clearly that when certain things are happening to our body, these things don’t necessarily affect the whole essence of what we are. It may appear that that’s the case, but we know it’s not the case. So putting things in perspective is number oneto somehow or another understand and accept that there has to be something more to what we are than only what we can see and touch and feel and define.
When we do this, we start to realize that what we think we are is just a lot of words and definitions. We start to see that what we have accepted ourselves to be is a lot of history and opinions and ideas. We start to see that although these things are important they are not all of what we are. They are not all of it at all.
But if we can’t break away from the old definitions, then every day each little thing that happens to us, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, will always be perceived as something that is affecting our core nature. This condition will prevent us from thinking and believing and feeling that we are enlightened. After all, how can we have the feeling of enlightenment, if we only believe that what we are is flesh and bones and ideas and concepts and we are constantly affected by everything! So that’s number one: We must put things in the correct perspective by accepting that we are more than what we appear to be.
The second thing is to be able to muster some gratitude
for the gift of flesh and bones that we’ve been given.
First is to put flesh and bones in perspective of what it is and what it is not. But number two is to say that we’ve been given a gift of the body.
Once we have this gift, what are we going to do with it? Are we going to waste it or are we going to do something that is of importance, something that makes us feel good, something that benefits others, something that we can look at and say this was a good life?
To be grateful is a decision we make.
To say thank youeven though many times it’s very difficult to say thank you because at the moment it doesn’t appear that there is anything in our lives that we could be thankful about. To say thank you even though everyday seems to hold a day’s worth of misery. But still we have to bring up the energy within us to say thank you despite all the difficulties that appear.
How do we do that? We do that because we know that what we are is beyond the body. We come back to the basic premise that what we are is something beyond the body. If the body is suffering then it is suffering but the suffering is not permanent. The body is not permanent. None of this is a permanent situation.
We have to be vigilant and cognizant
to find things that are positive
that we can be thankful about.
So instead of running our lives by negative comments or running our lives by all the things that could have been, should have been, or would have been if only… etc., we have to be thankful. We have a life! And if we look we will see that we have been given gifts. We need to have gratitude for these. By doing that I think that we can honestly say to ourselves that we are enlightened, meaning that we have understood and have put things in perspective.
But you might say, “It’s very difficult for me to visualize that I am something more than my body. It seems like my body is all that I actually know and to think that I could be something more than my body is stretching things a bit. There is no proof and I require proof. I require at least a photograph of that other part that I can’t speak about. I require some data. I want something to show me that I am more than just what I see.” If that is your position, then you will refuse to feel that you are anything more than your body and everything that I just said will not make any sense to you. There are many people who feel that way. They are entitled to that. Many of us do want to receive precise proof of this subject in order for us to feel that we could be something more.
But on a daily basis if we open our eyes we can see thousands and thousands of examples of the most magnificent beauty that exists most of which we take for granted. The more that we open, the more we can see all kinds of situations that formerly we would have said were impossible. But, in fact, they are not impossible. They were always there. We just did not see them. So as time passes and we are open to all these other possibilities, we will see as natural things that we once called miracles, unbelievable or just coincidences. We won’t wonder why they are there or how they happened. They are as natural and normal as anything else in this life.
The thing that gives me the greatest joy is for me to be able, somehow or another, to save you precious time in seeing what I have just finished describing.
We have a very short time here. We realize we have a very short time here especially when we come in contact with people who don’t have a long time here left. When we see people who are suffering from various diseases, physical or mental, and they don’t feel good, or when we see a lot of desperation and all kinds of hardship in this life, then we see how blest we are. Just the idea that we are interested in these things and we are here in this room is a great blessing.
So we are very, very blest and we cannot take that for granted.
Sharing a Personal Experience:
I want to share an experience I had which points to the fact that we are so much more than what we think we are and that there is so much more to existence than we know. It was an experience in which I saw my beautiful teacher Poonja-ji again.
In the old days I would say this was a very strange set of circumstances, that it’s not possible that this could be. I would try to find all kinds of logical reasons and explanations for it. I would have doubts as to what actually was taking place or not taking place. All these questions that a logical mind would ask would come to me. But even with all the questions these things still happen.
One of the places I visited this summer was Istanbul, Turkey. I took a tour with a tour company. We got on the bus and went different places to see the city. We stopped at a couple of really beautiful mosques. After that we went to another place and looked around. I was appreciating what was there, and all of a sudden I decided I just wanted to walk around on my own. I left the group that we were with and I started wandering off. I walked to the back of this place and was walking around not paying much attention to where I was. Nobody was therejust me.
All of a sudden I turn around and I see a person that was sitting down on the ground. I walked by and in English he asked if I had a gift to give him. I figured he wanted money so I reached in my pocket to give him some. Then he looked at me and said, “Yudhishtara, I have been waiting for you.”
I looked at the face and I didn’t recognize who it was so I kept looking. Then I said, “How do you know me?” And he said, “I know you. I have been waiting for you.” Then I looked again and somehow it looked like it was Poonja-ji’s face. But I looked again and it became the face of somebody else. I looked again and it was Poonja-ji. And then it was another face. He kept saying, “I’m waiting for you.”
I tried to put all this stuff in perspective and it was very, very difficult to put these things in perspective. I was just wondering what is this. It must be I’m hallucinating. I kept looking and the face kept changing. It was Poonja-ji’s face and then this other faceback and forth and back and forth, rapidly changing. I tried to get the face to stay the same and I couldn’t do it. It kept changing back and forth and it kept repeating I’ve been waiting for you.
Part of me was getting frightened. What is this thing that is waiting for me? What is going to happen? Eventually he reached out and gave me a present. He said, “This is a gift. … Remember.” Then I looked around and the whole thing was gone. The whole thing was gone!
So how do you explain things like this? I was debating about even telling you this but the reason I decided to say it is because there are so many things that happen that we don’t see because we have decided not to see. Ahead of time we have been trained not to see. Then by training ourselves not to see, we can’t see.
Obviously, what I’ve just finished telling you is very, very hard to put into perspective. What do you do with this information? Logically it is not possible. I was going back and forth in my mind as to if this is possible, if this is not possible, if I was hallucinating. There was the fear I had in putting all this stuff together and at the same time still being there. Because of these things maybe it was necessary to be given a gift that says that, in fact, this did happen. Maybe it was something I needed. Maybe I was forgetting things. Maybe I was reminded again. We all have to be reminded.
We all have to be reminded because we forget. That being the case, what can I do for you to make you see that there is more than what appears? I don’t know. I try to figure out how I could possible tell you. But I’ve come to the realization that I can say what I say, do what I do, or do what I don’t do, but something inside of you has to somehow or another open up to the possibility that some of these things could be so. Not all of them, just some of them, just a tiny fraction.
I wish I knew how it happens that somehow or other people decide they are willing to accept certain types of data or information and just ponder it. Maybe it’s a matter of trust. Maybe it’s a matter of surrendering. Maybe it’s a matter of grace. Maybe it’s a matter of having looked so hard we finally don’t want to look any more. It may be an affinity we get for somebody who finally says it could possibly be so. And we’re finally willing to listen. It could be none of the above. In the meantime all that I can say is let new things come in. Keep whatever it is that you want to cherish. Keep it. But in addition to whatever you want to cherish, just let in some new possibilities.
Let in the possibility
that there could be much, much more
than what appears to be.
I’ve talked many times about energy. We’re just going to call it energy because I don’t know what else to call it. This energy, this strength that is required to see things that we’ve been trained not to see is very, very low when we spend it for protecting our identity, our ego, our history, our concepts and our accomplishments as opposed to being more open.
We have to make a conscious effort to be able to say to ourselves that all the different ideas we have about ourselves and all the different ideas others have about us, are just ideas. But we are more than those ideas. They are just ideas as to how old I am, what kind of health I have, what kind of work I do, who is my family, who is not my family, who are my friends, who are my enemies and on and on and on.
So perspective is a good subject. Straightforward! What comes first, what comes second, what comes third. If we are going to concentrate on item 100, how are we going to deal with number one? If every day all that we care about and think about is some particular problem that we’ve had for the last twenty years and we think about it day after day after day in various ways, how are we going to move on to number one? Not to minimize number 100, but number 100 is not as important as number one. When we are so-called dead, number 100 doesn’t mean anything.
So the more that we can contemplate and discuss the subject the more it comes down to the situation of what all the teachings say. All of Poonja-ji’s teachings, Ramana Maharshi’s, the Toltec’s, Buddha’s, the Tao’sall the different teachings we can look into basically say, either directly or indirectly, that what we are is more than what it appears to be.
What we are is more than what it appears to be!
But then we take a statement like that and we complicate it. We start saying is this real or is this unreal? Is this a dream or is this reality? Is this permanent or is this impermanent? What is going to happen later? What is going to happen now? Why do we have suffering? Was I born before? Will I be born again? Is there a heaven? Is there a hell? Is there this? Is there that? And on and on and on. And we forget again about number one. No matter what the particular details are, number one is very definite: We are beyond what it appears.
I’m very thankful, personally for myself, that I can now feel, I can sense, and I can perceive what I’m explaining. It feels very natural to me and I can talk about this without having any qualms about saying that this is so.
So I think it would be a great benefit to accept what I just finished saying by at least 5%. Not too much because then it would be the kind of a thing where I would be telling you what to do and you know that I don’t like thatso 5% is a good number. Not 95%, just 5%. I think if you take the 5% and you start pondering that within yourselves and you start accepting that at a 5% level, you will start opening and seeing or knowing in a different way.
Thank you, my Beloved,
for what you have given me.
Thank you for the gifts
that I have received.
Maybe I don’t know what you look like.
Maybe I don’t know where you came from.
Maybe I don’t know any of these particular things.
But I know that I’ve been given more gifts
than it is possible to imagine.
And I thank you.