But what is it, exactly?
Well here it is. In one single sentence, with no details left out, I give to you the pure definition of what it means to be enlightened. Behold:
Enlightenment means seeing one
The enlightened sees one, not two.
Two refers here to the seemingly dual nature of existence. “I and the world around me are two”. These two are different in the eyes of the un-enlightened. You may or may not agree…
Enlightenment means not making the distinction between self and the rest of the world. It is all one. Existence itself is one.
My apologies that it is not more intellectually stimulating than that. But enlightenment is in fact not a matter of intellect at all. It is more like a way of seeing.
Enlightenment is something to be seen, much in the same way as the color red is seen and not understood intellectually.
In fact, an intellectual understanding of light in general, and the color red specifically, helps you in no way when it comes to actually seeing the color red. Enlightenment is the same way.
Either you see it, or you don’t.
Thinking about what red might be like to experience seeing, is totally futile. Don’t even bother – just look!
But of course one needs eyes to see something in the first place. And just like you couldn’t see red without actual eyes, neither would you be able to see reality as one without a specific skill of observing it.
When it comes to seeing one, and not two, one must be able to observe without a mental filter.
A mental filter would work in the same way, as if you tried looking at something red with green shades on. What that would effectively mean, is that you would see the color brown, regardless of how good your eyes are.
A mental filter is much like putting shades on your very experience of life.
What a mental filter effectively does, is that it interprets everything that is observed.
That means that instead of seeing simply what’s seen, and nothing else, the un-enlightened sees so much more: Both the seen and the interpretations of it.
The interpretations of the mind/mental filter are complex and difficult to cover in full. Because they can be so many things.
The specific consequence that the mental filter and its interpretations has, is that it makes one incapable of seeing just one, when that is really all there is.
The mental filter makes it such, that when one observes, for instance a chair, a chair is all which is “seen”.
Sounds not too bad, does it? Well, by all means, it isn’t!
But still, the concept of chair is a creation of the mental filter which always comes in front of the observation. And therefore the clear sight of reality is obstructed. It’s not a bad thing, by no means. But it is less of a clear sight of reality…
Concepts are a form of artificial mind-constructs.
Because of these, because of the mental filter, whatever is seen is always seen along with a conceptual interpretation of it.
Check out what I claim here for yourself. Look at a chair. Are you able to see it without seeing a chair?
For a chair is not what is seen, you see. A chair is just the final conclusion as to what is seen.
But the seen is just the seen. Can you isolate that experience? Can you leave out the conclusion?
Don’t spend too long wondering of how this makes sense. It doesn’t. Just like seeing the color red doesn’t make sense. It’s just how it works.
Either you see it, or you don’t.
Seeing the artificial mind-constructs instead of the actually seen, is the mechanism through which the un-enlightened sees more than one.
When this mechanism is on, there is no limit to what the un-enlightened can see.
The un-enlightened sees meanings and interpretations in everything.
Everything is weighed and measured and concluded about.
And it all is in relation to a very special construct of mind. A special mind-filter component: The self.
The self is what separates the un-enlightened from the enlightened.
It can only exist as long as the mind filter works to create interpretations of what everything is in relation to self.
Regardless of the complexity and keen intellect that’s behind interpreting the observed, it is always either other or self.
See if you can notice this yourself, as we go through a few objects.
Set either a real or a mental check mark in front of each of the following.
Do you feel that this has got to do with you or something which is not you?
A random chair You: ☐ Not You: ☐
A person you don’t know You: ☐ Not You: ☐
A person you do know You: ☐ Not You: ☐
The voice in your head when you think
You: ☐ Not You: ☐
Your finger nails You: ☐ Not You: ☐
Your actual fingers You: ☐ Not You: ☐
Your brain You: ☐ Not You: ☐
Your cell phone You: ☐ Not You: ☐
Someone else’s cell phone You: ☐ Not You: ☐
The world You: ☐ Not You: ☐
Or perhaps you have some better suggestions, as to what you really see as you. And not you.
The point is, this distinction exists in one way or another. And it may be in different things, different concepts and interpretations, for everyone.
Perhaps you see yourself in a holy cause for battling hunger and thirst in the world.
Or perhaps you see yourself as a real son or daughter of Satan and just want to see the world burn.
It doesn’t matter. But the faculty of awareness required to see one, demands you to find these interpretations and investigating them.
What the enlightened one has done in order to see just one, is to eradicate the interpreting mechanisms of his mind.
The enlightened one does not see self in anything.
So if there’s no self in anything, what is there?
The thing is, that it comes down to that which cannot be simpler:
Everything just is. One.
Everyone sees what the enlightened sees.
But the un-enlightened one just sees so much more.
Interpretations, conclusions, ideas, beliefs, opinions, facts…
The mental filter adds whatever it can to every observation.
Erase this filter and you’re enlightened. Bam! Just like that.