Can we transcend the endless conceptualisations of the mind and recognise the truth of this simple statement?
There are many ways that oneness or nonduality can be understood through the interpretive framework of the mind. But one simple way to point to it directly is by recognising that enlightenment is the experience of the presence of the infinite.
When we think about enlightenment, very often the picture we have in mind is of a huge cataclysmic event that will happen to us some time in the future. It invariably exists as a conceptual package that is being held in the mind – a set of ideas that have nothing to do with what it actually is.
The moment you are able to identify what enlightenment actually is in your ever-present experience, you see that it is always already available. From this perspective, it has nothing to do with your history, achievements, or where you are in your own personal story at any given moment. It has nothing to do with the journey you are on, in this or any other lifetime.
Enlightenment is the experience of the presence of the infinite. It really is as simple as that. The whirring cogs of the mind will endlessly form concepts and find ways to prevaricate. But this simple statement defies and undermines the mind.
Once we have discovered an infinite context that is always already present – and if we truly recognise the significance of this discovery – we begin to re-orient ourselves in relation to its presence. It becomes our North Star.
Like a ship sailing on the ocean, we navigate by using that star to find our way through the chaos and turmoil of the wind, waves and inclement weather. We know where we are headed, even amid the worst that the weather can throw at us.
In a world and culture that seems to be heading inexorably in the direction of chaos and self-destruction, this is profoundly significant. In such a challenging context, it’s all too easy to fall uncontrollably towards emotional burnout and psychological turmoil.
Far from being an avoidance strategy, awakening into an enlightened context is a critical way that each of us individually can face into what could otherwise become completely overwhelming.
The presence of the infinite becomes a beacon, a buoy, and a refuge from the storm. But if we truly become awake to this in our own experience, as well as providing a refuge, it opens up a vast space, allowing liberating light to shine into and through our awareness.
In this talk, Andrew Cohen invites us to dive into the very essence of enlightenment, and to explore what this means in an evolutionary context. Can we transcend the endless conceptualisations of the mind and recognise the majestic truth of this simple statement, honouring it as our permanent North Star?