Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English

Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English Patrice Berube 2/23/22 11:51 AM
RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English Chris M 2/23/22 1:52 PM
RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English Patrice Berube 2/23/22 2:03 PM
RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English Chris M 2/23/22 4:07 PM
RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English Patrice Berube 2/24/22 8:12 PM
RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English Jim Smith 2/24/22 3:02 PM
RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English Patrice Berube 2/24/22 3:16 PM
RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English Chris M 2/24/22 3:25 PM
RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English Patrice Berube 2/24/22 4:27 PM
RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English Chris M 2/25/22 6:23 AM
RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English Ni Nurta 2/25/22 7:07 PM
RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English Patrice Berube 2/25/22 9:10 PM
RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English Ni Nurta 2/26/22 3:58 PM
RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English Patrice Berube 2/28/22 10:57 AM
RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English Ni Nurta 3/1/22 4:19 PM
RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English Patrice Berube 3/10/22 3:25 PM
RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English Chrollo X 2/25/22 11:47 PM
RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English Patrice Berube 2/26/22 1:30 PM
RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English Chrollo X 2/26/22 2:25 PM
RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English Jim Smith 2/26/22 5:38 AM
Patrice Berube, modified 9 Months ago at 2/23/22 11:51 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 2/23/22 11:19 AM

Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English

Posts: 39 Join Date: 9/15/10 Recent Posts
With all of the terms and concepts in the meditation world, things like jhana, the many possible states and altered states of consciousness, the many realms, healing, concentration, Buddha-nature, stream-entry, the many meditation practices, the many paths etc... it's easy to get confused as to what awakening and enlightenment is.
​​​​​​​
So here is my take on this, I wrote this thinking of what could have helped me wrap my head around this when I was a seeker.

​​​​​​​When we were just born, we had no idea what a car was, what a family was, what stress was, what goals or regrets were etc...
We had no feeling of "me" inside yet.
​​​​​​​But soon, the first sense of "me" was created, and from then on our mind accumulated more and more "me/mine/my" constructs as we grew older.
"This is my body, my mom, my toys..." and eventually getting more complex "this is my dreams, my goals, my desires for others etc..."

Soon enough a series of feelings of "me" and their associated stories were present all day long from morning to night.
My things and my emotions in relation to them. we plan/regret, feel excited/sad/angry/frustrated/anxious/bored etc. about all of the me/mine/my constructs that we accumulated, and this is all day long without any breaks.

This is what the ego is, the false self. It is nothing but a collection of "me" sensations.
This is what we become free from when we awaken, we awaken from the illusion that we were our false sense of self, our accumulated identity.

​​​​​​​When we become enlightened, the sense of "me" drops from the experience completely. From the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed at night, no matter what happens.
We still have everything we use to, except there are no feelings of ownership anymore, no more possessiveness of anything.

This is freedom

​​​​​​​I hope this helps you awaken

​​​​​​​ps: If you're on Instagram and you like this content, give me a follow https://www.instagram.com/awakening_for_everyone/
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Chris M, modified 9 Months ago at 2/23/22 1:52 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 2/23/22 1:28 PM

RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English

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When we become enlightened, the sense of "me" drops from the experience completely. 

My personal clarification of this, from my own experience, is that the I"/me/mine" sense never completely goes away. Rather, we come to see it as impermanent. There are many selves, cobbled together by the mind to suit our immediate circumstances. These myriad selves only seem to form a permanent identity which we then assume is continuous. 
Patrice Berube, modified 9 Months ago at 2/23/22 2:03 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 2/23/22 2:03 PM

RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English

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thank you for sharing your experience!

In my experience, a clear shift has happened, when there used to be a sense of "me" in the center.
but this sense has vanished, it's just not there anymore.

there are other subtle mind constructs that sort of take ownership of the experience, but it is not the same and they are lacking that feeling, that sense of "me".

to clarify some more, when I say the words "I'm ME, this is MY experience, MY sadness, MY dream..." for instance, no special feeling is present.
it is the same as saying "this is a table, this is a car".
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Chris M, modified 9 Months ago at 2/23/22 4:07 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 2/23/22 4:07 PM

RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English

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That's fine. I was trying to avoid having the actuality of the not-self experience overstated in a potentially confusing way. Saying there is no self *at all* post-awakening s misleading.
Patrice Berube, modified 9 Months ago at 2/24/22 8:12 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 2/24/22 1:55 PM

RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English

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I would like to clarify what I believe awakening and enlightenment to be:

awakening: is the experiential realization that there is no "me", everything is just happening, and everything is empty of intrinsic meaning or value and is the product of cause and effect.

enlightenment: is the result of the dissolution of all of the me/mine/my centers, which happens as a result of recognizing them as what they are, empty of intrinsic meaning or value and the product of cause and effect.

*I modified this post slightly after Chris M. reply below which made me realize that the phrasing was misleading 
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Jim Smith, modified 9 Months ago at 2/24/22 3:02 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 2/24/22 3:02 PM

RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English

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Patrice Berube
...

​​​​​​​I hope this helps you awaken

...


In order to awaken, most people need more than a definition of awakening. Usually people have to practice meditation or something like that.

What do you advise people to do so they can become awakened?

Thanks
Patrice Berube, modified 9 Months ago at 2/24/22 3:16 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 2/24/22 3:08 PM

RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English

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Jim Smith
Patrice Berube ... ​​​​​​​I hope this helps you awaken ...
In order to awaken, most people need more than a definition of awakening. Usually people have to practice meditation or something like that.
indeed, but I feel that a clear definition like this could have helped me focus on what mattered earlier on, avoid confusion and therefore help me on my own journey, so my wish is for the same to happen to someone else.
​​​​​​​
What do you advise people to do so they can become awakened? Thanks
Please have a look at this thread where I describe the practice I used that led to the dissolution of all centers for me:
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/23669142

* Please note that before cessations and stream-entry, I was practicing vipassana, both Goenka and Mahasi style
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Chris M, modified 9 Months ago at 2/24/22 3:25 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 2/24/22 3:25 PM

RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English

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Nihilism = empty of meaning or value. Truly awake and enlightened human beings are not nihilists. There is enormous value and meaning in our relationships with other beings. There is no denying that. Do you have children? Parents? Do you have any feelings for anyone or anything? I suspect what you're doing is putting all your eggs in what I would call the emptiness basket. But that's only one part of the reality of the post-awakening human condition. 
Patrice Berube, modified 9 Months ago at 2/24/22 4:27 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 2/24/22 3:43 PM

RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English

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i'm definitely not a nihilist!

I guess I didn't phrase my earlier statement precisely enough, thank you for pointing this out.

Value and meaning are mind constructs, they do exist but are relative, dualistic in nature.
they are essentially thoughts in reaction to some objects, and all thoughts are the product of cause and effect.
but there's nothing wrong with that, relative meanings and value are just fine, it just happens to seemingly be the nature of all phenomena in reality.

without the selfish me/mine/my center, all there is left is a kind of universal acceptance and openness for everyone and everything, including relative meaning and value, as opposed to selfish focus, desires, cravings and emotional reactions of the me/mine/my construct in relation to its associated object
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Chris M, modified 9 Months ago at 2/25/22 6:23 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 2/25/22 6:19 AM

RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English

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Construct it is, but language has meaning to people and what you stated earlier was nihilism. This last version is better  emoticon
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Ni Nurta, modified 9 Months ago at 2/25/22 7:07 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 2/25/22 7:07 PM

RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English

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Most definitions of enlightenment people have seems to be about eliminating things in which they themselves overindulged and then projecting it as some sort of universal solution to issue that everyone supposedly have.

Like here, sense of self. Who even has issue with sense of self?*
I mean before thinking everyone wakes up thinking about me/I/mine/etc it would make sense to eg. observe people to see if they do that.

Usually people do what they do which is completely automatic and from time to time check if they feel good or need something which is also automatic. These limited number of moments is when person should reaffirm themselves they feel good, not by talking (which only wakes up talking mind) but by feeling for a moment some pleasure they generated internally. Everyone can make themselves feel good in some way. The less conditions the better. Even visualizing smile works. Probably better for being happy than thinking of oneself as enlightened. Do it once and next time mind wants to check how it feels the answer will be even automatically provided the same. Then when mind evaluates how it felt for the whole day it will be smile smile smile... must have felt smiling for the whole day... GREAT! How did I feel for the last week, month, year... smile, bliss, happiness, excitement, love, equanimity... ALL IS OK!

It is that simple.
Few moments where body wants to know how things are and runs mind to evaluate itself has power to make or break our perception of our whole lives. If answer is consistently 'I would feel good but I need...' then it will be gloomy report by the end of the quarter.

That said memory of these moments is not very solid. It is subject to manipulation. That is why I when see dharma books starting with "Fact #1 You are miserable. Fact #2 You were always miserable Fact #3 You need enlightenment Fact #4 Buy this book as it your only hope" I get mad. The only purpose it has is to make people miserable for the benefit of only person who sells book.

And if that was not clear enough then let me rephrase it: PEOPLE DO NOT NEED SUCH ISSUES OR THESE SOLUTIONS
Meditation and practices should be only about self discovery. So that people know what they are and what their minds can do. If they practice the right way they can discover all they need to make themselves feel any way but that only serves purpose of increasing variety of ways person can feel like and not to make them be able to feel good. It is not even needed. And certainly doesn't make person who can feel different better. Maybe more interesting for anyone who was never introduced to these mind states as personal trait which then can be projected outward eg. during a party or meeting. If you want to make good impression on meetings then having 4th path is a cool party trick. Everyone will feel from you something they do not get at home. Otherwise completely pointless exercise, I could feel just as good when I was just born.

*) The selfing is and all the 'mine' thinking is an issue of children. Some people just do not grow up out of it completely. This is of course something people should work to solve. Not however as in elimination of anything. Just not thinking about it all so much. However hard this issue of how to best approach this issue is setting things in such a way to make people obsess about self and some imaginary enlightenment far away is not the way. Rather than this nonsense it is just better to serve as the example. People ask questions with their body, even with tone in their voice. Say to them you are happy, that they themselves are happy, as an experience you experience. They will remember that when they wondered about themselves they didn't think what they lack but that they are happy. Next time they ask themselves how they feel they will feel they are happy.

This is why happy people do not see much unhappy people and all unhappy people see mostly unhappy people.
And regarding that, do you see other people as happy? If not then perhaps your mind state is not very positive. Actually I know this state, I've done it all. Rather than fixing yourself just ask someone how you feel, they will give you all that you need to get new perspective. Out of that you will be able to improve yourself in such a way you will be able to serve others in the way your mood will be vibrant variety they will like and not gloomy 'everyone suffer, last chance to not suffer so much is to kill self' that such message as you posted radiate and which could only draw depressed people in to you also confirming in your eyes you are right. Everyone has such issue... it's just that this is not the case.

BTW. This is judging book by the cover.
Have no idea what is inside. Maybe this whole nihilist advertisement is just to draw depressed people and inside it have more healthy message and it doesn't make people actually loose their me/I/mine experiences and rather put them in right context which is one way to do it right... In any case if that is not the case you can always write next book when you change your mind ;)
Patrice Berube, modified 9 Months ago at 2/25/22 9:10 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 2/25/22 7:53 PM

RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English

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thank you for chiming in but this is no "nihilist advertisement", nowhere close to that.
realizing that we are not our accumulated sense of "me" has nothing to do with nihilism, it has to do with self knowledge, self realization, self liberation...

you seem to be promoting trying to be a good person to live a happy life, and having a collection of tricks to make ourselves feel good and avoid feeling bad, and maybe have some resentment towards spiritual enlightenment? or you do not believe in such a thing as spiritual enlightenment?

​​​​​​​I agree with you, being happy is great and spiritual enlightenment is not needed, the vast majority of humans never even considered or heard of enlightenment; but it is a possibility, a biological possibility in my opinion.

​​​​​​​are you familiar with non-duality at all?
I didn't invent that people walk around with a contracted sense of "me", and experience life from this point of view as an identity experiencing life being the doer and the victim of life, and that this sense of "me" is what is resisting life and causing suffering. I maybe wrong but this is more or less common knowledge in the spiritual world as far as I'm aware.

what I was trying to do with this post is to clarify exactly what that sense of "me" is and where it comes from.

Hope this helps!
Chrollo X, modified 9 Months ago at 2/25/22 11:47 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 2/25/22 11:47 PM

RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English

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So when you're walking around town or in your house you don't feel a sense of self? Don't you need a sense of self to move about in the world? 
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Jim Smith, modified 9 Months ago at 2/26/22 5:38 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 2/26/22 5:37 AM

RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English

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I am not posting this as a criticism of the opening post. However there are various opinions about what awakening is and I would like to show one here in case other readers might fine it interesting:

From The Science of Enlightenment by Shinzen Young:
We would like to think that enlightenment is a unity that grows in a uniform way. But actually, it is a many-dimensional process. Usually growth in one dimension facilitates growth in the others, but not inevitably. Sometimes a person can become stunningly proficient with regard to certain dimensions of spiritual empowerment while under-emphasizing other aspects. In my way of thinking, the ultimate reason to experience liberation is to better serve others. 
Patrice Berube, modified 9 Months ago at 2/26/22 1:30 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 2/26/22 12:38 PM

RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English

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No, it's all gone.

It is not needed.life happens spontaneously without a "me" that takes it personally.

And it's not that I don't take things personally, it's not taken personally by default, on its own, taking things personally doesn't happen.

What's left is everything as it is.Like Frank Yang says "when you finally lose the center/self, there's nothing BUT the whole world, but it is not YOUR world, it is the world AS IT IS"

It's actually difficult for me to remember what it used to be like to walk around with a sense of "me" all the time, and it's only been a little more than a year 

At the end of the day, the "me" is only a feeling, a sensation in you.Not having a "me" that's irritated because it doesn't get exactly what it wants doesn't impede life, in fact it makes it easier, it flows much better as it is the "me" that wants things to be a certain way and gets upset when it doesn't, it is the "me" that feels lonely, sad, angry, needy, irritated at life etc...

For example, I use to often wake up in the morning thinking and feeling grumpy "why do I have to work, why couldn't I be rich so I could wake up when I want and only do the things I want" and even blaming and feeling resentful to myself and my partner for not working harder in the past and saving more money so we would be in a better place financially. then I would drag myself through my morning routine with many more "me" and their complains showing up in succession throughout the day.
At work receiving notes from clients would send me in a grumpy spiral, and this is a common occurrence that happens several times a week!

Not having those anymore result in not having the mood ruined first thing in the morning, and being present by default and appreciating much more like the taste of the toasts at breakfast, the view on my commute to work, the sound of the birds etc... The grumpy "me" was too busy feeling grumpy and the victim of his circumstances to care about the birds chirping, or enjoying seeing the family walking up and walking around, or the taste of the simple toasts.
​​​​​​​"Who cares about the taste of the toasts, the bird chirping, the smell of the flowers or the view? I have real problems to deal with!"
And it's difficult to do our best at work if we're grumpy and in a bad mood in relation to the tasks on our plate.

Our default state seems to be openness, a kind of light joy. But the "me" is covering that with its feelings about whatever it's associated object is. Every"me" has its own object it is attached to.We have a me that is identified with this body, another me that has a family, another me that's a fan of a specific sport etc... (Refer to the original post above for more examples)

When the me feel angry in this moment, the system is not open and joyful anymore, it is contracted and feels angry about a specific subject in this moment. In fact the whole world seems to disappear in this moment and the only thing that exists for us is whatever subject that were angry about.

Just like the classic example often used for comedy in movies, of a "me" being really horny and only be thinking about that, maybe doing all kind of things out of character like a fever he can't shake, until the orgasm happens then he wakes up from that daydream "what the hell was I thinking??". For that time the system was obsessed with sex, forgetting the whole world and the moment it's done, the world reappeared.

And from the me that's angry about something, it then shift to the me that's feeling lonely, anxious about something else, shame about something, horny about someone, irritated about something else, then annoyed at something else, then impatient, the excited etc..

​​​​​​​As a person, our life is a endless succession of these little "me" and how they feel about their respective object.
​​​​​​​and endless daydream.
Chrollo X, modified 9 Months ago at 2/26/22 2:25 PM
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RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English

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Wow. I'll have what you're having please! Thanks for sharing your kind example here. I'm inspired by your grace.  
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Ni Nurta, modified 9 Months ago at 2/26/22 3:58 PM
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RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English

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[spiritual]
Patrice, regarding spirituality I do not have resentment toward enlightenment but I had toward the way people handle their spirituality in general. You know, it is way too automated, lifeless.
I will never get generic spiritual enlightenment because I already terminated my contract long time ago so that option flew out of the window. Or was it terminated for me?

Not only that but I actually did bother with spirituality after that and seeing what happens threatened to destroy service providers if they bothered me. Not that I think it is a good idea or doable for someone like me with no power, just shows my attitude. Rather than swirling around in some carousel waiting for a spiritual ticket or whatever people do in the club I went outside to hone my skills in spiritual matters to become someone. Somehow my spiritual products sold and my business grew until I was able to make good living outside the grid. Better than most members actually. Some shenanigans later I am inside as an employee. It is different kind of contract and I am not a member still. I keep people inside as main day job by detecting and patching leaks.

So that would be that related to that. Spiritual matters are funny to put in words.
I have actual spiritual abilities and assets and not tokens. Token economy is something I do not quite get. I mean I get appeal and purpose but seriously mixing souls and finances together wasn't a good idea. People are always so confused about these things.

Anyhoo, I am enlightened, seven years, outside the grid. Constant battle of wills, cannot contain me in their processing plant, went outside and inside kind of story.
I cannot really relate to inside issues. I was kicked out because of I had attached strings or something ;)
[/spiritual]

I put this post in special tags to comply with something. 
And you? I mean your story emoticon

Actually I never described this online.
Probably because it was always better to talk about neurons getting tired and need to develop ways to make them rest. They like their rest you know and most issues we experience is because of them not getting enough rest. Spiritual situation doesn't matter, if neurons are tired everyone have bad time.

Spiritual matters just do not come up all that often and people cannot really talk about it. Are you bound by anything? Spiritually I mean. I am absolutely clean, all my spiritual assets near me and babes know where to find me. Cannot be more free emoticon
Patrice Berube, modified 9 Months ago at 2/28/22 10:57 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 2/27/22 6:13 PM

RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English

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Ni Nurta [spiritual] Patrice, regarding spirituality I do not have resentment toward enlightenment but I had toward the way people handle their spirituality in general. You know, it is way too automated, lifeless.

I get that emoticon

As a person/seeker, I was the type to keep to myself.
I remember I wanted to share and teach meditation and spirituality and even wanted to make money out of it. it seemed like an ideal life, helping others and making money doing it. But I also had the thought "let me finish then we'll see what I want to do then".

I attended a couple of Goenka courses and a few yoga courses as well, but other than that I was not involved with groups or communities, it seemed unnecessary to me as a seeker for progress, it even seemed limiting so I kept doing my thing on my own.
Even after stream-entry where some say that it's a good time to start teaching, something felt wrong because I knew I had hidden, unpure motivations, some motivated by fear.
So that's why I was never involved too much with any online or real-life communities.
​​​​​​​
and i'm a married man, I never truly considered becoming a monk, always kept my job and still do today.
I believed at the time that having this high-pressure job kept me honest, kept my ego from running away from all the things it hated and ended up being a great source of disturbances, forcing me to face my demons, my fears and transcend them all.
As a person, I used my job to stirrup the accumulated identity and purify the system of all the needy "me".

I was also the type to be attracted by many different traditions and teachers.
Daniel Ingram was the biggest influence that set some strong foundations, but the list of teachers that had an influence on me is very long and diverse.
Every time a teacher from some tradition would say or do something that didn't resonate, or that I didn't understand, or that would annoy my ego in some way, I would expose my mind to him/her until I felt it clicked. Then the interest for that teacher would disappear. 
This exposure to all of these teachers and traditions gradually expanded my mind and removed judgments and close minded-ness.

In retrospect, I don't know what was so difficult to understand as everything seem to be self-evident but apparently, it wasn't at the time emoticon 

today, I don't have any spiritual product to sell. But it's only been a little more than a year since the center/self disappeared.
"spiritual processing plants" are not part of my experience, so there are no thoughts about that but I can understand how it can possibly be a very rigid structure that can be useful in certain cases, but not a good match for everyone.
I only have my own approach which I understand to be a little different from anything else out there as far as I'm aware, it worked for me there's a thought to try to share it, perhaps it can help others too.

I'm not bound by anything spiritually, if by that you mean there would be a feeling of something, anything needing to be done?

Thanks for opening up and nice getting to know you!
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Ni Nurta, modified 9 Months ago at 3/1/22 4:19 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 3/1/22 4:19 PM

RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English

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My views are more in line with Advaita Vedanta views than most folks here. My center is experience of everything at all times.
But to be fair it is not like I reject Buddhism. More like claim people do not understand Buddhism.

Moksha as it is called in Advaita is the same thing as Nibbana but in the way as two experiences can be different. They point to the same thing but from completely different angle hence different presentation and different conclusions. Since I know both I concluded I might as well have fun in Samsara as being, this being proper middle way in this case emoticon

Can you experience Nibbana?
You do not mention it anywhere...
Patrice Berube, modified 9 Months ago at 3/10/22 3:25 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 3/10/22 3:23 PM

RE: Pointer: what is awakening and enlightenment in plain English

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Ni Nurta
My views are more in line with Advaita Vedanta views than most folks here. My center is experience of everything at all times.
same for me

A while after stream entry, I became quite fond of the Ashtavakra gita, and then the Avadhuta Gita​​​​​​​.

Can you experience Nibbana?
You do not mention it anywhere...
the way I describe Nibbana is that it's the natural space, infinity, the background of everything which is always here and has always been here.
without the "me" or any center that feels like it's an entity within a big world, all that is left is Nibbana, but there's no "me" left to experience it, it is simply the default reality emoticon 

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