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Enlightenment or Normality?

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Enlightenment or Normality?
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6/10/09 7:05 PM
Author: BradyE
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

Before I get into it, I would like to apologize for posting my last post on the main page. I didn't notice the appropriate "Discussion" section. Very sorry, I don't mean to presume my posts are in any way more important than anyone else's.

Also, thanks to responders of that post.

I'm beginning to practice regularly and read Buddhist literature.
I know exactly what I am working towards, and making progress, yet I am troubled.
I THINK I'm working towards Enlightenment, or Wisdom, or whatever,
but sometimes it seems like what I'm working towards something a lot more basic;
sometimes I think I'm just working to get to a normal place, where ALMOST EVERYONE ELSE IS AT.

My quest right now is to learn to control my mind, instead of having my mind control me; I find if I don't catch myself, I get caught up in a cycle of judgment; of myself, other people, and life in general. As a result, I will feel very depressed and hopeless.

To varying degrees of intensity, this has been my mind state for a very long time. Over the years, I have periodically achieved a state of non-judgment in which I am able to disconnect my self from my thoughts and watch objectively. Then I realize that I am not my thoughts, and I don't have to let them trick me into feeling bad. Through contemplation, conversation, long walks, meditation, etc. I have slowly come closer to being able to maintain this state of mind. I used to think of this mind state as Enlightenment, but now, I'm not so sure!

The strange thing about all this is that the state of non-attachment that I'm talking about doesn't feel supernatural in any way; it feels NORMAL.

People around me don't seem miserable or judgmental, and they usually seem happy.

Are most people enlightened, or am I just working towards normalcy, or WHAT?

RE: Enlightenment or Normality?
Answer
6/11/09 3:19 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
As a young person, I aspired to attain supernormal states. At the time, it bothered me that I was not gifted in that area. I'm still not. I did not easily visualize or have altered states experiences. I kept on doing my humble practice (and it was indeed a humble practice). And the interesting thing that happened was that I started to see that 'normal' was as much a mental label as anything else.

At that time, I got a big kick from reframing aspects of my experience. Healing, vision, physical locomotion, and so on. I began to experience them all as superpowers. You break something apart and it just puts itself back together? Definitely miraculous.

I still find that perspective useful.

All feelings, perceptions, experiences, and appraisals (including the feeling of 'normal') are virtual. All generated, and contingent. Not a stable ground from which to assign stable intrinsic qualities.

It's not the qualities (happy, unhappy, normal, abnormal) that are the point. It's the generation of them. Let's keep going. Watching them being generated, more and more closely. Those further along the path of insight tell us that with continued focused observation, the process of generation itself will grow more apparent. Like taking familiar objects and looking at them under a microscope.

A given experiential quality doesn't matter that much. They're all virtual. All generated. Let's keep watching and find out how they're being generated. Apparently, some very crucial insights are to be found.

Jia you!! (that means 'you/we can do it! go! go! go!')

RE: Enlightenment or Normality?
Answer
6/11/09 6:00 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: msj123

Brilliant post.