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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Why do we fear enlightenment?

Alan Watts speaks a lot about enlightenment in his talks and books. What his words always convey to me is that enlightenment is not something to attain but something to recognize and acknowledge in ourselves and in others. To know we are already enlightened beings is indeed what it is to be enlightened and this realization is always but a heartbeat away for us.


But to act in this world from that enlightened place is a challenge. People rarely act from enlightenment that place of greater understanding of what life is and what our place really is as opposed to the small isolated place of the ego.

To act from a place of enlightenment takes trust and courage. We must first trust that we are enlightened beings and then summon the courage to speak and act from that place regardless of what or who would have us do otherwise.

Yes it seems easier to pretend that we are just small and insignificant like everyone else around us is doing. But when we do that, all we have done is join in the masquerade. But we know who we really are and we know that we are pretending. The price we pay for hiding this truth in side of us instead of living from it is that a vital part of us always feels lost and separate.

So how did we come to be so deluded that we feel so separate even though we are all connected? Alan Watts answers this in his book “The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are”. In the book he tells us about how an all-powerful mythical character called “God” who, in a moment of great boredom, invented a game of hide and seek that he plays with himself.

Here is an excerpt from the book…

"God also likes to play hide-and-seek, but because there is nothing outside God, he has no one but himself to play with. But he gets over this difficulty by pretending that he is not himself. This is his way of hiding from himself. He pretends that he is you and I and all the people in the world, all the animals, all the plants, all the rocks, and all the stars. In this way he has strange and wonderful adventures, some of which are terrible and frightening. But these are just like bad dreams, for when he wakes up they will disappear.

"Now when God plays hide and pretends that he is you and I, he does it so well that it takes him a long time to remember where and how he hid himself. But that's the whole fun of it--just what he wanted to do. He doesn't want to find himself too quickly, for that would spoil the game. That is why it is so difficult for you and me to find out that we are God in disguise, pretending not to be himself. But when the game has gone on long enough, all of us will wake up, stop pretending, and remember that we are all one single Self--the God who is all that there is and who lives forever and ever.

Now, can you honestly tell me that you don’t remember who you really are?


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