In Enlightenment Who Accomplishes What?
A writing class instructor told us to write about an accomplishment. I threw the question out to the Universe, "Who am I to write of acomplishments? There were none I had to speak of before his request, and there is no wish for any to come.” This was the response:
You are a handful of feathers thrown to the wind, not something you can keep or grasp or hang on to. One feather may land on a flower, even if just for a short time. Smell it, then touch it. Enjoy it for what it is, and know it will not be in your life forever. A breeze will come along and blow this feather here or there. In the meantime know you are all those feathers, some floating up and some down. One may get stuck in a thorn bush or a thistle for awhile. One may land on a
flower, maybe for a long time, maybe a short time. It will fly away too.
You are not the thorn, just as you are not the flower. You are the feathers! And the handful of feathers that you are will run into a handful that is another. And it may be wonderful, and it may not be. Maybe your feathers and theirs will write a poem together or sit and love together.
Maybe you will have to deal with insurance companies and disputes, but the breezes come along. The breeze of Allah or God or whatever you choose to call it will come along and blow you up-and-away and scatter your life into sunshine and rain and night and full moon, and sometimes it may feel like all of these at once! And you’ll call this your story, and you will take credit for the triumphs and losses and direction you’re blown in, and that’s OK. But the whole time it is the hand of God, of Consciousness, that has tossed you into the breeze of Love and Light, blowing you about both randomly and all planned at the same time.
Recognize your true nature. What is to regret? What is to miss? What is to have remorse for? Did you choose to and where you may land? I have seen the sorrow, the longing, the incompleteness all felt within, and these hold no reality – they’re what is false. The journey, the wind, the Light and Love - this is what is real. There is no end to this, just as there is no destination. Be flower petals and feathers tossed to the elements.
Accomplish this - Recognize that it’s the breeze who accomplishes. Recognize the hand that tossed you. There is a higher degree and deeper understanding of this. The pot can not exist without the clay, nor can the clay exist without the minerals. Recognize that you are the breeze and the hand that tosses. You want to accomplish something? Accomplish knowing who the accomplisher is. For now laugh. Be the feathers. Enjoy the ride. This is the only thing to accomplish.
*Who is Ron Porter? Following is an email exchange I had with him after he sent me the above essay.
CHARLIE: When I put your essay on the website, Ron, is it all right to describe you as “a meditator and spiritual friend who has had an enduring transformative experience.” I'm searching for terms that are broad enough to be descriptive and contextual without unnecessarily defining or solidifying the ego/self (with a lower case “s”) of either the author or the reader. I simply want to communicate that you experience what you talk about. Communication is so difficult when it comes to the inexpressible, but it's important that it be tried in order to encourage others to recognize their enlightenment experiences, their already enlightened nature, and to help them differentiate such experiences from those the illusory ego/self takes credit for.
RON: I understand what you’re saying about searching for terms to describe the inexpressible. No wonder Buddha so often spoke of what it isn't. Ha! In addition to experiences the ego/mind takes credit for is the Understanding that all experiences have a beginning and an end. The Self (with an upper case “S”) has neither of these and is the only True permanence. The Awakening is more of a beginning, the true beginning, than an end or goal, a beginning into that which no mind can comprehend. In this place is the awe, standing in the face of All, God, Consciousness, Allah, with the humility of a child who knows nothing. Very likely the word "fear" of God was misinterpreted and more accurately means "awe".
Perhaps you could describe me as one who is very lucky to know nothing! It seems to be accurate. I think of “my” story, who “I” am, as reflecting that sometimes God has pity for a fool. Everything I know is what I have come to call being "Led to Understand". What is written is from trying to put into words the indescribable. I can not take credit for what I write. There is no affiliation with any religion or belief system. If you want to describe me as "a meditator and spiritual friend who has had an enduring transformative experience," that’s OK. It's well said.
Click on Experiencing Enlightenment to download or print this essay. To read another essay or collection of thoughts on the enigmatic and exalted state of enlightenment, click on What Is Enlightenment?.