4HIP: The Enlightened Mind
From 4 Habits for Inner Peace, Part IV.3.c:
Enlightenment is the label given to an inner awareness of Truth. The True thought system in your mind is aware of Truth, so it is enlightened. The personal thought system, which is not-Truth, can never be aware of Truth. It can never become enlightened. When you are attached to it, it functions as an obstacle to your awareness that you already have enlightenment. So you do not have to seek for enlightenment. You only have to release the personal thought system and the Enlightened Mind will be all that is left in your awareness.
Truth is Universal, not personal or individual. So there is no such thing as “personal enlightenment” or an “enlightened person”. When your seemingly-individual mind is aware of Truth it transcends the personal and individual in the awareness that Truth is All. Then the boundary of “individual” drops away from your awareness. This applies not only to yourself but for seeming-others as well. When you are aware of Truth you disregard the personal or individual everywhere. You are aware of only the Universal.
If you think that you know of an “enlightened person” then you can only be thinking with the personal thought system. As distinct form the personal thought system cannot think in general or universal terms. It cannot conceive of one Being as Truth. The only value that the concept of enlightenment has for it is to single out individuals as special. Certainly it is willing for you to be special as an “enlightened person”. This is its only motivation in “allowing” you to seek Truth.
But if you are not ready to exalt yourself as an “enlightened person” it is happy to have you submit yourself to another “enlightened” personal self. It actually prefers that you seek Truth in another than that you seek Truth within yourself because you might accidently discover that the Truth is within you. It always prefers that you seek for Truth outside of you where you will never find It.
No one outside of you can convey Truth to you. You may find teachers who model a greater awareness of Truth than you have for the time being. But if they are truly teachers of Truth they will point you inward, not to themselves.
The split mind always has Truth in it. So Truth breaks through into the story of not-Truth as historical figures who were aware of Truth. The stories for these people are no more real than the story that you have for the personal self in your awareness. But the Teacher of Truth in your mind can use their stories as allegories or as models for becoming aware of Truth. And if you find that the idea of a Teacher of Truth within you is too abstract you may find one of these historical teachers embodying the Teacher of Truth for you. But these stories and symbols are only temporary comforts as you work through guilt and fear of Truth. If you are actually following Truth in these forms they will lead you to the formless Truth within you and fall away.
Only a personal self is concerned with labels or roles or with being a certain kind of person. A person who considers themselves “enlightened” is spiritualizing the personal self with which they identify. They are trying to give not-Truth the attributes of Truth. If their mind was truly enlightened they would have no need to declare this. To whom would they declare it? They would no longer conceive of anything but Truth. There would be nothing with which to compare their awareness of Truth so no need to give it a label.
When applied to a person the term enlightened only has meaning as a judgment against which to evaluate the unenlightened. And what would make such a judgment but a personal thought system that can never be enlightened? So seeking to be an enlightened person or seeking for an enlightened person to follow both function as obstacles to peace. Turning inward to Truth and finding Universal Enlightenment Itself is the only way to lasting peace.
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