So what is enlightenment?
It seems to some like a secret that you have to wear fancy wardrobe and perform magical ceremonies to understand it. That ancient traditions passed down by fraternities, sororities, schools of thought, and so on are so veiled in secrecy that you have to be given a code book to unlock its secrets.
Really the truth could not be more simple. The fact is we see it as such a big deal because we do not understand certain concepts that these groups deal with. It is not that it is secret so much as you have to be ready to understand to see what is hidden. Hidden to the mind’s eye by its own preconceptions of reality and truth.
If you have time, read Plato´s allegory of the cave. It tells of how our limited world sometimes leads us to see shadow, the perception of form by the impressions those forms make under false light.
It is our desire to leave that familiar cave and venture out into the unknown. We do so to unravel the truth that reveals the secrets to our true selves and reality itself your once blinded mind held a veil over.
In short, it is not that things are being hidden form you, but that you do not understand them. You do not see them for what they really are so showing you their truth is impossible, not secret. You will not eat when not hungry. You will not know to ask for something you need if you do not realize you need it.
So therein lies the problem. We have this familiar mind we have spent our lives living with. The preconceptions it has formed from in its limited view have imprisoned us in a “cave” as Plato implied.
Allegory is the key to the transmission of these concepts. Plato was a master of this form of teaching.
There is another bread crumb. Allegory. We look to the interpretations certain groups have had by religious institutions throughout history that thought that any variation from dogma was not only flawed but morally challengeable as heresy. An assault on God himself. They did not worship the devil. That concept of a singular arch enemy to God is entirely Christian.
The thing is you can still believe the “standard” interpretation of stories like the ones we receive in the bible, AND see it as an allegorical opportunity to transmit concepts that religion is supposed to give us anyways.
If we look at the result of the persecution schools of thought received and their response by “coding” their concepts into the very belief systems of the institutions that gave them chase, we see the irony in their last word.
They have used a stagnant and linear story and the prescribed interpretation of it the “officials” of those institutions have made absolute, to transmit the transcendental concepts of “enlightenment” through them. Just brilliant. It was easy also. These concepts were in their foundation.
The reality is that those stories always were deeply allegorical as well and the skill to extrapolate meaning from them is necessary to weigh them in any form of institutionalized faith. It is not that these “enlightened” folk wished to replace God. They wished to delve deeper into the understanding of IT.
Take for example the Cabala. Jewish mysticism. It is meant to accompany the torah. It is a companion work to it. Cabalists make very clear their vision of God by their explanation of the first few lines of Genesis. They do not say “God” made the universe, but that IT, the universe, made God. Huge concept when you weigh the possible meanings. Opens up God in new ways doesn’t it?
That he is not an unreachable “identity” that we cannot understand and learn from. They see God as the very vehicle to contemplate the universe. Their aim, is to reach a higher level of understanding of the universe itself. Nothing more admirable for intellectual pursuit In my opinion.
To do so they use language and numbers to establish a coordinate system of sorts to map creation. They believe that creation was made through language. The fact is the actual letters are not important. It is all a method of deconstructing our mind and its preconceptions so as to be able to perceive alternate mind sets and alternative paths of thought.
To think inter-dimensionally about time and space, instead of linearly and 2 or 3 dimensionally, and so on.
This is extremely beneficial in accessing our minds intuition into pattern recognition for every aspect of life. This in turn leads to greater innovation, advancement in all areas, and just progress in general. It makes you appreciate life more as well. The little things.
Cabalists, as my going example of a group searching for greater enlightenment, have a deep understanding of the universe by having a system of mapping “Gods body”, so to speak. This system is not unlike the I-ching(Chinese book of changes). Goes to show you how ancient knowledge had a way of being universally accepted for its high quality and beneficial manifestations in society. Really this knowledge in its many forms is the basis for all civilization. Our ancestors had a very well thought out social order because of their belief that harmony in people, doing good things and so on, made a healthy happy God. I am simplifying things extremely for the sake of conversation. They believed in social harmony and social responsibility in light of a sort of collective hive mind and collective communal body.
Another pretty amazing concept of cabala is the thought that our state of being produces a response in “heaven” and vice versa. (Their idea of heaven being a whole new subject I wish to avoid for now).That searching for harmony would lead you to a balance with God and with yourself personally enough so to reach a higher plain of thought.
So looking from the outside in, you might say that a fundamentalist Christian might be at odds by seeing the concept cabalist’s have of the creation of God BY the universe, instead of God creating the universe and consequently they could interpret it as an insult and heresy to their dogmatic Christian view of God. The cave would be the institutionalized view of a linear God concept. No one is replacing God, just thinking more about it all.
So the “shadow” we see as hiding truth in this situation is not hiding an underlying secret to enlightenment. It is offering us to leave the cave, and deconstruct the cave (preconceptions of our mind) and the shadows being cast in the dim light of fallacy upon forms we do not understand. Blindness of getting accustomed to the light of the brilliant and blazing sun of truth once we exit the cave might be seemingly worse since the comfort of the cave’s dim light of fallacy is almost preferable to weak eyes(minds).
It all passes though and thereafter when we see beyond our blindness. We find the truth of true light. We see form for true form, and not simply by the shadow it casts.
and so on.