Enlightenment is About Love
What is the experience of enlightenment? For some it’s about bliss. For others it’s about depression. For yet others it’s about love.
All of these are true and can be experienced at different times by different people on their journey into enlightenment. So let’s look at each of these in turn.
Enlightenment with bliss
This morning, I awoke at 5.30am and so arose to greet the dawn. As I sat in the patio at the back of my brother-in-laws’s holiday home, I could see the different shades of grey come alive with cobalt blue and fiery orange as the night sky transformed from a deep and mysterious cavern of dark, to life giving colour. This transformation was accompanied by a cacophony of joy as bird song announced daybreak. As I sat in that garden I felt completely still, silent and blissful. There was nowhere to get to, no one to become and nothing to do. It felt transcendent.
This is the enlightenment of bliss and it is the world charged with power.
Enlightenment with depression
Some people on the internet were sharing how their experience of enlightenment brought with it a deep depression. This, they said, was because, along with enlightenment, they were experiencing meaninglessness and purposelessness, a kind of empty nothing, into which they had dropped. I too have experienced the darker side of enlightenment but only briefly. Some find it strange, that such an esteemed state should contain any darkness at all, let alone a deep depression. The Truth is incisive and it cuts to the core, and at your core the self winks out and emptiness can be one’s over riding experience. An emptiness that is devoid. This very barrenness strips bare everything we might have thought ourselves to have been or want to become, until only the present remains. Stark, simple and empty.
This is the enlightenment of depression and it is a terrible beauty.
Enlightenment with love
The other day I was sitting in a park in the still morning air, admiring a perfect rose that had fallen perchance on the path in front of me, when a man ambled past and crushed the rose with his shoe. The rose was destroyed, and a feeling of sadness arose as I saw this. Moments later the sweetest fragrance drifted upward from where the rose lay and filled the air around me. This small and potentially insignificant incident would have gone unnoticed except for its symbolism, which was all pervading. As the mind is crushed in the jaws of the Truth, with all its hopes, dreams and memories extinguished, if the heart is open a fragrance is released to pervade all relationships - with people, with the animal kingdom and with nature as a whole. I feel this fragrance surrounding me and it is at its most intense when I am completely alone and in silence.
This is enlightenment with love and it feels like perfume.
Enlightenment with bliss I find can be intense and quite rare. It calls unannounced when it so chooses. Enlightenment with depression is also rare and I find can also be intense. It carries suffering. Enlightenment with love I find can be relied upon as it arises spontaneously, whenever I am in solitude and silence. Its is all pervasive. It fills a room. It shares peace.
That’s why for me, although enlightenment is many different experiences, enlightenment is primarily about love.