The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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The Mind Trap

One of the cruelest (and funniest) axioms about enlightenment is that you can’t find your way to freedom by using your mind. That is, the power of conscious thought will never get you there. This is cruel (or funny, depending on your point of view) because it means that you can’t make use of the only tool available to you, your mind. I personally think the whole idea of being enlightened is a crock of shit, though I think some individuals become “self-less” in a way that is enlightened. It’s kind of a koan, isn’t it? How do you make progress on yourself unless you try? And how do you try without using your mind to set goals and objectives for yourself? Of course, this is the problem. None of us have any idea what it means to be enlightened, so setting up a definition of any kind means that it is automatically invalid. This is not to say that I don’t believe in the “presence” of God. There is definitely something inherent in our minds that transcends our minds. To me, the oddest definition of enlightenment is the one invented by fundamentalist Christians. It’s so typically American. All you have to do is accept Jesus Christ as your personal lord and savior, and voila, you’re one of the saved. Shortly thereafter, you can expect God to speak to you directly and help you guide others down this same path of instant enlightenment. In truth, I have a great deal of respect for these individuals, misguided though they may be. From the empty depths of their souls, they know there’s something out there larger than themselves and are trying their damndest to get in touch with it. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall see God.