Enlightenment is Intimacy with All Things
Depending on how we use it, the mind can obscure or reveal truth and thereby create hell or heaven for us. In that sense, where we really live is in the quality of our state of mind. The factor that determines its quality is insight.
Insight comes from attention. Insight clarifies and uplifts. Insight also changes us at the deepest level of identity, because to see things as they are creates a shift in who we think we are.
In other words, by seeing the truth, we awaken in truth. We cannot say, "I want to know the truth about existence, but leave me out of it." It does not work that way. To ask about the truth of existence throws our own identity into question. It works this way because truth, being total, cannot be found as an object, image or opinion outside of you. It is known through direct identity or not at all.
Insight is the inner vision that penetrates the surface appearances of life, freeing us from the toil of illusions. Vision has to start somewhere. We begin by seeing what is in front of us, whatever is appearing in the mind. As we learn to see, the passion for seeing grows. Vision opens the horizon of beauty in the heart. Then the time comes when we receive the total vision of the divinity of all things, in which the self is opened forever.
Opened, we enter true relationship. This is why enlightenment has been described as intimacy with all things. Intimacy implies the closeness of knowing. This does not mean that enlightenment will fill us up with knowledge about everything. Intimacy refers to a different order of knowing, through love. Love is a condition of vivid comprehension in which we appreciate that reality is whole and benevolent. This comprehension is the supreme discovery, the unknown goal toward which all human desire is bent.
Excerpted from "The Art of Freedom" by Michael Damian.
Seed questions for reflection: How do you relate to the notion of enlightenment as intimacy with all things? Can you share a personal experience of a time you appreciated the wholeness and benevolence of reality? What helps you to include your own identity in your inquiry on the truth about existence?
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