Enlightenment seems to be a dirty word these days.
“The Enlightenment”, by which we mean the age of reason (as opposed to the age of superstition which preceded it) no longer gets a particularly good press.
Scientists and modernists and other rationally based ‘ists’ are often portrayed as the ‘baddies’ of the new age:
Responsible for a lot of harm, and for stopping new ideas entering the marketplace by insisting that all ‘valued’ ideas be measured by the yardstick that they themselves created – rationality.
Then there is the other sort of enlightenment: The one that you used to get by sitting at the feet of an Indian guru for 20 years.
The Gurus all moved to the west and set up shop in Central London Hotels. They promptly bought Rolls Royces and left a generation disenchanted with the search for knowledge.
Lesser gurus took their place and set themselves up in the far flung corners of the UK: Totnes, Wales, Findhorn – all sorts of places began offering ‘The Infinite way’ in different low key forms.
The more strident aspects of the teaching were appropriated by modern corporate culture and took the form of sales training manuals and ‘Intensive Management Programmes’ .
Books with names like ‘The Tao of Success’ or ‘Sun Tsu for the modern Salesperson’ became readily available.
Once again ‘Enlightenment’ had become a dirty word. Tainted by those who sought to use the teaching for financial gain.
It was for losers, opportunists, charlatans: poor sad weak people who obviously couldn’t cope with life.
All of which is the way it should be: It screens out all those who are not truly serious about seeking ultimate truth.
Such a search flies in the face of reason, common sense, rationality, conventional wisdom and all the other clichés that are used to describe the status quo by those who have a vested interest in it staying the same.
The true seeker is encouraged by the fact that the truth, as Aldous Huxley wrote, “may be found among the lore of primitive people in every region of the world, and in its fully developed form, it has a place in every one of the higher religions”.
The search was there before us, and will be there long after we have gone. It will survive every vagary of fashion, every dictator, country, people, and disaster.
Wherever there are sentient beings, the search for true knowledge and reality will continue to be the ultimate search.
Many are called, but few stay the course.
We say “no…. not now… not for me…. not true…. not the right time…. surely not….. it will never happen to me…. I can’t… I won’t…… it won’t…… anything but start in earnest on that search that will take us further than Armstrong and Aldrin ever went, to the centre of who we are.
The transformation of consciousness is surely the one thing that will make poverty history. It is the very nature of our evolution. It is the one thing that will ultimately make a difference.
Knowing that you are in me, and I am in you.
Knowing the nature of our connectivity.
What do you believe?
Whatever it is, it’s worth remembering that the truth will continue to exist long after you’ve stopped believing in it.