Huang Po, Zen Master
The Enlightenment Experience
People have certainly had some wonderful experiences along the so-called spiritual 'path'. However that is just what they actually are - experiences.
Some people talk about explosions and tell others that "you will have the explosion too - when you make it - just keep trying" and "you will know that you have made it as you will get the explosion".
"Can you know that this is true?" - to quote Byron Katie.
The explosion is an experience in the space of Awareness.
All experiences occur in Awareness and our essential nature is that Awareness.
What is important is Awareness itself - not the content of Awareness. Awareness itself, our true nature does not come and go. It does not change. It is always there.
The definition of Reality is 'that which does not come and go' - 'that which does not change'. It is always there. That is Awareness - that is our essential nature
The content of Awareness changes - things come and go. Experiences come and then they go. There is continuous change in the content of Awareness. Our essential nature is not Content.
Anything that you can gain, as content of awareness, can also be lost. It changes - therefore it is 'not it' as far as your true nature is concerned. So let it go - it is just an experience.
It is certain that the bliss of a 'spiritual high' will eventually leave. That bliss is content - you are that which is aware of the bliss.
Does it mean then that when the bliss leaves that you have 'lost it?'. Not at all.
Awareness is still there, fully complete and totally intact.
Is any major 'fireworks' experience necessary? Your essential nature is already there - full and complete in every way - it has always been like that. That does not change.
When you see that 'who you thought you were' is not you (i.e. disidentification) you may have a fireworks experience - or you may not. It may occur gently and very, very subtly - so delicately that you almost do not notice it.
The 'changes' occur at a non conceptual level - an actual seeing - and may not even be translated into thoughts or words.
Subtle. Very subtle.
If you are looking for the 'fireworks' and expecting that, you may 'miss it'.
So - do you have to have a fireworks experience? No, actually.
Written by Mike Graham, 19 Jan 2008, last edited 17 Mar 2008