‘Spiritual Enlightenment’, The Most Worthy Goal Of Human Life !
Spiritual Enlightenment is the only goal worth living for, and it shouldn’t be difficult to achieve either. Yet very few of us actually attain to it, most prominent reason behind it seems to be the misconceptions attached to the term. Let’s try to analyze the most common myth that, ‘you can GET enlightened’.
The truth is, No. ‘YOU’ cannot get enlightened.
But wait, what exactly “YOU” means here ?
“YOU” is a software code which runs in your brain (hardware).
This code is a bit different in the sense that all its efforts have been channeled in a single direction, or it can be said that a goal has been hard-coded into it, the goal being to ensure the survival of the species (humankind).
As per the Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman, this code consists of two functional parts: System-1 and System-2.
System-1 is fast, automatic, intuitive whereas System-2 is slower, analytical, rational. And contrary to popular perception, System-1 is the final authority for making decisions whereas system-2 (reason) has to report to system-1.
If we have to associate these two systems to respective parts of the brain, we can loosely say that System-1 runs mostly on Hind Brain and System-2 runs largely on Neocortex.
[The brain consists of three parts: Neocortex (New Brain), Mid Brain & Hind Brain]
System-2 further is composed of ‘Intelligence’ and ‘Thinking Entity’. Edward De Bono compared ‘Intelligence’ to the engine of the car and ‘Thinking Entity’ to the Chauffer. ‘Thinking Skills’ play same role for life as Chauffer’s driving skills of a car.
I’m digressing a bit from our topic but I think it is a prerequisite to understand the complexity of the game. So let me take some liberty and dig a bit deeper into this aspect.
People are born with Intelligence and can do little to enhance it later in life but nobody is a born expert in thinking skills. One keeps developing this skill up to a point till it is useful for survival, after that people stop developing it further. It’s like anybody can dance on Disc but only those who have practiced regularly for years can do ballet.
Thinking is nothing but a train of thoughts: There are two kinds of thoughts, ‘Conscious Thoughts’ and ‘Compulsive Thoughts’. If I ask you to solve for me 17×24, the train of thoughts that’ll ensue would be the Conscious Thoughts and if you have started thinking of your school days while still reading this article you have just encountered Compulsive Thoughts.
Now if I ask you to close your eyes for few minutes and observe the originating of next compulsive thought as and when it arises. You’ll go like ….
“I will observe the next compulsive thought as and when it arises … I will observe the next compulsive thought as and when it arises … wow the girl that used to sit beside me in 6th standard was so damn pretty …. Ohh shit, I was supposed to observe this thought when it was arising. No issues, I will observe the next compulsive thought as and when it arises … I will observe the next compulsive thought as and when it arises …. Yesterday my boss scolded me for being smarter, he’s such a douchebag … Ohh shit, I was supposed to observe this thought when it was arising …..” and so on …
This is how it’ll go; you’ll never be able to observe the origin of compulsive thoughts even if you keep sitting trying it for a million years. Why? Because “I will observe the next compulsive thought as and when it arises,” though it is special but this too is just a thought and our hardware is not capable of entertaining more than one thought at a time. Hence, one thought can never observe another thought in real time.
But wait, who is the observer here? If it is this thought that was doing this business of observation, then what were “you” doing there? Yes, for all practical purposes “you” is nothing but this special thought which can’t stay into the picture continuously even for few seconds … I call this special thought, “i-thought” . And the code that keeps on creating these compulsive thoughts, I call it “iCode”.
Now let’s come back to where we digressed from …
The sole aim of System-1 is to ensure the survival of the species by all means possible. And to ensure that it needs largely to keep its body alive and make it procreate.
This System-1 is millions of years old, it evolves very slowly. In millions of years it has developed few thumb rules for survival, we call them Psychological Drives e.g., your drive for belongingness, your drive for achievement, your drive for competing, your drive for sex etc.
You can relate to its working when you hear your dietician say that you need to keep eating every three hours as, if you don’t eat something for long the System-1 assumes it’s the famine and hence it starts storing fat.
When your System-2 says it’s time for bed but you still keep on playing Angry Birds on your mobile against your best discretion, now you know whom to blame.
[These days, just to keep you engaged with their products the marketers have started to build features which directly appeal to your drives, they call it ‘Gamification’. Won’t discuss it here in detail as it’s not directly related to our question]
On the lighter note, when you get successful in finding love in your life you can now safely assume that you just have saved the species.
This System-1 continuously keeps analyzing input data coming from our five senses (Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste, Touch). Since this software can only play on linear combination of this data in various forms, it has to obey the rules of space-time.
Now almost all of our spiritual texts claim that apart from this software and hardware there exists one more entity, “Self”. This one is not bound by space-time hence it can neither be born nor can it die both of which can exist only in time-space. The “Self” stays in something which is not eternal but beyond time. On one hand the “Self” is connected to the body and on the other it is somehow connected to a bigger entity (its big bro, sometimes loosely referred to as ‘Universal Consciousness’, which can not be defined as having any perceivable attributes).
Now comes the climax, if somehow the “iCode” dies and stops functioning, the “Self” will merge with its big bro and will become ‘Omniscient, Omnipresent & Omnipotent’. This phenomenon will be called enlightenment.
Almost Every spiritual school prescribes its own way to get to no mind state (death of “iCode”).
Bhagwad Gita classified all the schools of spirituality into four classes:
- Bhakti Yoga — Surrender yourself to some Deity or Guru and stop thinking yourself.
- Karma Yoga — Do thy duty and stop thinking about any results.
- Raja Yoga — Focus your mind on itself and stop thinking about anything.
- Gyan Yoga — Focus your mind on your, so far fictitious, “Self” and stop thinking.
So, if you want to get enlightened you’ll have to somehow kill the “iCode” which in turn will kill “iThought”, which is “YOU” effectively. That is, you will have to die to make this so called ‘enlightenment’ happen. We call it ‘Psychological Suicide’, you die* before you die**.
*die — your ‘iThought’
**die — your ‘Physical Body’
Happy Dying !!