How You Get There
There are many paths to enlightenment. Some of us who have expanded to a degree of illumination have thereafter preached the dogmatic certainty of one particular path.
But enlightenment doesn't care how you get there. And if you aren't going to be thinking about it in paradise, then don't worry about it now.
My suggestions intend only to show why you must actually do it yourself. Act from what you know to be true. My own attitude, arrived at with an excess of labor and doubt, is that I will not settle for any path that makes it difficult for most people as I know them to be, or perhaps excludes them entirely for lifetimes to come.
For myself, I must take the path that is available to everyone. When I get there by LSD or other paths, I find myself coming back to help those who are not spiritual athletes. By taking the path open to all, I will know that those who have stayed behind are doing so of their own free will, and I won't have to come back again.
As there is perfect enlightenment, so there is a perfect means to enlightenment: a simple path that is available to every being in the universe all the time. Love is the perfect means to enlightenment. It is available at all times to every being: nothing, no one has the power to stand in the way.
And as soon as you choose to take the path that is available to everyone, that's it: you are on the path that is available to everyone.
This book revolves around the hypothesis in the first paragraph of Chapter One, but let it be clear that I have many times actually been in all the states of consciousness discussed, as have many other human beings. I'm not just guessing. These states are no farther from us than a breath of air. And often I have had to let go of this concept itself, and can therefore say with confidence: Go beyond reason to love—it is safe. It is the only safety. Love all you can, and when you are ready all will be shown to you.
The state of mind that most needs enlightenment is the one that sees human beings as needing to be guided or enlightened.
The sin that most needs to be loved and forgiven is the state of mind that sees human beings as sinners.
Those of us who arrive at a flash of space through a negative emphasis may try to comfort ourselves that we are on a Bodhisattva trip, coming down to help others. But we should be then even more discriminating of our motives.
Every person who allows others to treat him as a spiritual leader has the responsibility to ask himself: Out of all the perceptions available to me in the universe, why am I emphasizing the ignorance of my brothers? What am I doing in a role where this is real? What kind of standards am I conceiving, in which so many people are seen to be in suffering, while I am the enlightened one?
These questions came to me with a great shock, and this is one way I might answer for myself: Everything that is happening in your body is happening on an infinite range of vibration levels. If you love your lack of information better than I love this knowledge, then you are on a higher level than I. There is absolutely no external evidence that will tell me how much you love yourself, because I am seeing you with the limited vision of my own vibrations. In that sense, what I see is myself.
No matter how confused or stupid or unloving other persons may appear to us, we have no right ever to assume that their consciousness is on a lower level than ours. They may be realizing far deeper dimensions of love. The way we see them is an explicit measure of our own vibration level.
The very people we now see as vulgar, unenlightened, stupid, rip-offs, insane—these people, when we learn to love them and all our feelings about them, are our tickets to paradise. And that is all we need to do—love them. We may express that love or not as we wish, in any way we wish. It doesn't even matter how we treat them. But we must see them and love them as they are now, for we cannot deny them the freedom to be what they are, just as we must love ourselves as we are now.
Let us remember that each person is some kind of opposite of what he insisted on in the past or could be in the future. As long as we conceive of ourselves as limited beings, we are all the same distance from the center, whether we are good or bad, sane or mad.
If a man has some awareness of higher levels and knows that he is free to be anywhere in the universe, he may then seek to justify taking part in a physical game. The most self-flattering way to disguise his appetite is to see himself as a bringer of enlightenment, of purity, of virtue. No one, not even he, will question his motives and results: isn't he doing what he says he is doing? If others fail to reach his height, it's not his fault—and thus he keeps the game going forever. It's self-renewing as long as he is unwilling to see that his own vibrations emphasize the evil and ignorance he sees. The more he hates evil, the more evil there is to hate. The more he advises people to resist the material world the more he binds them to it.
And even these comments are the consequence of my own resistance to the "error" of resisting evil. This is a perfect example of how we are always guilty of what we condemn in others. What we see is always ourselves. It is useless to correct anyone's behavior. If he knew what he was doing, he wouldn't be doing it, true enough, but he is just as capable of knowing it as we are. If he doesn't see it of his own free will, is he any more likely to do so when we tell him? By denying him his freedom to be wrong, we are equally wrong. Giving others the freedom to be stupid is one of the most important and hardest steps to take in spiritual progress. Conveniently the opportunity to take that step is all around us every day.
Those of us who pretend to greater knowledge than our brothers, who report more enlightened experiences, have more to explain precisely because we know more.
This book is the description and education of my own ignorance. And beyond the information herein, I am trying to show how a human being can handle the kind of experiences I have had without laying strange trips on his brothers and sisters. Whenever we hand on what we are shown, we must do so with the same divine love with which it was shown to us. We are but channels of spiritual joy, and to continue to have it we need only be open channels.
If we always stand facing the higher light, like looking into the sun, our vision of the people around us will be distorted. But if we have the light coming over our shoulders, shining through us, we will see the beauty of others, we will be open to the light coming through all forms, and know the glory of the creation.
And I say it often: Thank you, brothers and sisters, for letting my consciousness be in this place.
While we have humility and pride enough to act on the knowledge that we exist in an infinite harmony, that we are neither greater nor lesser than any others, we can enjoy exquisite spiritual wealth and pleasures.
Let every jewel remind you
of the diamond light of love. Know that the smallest kindness is a facet in
the infinite jewel of enlightenment.
Last updated: 16th Feb 2005