Since I started reading more about Buddhism and practicing meditation in the last 2 years, I’ve wondered about the nature of ‘enlightenment’ and ‘awakening’. Is it something rare? esoteric? available? sudden? gradual? Am I getting closer? Am I making progress? Can it happen to me in this body, in this lifetime? Are my teachers ‘enlightened’? Are some more enlightened than others?
The old stories feature a lot of sudden, abrupt, what I call ‘light-switch’ awakenings, where suddenly the practitioner ‘gets’ it. More modern teachers that I’ve heard, talk about each moment of remembering, or returning your concentration to the breath or other object of concentration as a small awakening. Which is it, I’ve wondered…
When I’ve asked, the answer has always been — both — not the answer I was looking for. Now I’ve found an analogy that helps that answer make more sense to me. The analogy is a 3-D picture — you remember — those blobby pictures that were around a few years ago, that if you stared at long enough, and in the right way — suddenly revealed themselves to be images with a very 3-D quality to them. So — to the analogy part —
-some people see the hidden images easily, some have more difficulty
-you have to relax to see the image, not strain, or squint
-in my experience, most people can see it if they keep at it
-you can’t see it by looking closely
-seeing a picture or hearing a description of what you’re supposed to see doesn’t help very much
-you sometimes get a glimpse before you ‘get’ the full image
-some people aren’t very interested and give up right away
-it’s very clear when you see it — the seeing is unambiguous
-the seeing is a sudden shift
-once you’ve seen the hidden picture, you can see it more easily the 2nd and 3rd time
-you can see them more easily with practice
-there are lots of pictures to see with the shifted vision
Curious? Try it out at this website — it’s fun!