How then does one achieve enlightenment?

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~  and essay, by Sha’Tara]

Quote: “Prescience reveals no absolutes, only possibilities. The surest way to know exactly what the future holds is to experience it in real time.” (Sandworms of Dune – Kevin Anderson)

How do I approach this? Let me say that lately I have been allowing myself to “feel” and that has translated into deep and abiding sorrow for this world. Certainly if one is remotely aware of the many sick things going on here, or being done here, there must arise a sense of anxiety. But “anxiety” means concern for one’s self, or one’s “special people” within the greater body politic.

Sorrow is a different thing, as I have written about before. My understanding of it is, it isn’t about me (or mine, if I had any special people) but about all of it, about the flow of life… and death… all around me, as far as my senses can reach.

One achieves “enlightenment” when one gathers enough personal courage to look at her or his world exactly as it is and not as the conflicting sources of propaganda declare it to be. Yes, that takes courage because it removes all the facile excuses we constantly make up to justify our sustaining beliefs regardless of how such beliefs affect others. Enlightenment means I no longer regard others as conveniences to supply my endless wants; I no longer view them as competitors for space or resources; I no longer see them as threats to my personal, or national, beliefs and security.

Enlightenment means becoming aware of reality without blinders or protective armor. It means choosing to become vulnerable so that others may not have to feel vulnerable but safe in our presence.

Enlightenment then means living the compassionate life does it not?

If we accept the truth of our current social condition, that being a very difficult thing to do, we will of necessity plunge into a maelstrom of personal conflict. If we are of the relatively “rich” West, we will feel the weight of responsibility for many of the world’s ills and we won’t know what to do about it. We will want to protest; we will seek to blame someone, particularly “they” for the world’s major problems. We will think that just changing “me” is useless in the grand scheme of things and when we see that all our struggles, our protests, our votes and our hopes are increasingly dashed, we will go the route of despair, despondency, denial or seek solace in “old time religion” and our spirit will die within. We will go through the motions of living and when death comes, that will be that. It might even be seen as a relief from pointlessness and boredom.

This reminds me of a song I once wondered about so long ago, sung by Peggy Lee: “Is That All There Is?”


I remember when I was a very little girl, our house caught on fire
I’ll never forget the look on my father’s face as he gathered me up
In his arms and raced through the burning building out to the pavement
And I stood there shivering in my pajamas and watched the whole world go up in flames
And when it was all over I said to myself, is that all there is to a fire?

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is

And when I was twelve years old, my father took me to a circus, the greatest show on earth
There were clowns and elephants and dancing bears
And a beautiful lady in pink tights flew high above our heads
And as I sat there watching
I had the feeling that something was missing
I don’t know what, but when it was over
I said to myself, “is that all there is to the circus?

And then I fell in love with the most wonderful boy in the world
We’d take take long walks down by the river or just sit for hours gazing into each other’s eyes
We were so very much in love
And then one day he went away and I thought I’d die, but I didn’t
And when I didn’t I said to myself, is that all there is to love?

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep

I know what you must be saying to yourselves
If that’s the way she feels about it why doesn’t she just end it all?
Oh, no, not me I’m not ready for that final disappointment
‘Cause I know just as well as I’m standing here talking to you
When that final moment comes and I’m breathing my last breath, I’ll be saying to myself

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is

Yesterday was my 73rd birthday, a pretty good milestone, even by today’s standards and I realize that all my life I have refused to accept that “is that all there is” condition.

In “Sandworms of Dune” Kevin Anderson wrote: “By following the same beliefs and making the same decisions one wears life’s path into a circular rut, going nowhere, accomplishing nothing, making no progress.”

That is “the” problem Earthians seem unable to confront and move beyond. Many a time I suggested doing something outside the status quo in order to get off the treadmill. I was mocked and accused of not knowing the difference between imagination and reality. Eventually I chose in favor of imagination and against man’s sacrosanct reality. I chose against “Is that all there is” and went on a life-long quest for whatever lay beyond this view.

I found the doorway, and I saw the future, yes, and experienced it in real time. That is what the gate keepers do not want Earthians to realize: that their future exists, that it is waiting for them to enter into it and experience it, that it is neither some bullshit religious “heaven” or “hell” nor equally bullshit materialistic annihilation.

If we would become truly enlightened we all have to take that chance and go questing for our own particular future. It’s a strictly personal reality and not a collective affair. Scary thought that, hm?

18 thoughts on “How then does one achieve enlightenment?

  1. jim-

    Beautifully done friend. In hindsight it seemed scary what was happening to me. Everything I ever stood for was an imaginative lie—left and right, Protestant, Catholic, Islam, and all the rest. A big controlling fabricated mess of ill perceived spirituality. I looked back down at the house from the mountain behind and I realized I’ve got this! I always had. There was never any behind the scenes manipulations of nature to pave my way. I’d been doing this gig alone the whole time. We’ve got this, we just have to learn to take the credit and realize it is up to us to make this world awesome. It can’t be gone through the dogmas. They’ve proven that.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks Jim, and yes, dogma is part of the endless wheel that goes nowhere. As some wag said, “My karma ran over your dogma” except that for the self empowered there is no longer any karma either. Admitting we made mistakes, taking responsibility for them, but also for the good things we did that far outweigh the mistakes, when we look into the future it’s the good we did that shows up, the mistakes are accounted for growing up experiences. We are not evil, Jim, we are learners, students of nature, figuring out what works and what doesn’t.

  2. franklparker

    You’ve turned the corner and joined the ranks of the optimists. Welcome. I hasten to add that your optimism, like mine, is not built on false hope but on an understanding that we owe it to ourselves, as much as to others, to do the right thing and to know what that is.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thank you Frank. Quote: “… not built on false hope but on an understanding that we owe it to ourselves, as much as to others, to do the right thing and to know what that is.” That sums it up perfectly.

  3. Hyperion

    First and most important, happy 73rd birthday Sha’Tara. What an amazing accomplishment, to arrive at 73, a most auspicious age, and be mentally and spiritually awakened instead of defeated by merely living. You arrive more relevant instead of less and you have much to share instead of being empty. I do believe that an enlightened future is only for a small number of people. Not everyone will rise to the level of consciousness required. Most will stay firmly attached to their own imagined Idiocracy and like it. Are not the people violently expressing themselves pleased with their behavior? When I tell my fellow Americans that not everyone should have the right to bear arms, I’m attacked by those that think it’s an inalienable right granted by our constitution and the answer to mass murderers using guns is more guns. I can see their future easily. In fact, predicting the glide path of futures is quite easy for me and should be for you as well. But, who am I to shove their glide path to the future into a new trajectory. I prefer to let them burn in their own atmosphere where they remain static regardless of any predominant emotion. I will follow my own trajectory and tho my future into the next 1000 years is not going to be anything at all like this life, I will remain unchanged but well adapted. I will always welcome that person who in their gentle nature feel a passion for life lived well, not easy and dull with the detritus of human rodent life, but the adventure of embracing all things good or bad and remaining pure and unspoiled by the folly of others. Compassion is wasted on the useless. But the smallest act of kindness or compassion at a critical juncture in another’s life can be all the difference in the world. I am always ready for that moment to lend a hand, offer a smile, pass some food, or relevant anecdotes. Not everyone should have the right to own a gun and not everyone has an inalienable right to live a useless life that drags the good of humanity down into a hopeless and helpless existence. It is better to let natural cause and effect sort them out. The concept of sentient being is a manmade concept when men believed they were superior to all things. We are no more sentient than a dung beetle or a flying squirrel. The difference being the dung beetle and squirrel contribute to the cycle of life and humans interrupt it. We are the only species on the planet without purpose relevant to the world we live on. So, my personal philosophy is not to attempt to feel the pain of all the wasted lives but to offer assistance when needed in a small but meaningful way, one person at a time. I also live frugally and give a large portion of my income to charities that I know for sure are helping those that need and deserve help. That’s what I do, Sha’Tara. No one need follow in my footsteps. I am no answer to any problem, it’s just how I choose to go forward, it is my noble purpose. I am not harmed by anyone who would disagree with me. I grant that everyone has a hand in how their life proceeds. Proceed on, I say. Life will either teach them or end them because not everyone will make it to 73 and know what you know and live like you live. Nor will they choose to be like me. What weird life that would be to live and think like me, and who wants that? Just my two cents in a currency for a nation that no longer exists.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thank you Daniel for “exposing” a bit more about the real you. I sense deep sorrow in your words also, yet great inner strength that will refuse to be crushed by the prevailing mindset of society. You too keep an open door to your own reality that chooses not to be what the majority insists it must be. You’re right about the gun issue and also right about letting them choose their own side of that death path. If they cannot see the deeper reality, that more guns only means more killing; that assassins and mass murderers PLAN they attacks while the defensive gun toting idiot has no clue where those attacks are going to come from and cannot, however armed, prevail against them, then they must be true to their own insanity. Those who live by the sword die by the sword – a truism from which there is no escape. Eye for eye and tooth for tooth leads to a blind and toothless society, the very society we are existing in at the moment. Last line of your comment: “Just my two cents in a currency for a nation that no longer exists.” It is my inner conviction that no nation actually exists any longer except on paper and maps – the concept has become meaningless and with the increasing forced movements of refugees world wide, will become increasingly pointless. Empires built on cheap resources readily plundered are of the past and the nation state is following suit. Since modern “civilization” is predicated on both, imperial aggression and the supporting nation state, it is “civilization” that is coming to an end. Those who have chosen enlightenment and self empowerment already know this and already know how to face it: with courage and compassion, not with confrontation or aggression. The mob will eventually rule everywhere, not just in the current “failed” nation states. It takes courage to opt out of joining the mob knowing that we are already branded as its scapegoats. So… here’s to living as opposed to mere surviving.

  4. deteremineddespitewp

    Congratulations on reaching 73 and still being ‘out there’ pushing the boundaries. Seeking and questioning means someone never ages.
    And I guess Enlightenment opens up the door to journeying on to other Enlightenments.
    Just keep on keeping on there Sha’ Tara.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thank you Roger! Yes, I also believe that “enlightenment” is an ever widening path that begins by pushing with trepidation through an unmarked wilderness, to finding a rabbit, fox or dear trail, to finding a path once worn smooth by bare feet and moccasins, then the ruts of an ox cart, then a royal road and on until we arrive at a launch pad and we look to the stars. This is the endless journey that began but with a single footstep in the ‘right’ direction. OK, is that enough clichés for you? 🙂

      1. deteremineddespitewp

        They’re only clichés when used by folk who are trying to sounding more than they are.
        You, Sha Tara, have earned the right to use whatever words/phrases you damn well please 👍

  5. Sha'Tara Post author

    Thank you very much, Mike. It has been, and is, good. Each day now, more detachment, more enlightenment, more awareness… quite meaningless terms really, unless they’ve been pulled out of the flow of the mainstream and analyzed, studied, wondered about, opened to reveal their contents, then absorbed to become a living part of one’s life. Turned to purpose. Sounds pompous doesn’t it, and yet when laid bare in light of personal change and certain “accomplishments” somewhat outside the norm, it’s an honest claim, one a person can live and die with, without regret or pride. It is the fruit that made it past the blossom, stayed on the branch through sun, wind and rain, ripened and still waited until the hungry hand reached for it and sated itself. Still it isn’t the end: its seeds fall to the ground complete with their memories and something new quietly and silently prepares itself to arise again, the ever re-birthing Phoenix.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thank you Lara. As to the wisdom, let’s just say I had much help and serious teaching. I try to pass some of it along the way…

  6. colettebytes

    Well, I am only a month late wishing you a Happy Birthday Sha’Tara. I hope you experience more wisdom with each passing year. I too feel a lot of sorrow, but mostly for people who do not see what I see, or feel the things that would make their life joyful. Yes… A lot of sorrow for the ‘lost!’

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Wow… my turn to be late! Thanks for the birthday wish, Colette. The good thing about sorrow (and joy) is they are not meant to be taken personally. Neither guilt nor pride attached to either unless we allow our mind to “denature” the process down to pain or pleasure: those are personal. Once we’ve evolved our mind – expanded our awareness – we can join in a world’s process of change and healing but we may not attempt to “save” the world. All such attempts have been massive failures. The world will accept our willingness to share with it but it will never cooperate with any force that claims to save. Massive topic but time forces me to leave it at that for now. Thank you again!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.