Party enlightenment | The Optimist Daily
Today’s Solutions: July 16, 2024

Tijn Touber | April 2004 issue

Jacques Lusseyran was one of the greatest heroes of the French Resistance. He survived the concentration camp at Buchenwald because one day he decided to get up off his stretcher. The man who lay dying next to him looked at Lusseyran and called out, ‘You don’t stand a chance, you are going to die.’ Lusseyran turned to face him… and laughed. It was a liberating laugh. Having decided to go on living, he felt uplifted. Now I am free to help others, he thought to himself. Lusseyran showed that life always includes an element of choice.

Following in his footsteps, four weeks ago I decided to become enlightened. I found that after 16 years of practice, the time was ripe. After all, it isn’t really all that difficult. It is mainly a question of staying alert and remembering that you have everything and that you can do anything. In this way, what you become is for the benefit of all. Becoming enlightened is not something you do just for yourself. Raimon Panikkar, emeritus professor of religious studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara (see page XX), says that the world is ruled by philosophers – albeit with a delay of two to three generations. I therefore think it is a good idea for people to mention if they’re enlightened. With a bit of luck it will become a trend and we can all become enlightened within, say, 50 or 70 years.

Actually it is highly amusing to tell people you are enlightened. Especially at parties. Just go up to someone and ask, ‘By the way, have you already become enlightened?’ The moment you ask the question, people become interested. They want to know how you became enlightened and seem to prefer a practical, step-by-step account of how it was done. On the other hand, if you are having a less enlightened day, people laugh politely, dial emergency numbers or simply ignore you. Perfect mirrors!

An added advantage to telling people you are now enlightened is that they hold you to your word. You have to live up to it. However, it does put certain people off and perhaps this is the most important reason why we are loathe to admit that we are enlightened. After all, people do have the strangest ideas about what being enlightened really means. Some think it turns you into a boring saint or that you have to spend your day doing good deeds or, even worse, that you have to sell your Armani trousers and color TV.

However, masters of enlightenment will tell you that this is not at all necessary! Enlightenment is simply a change in awareness. Enlightened people have free access to all parts of their personalities – including the part that sits watching television wearing Armani – and can enter or exit various aspects of themselves at will without getting stuck. This is self-realization without any attachment to the ego. Enlightened masters have the whole spectrum of human life at their disposal. ‘And,’ they will add, ‘also the collective field and the spiritual dimensions.’

The only thing I have never heard enlightened masters say is that they are enlightened. And especially not at parties. Now why would this be?

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