Zen Enlightenment

Being Free Of The Effects Of The Mind

Don't Get Stuck In Seeking - Experience It Now


Zen enlightenment - or any form of enlightenment - is much misunderstood.

In my experience there is at least as much a lack of understanding about this within Buddhist circles as there in the non-Buddhist and secular world.

Put simply "zen enlightenment" (and all other forms of enlightenment) means to be free of the effects of the mind, to be aware, to be present-moment-aware, and unencumbered with thoughts about the past or the future – just totally present. That’s all.

There is something in human nature - a desire to glamorise, sanctify, objectify and idolise – that elevates people who have offered deep insights to the human race and thus put distance between them and the rest of us.

But these great ones have exactly the same psychological, emotional, and physiological equipment as the rest of us. To put it bluntly – we all share the same basic equipment.

If one can do it so can we all - potentially.

Although enlightenment may seem like an unreachable goal, we’re actually having glimpses of it all the time.




Zen Enlightenment Can Only Be Now


We get very hung up on the idea that "zen enlightenment" - or any form of expression of "spiritual progress" is ahead of us - something to be attained - something to be aspired to - something that we may experience one day in the next life or subsequent lives (for those who subscribe to a belief in reincarnation).

We see it as always in the future - yet never the only place it can be - NOW!



    Being stuck in seeking is the single biggest stumbling block to present moment awareness.

    There is nothing of truth that we can find anywhere but NOW right here in this present moment.








Lost In Our Delusions About Zen Enlightenment


Former American Zen Master Dennis Merzel aka Genpo Roshi (creator of the "Big Mind" process) expresses all this rather well in his article "Never Ending Clarification"


    "It just gets clearer and clearer to me how much I, and we, are deluded by our zen enlightenment.

    We have a saying by Dogen Zenji: 'We’re enlightened in our delusion. We’re deluded in our enlightenment. And then there’s delusion beyond delusion'.

    It’s all delusion, and zen enlightenment is just another delusion.

    There’s dualistic delusion, of self and others, and that’s where most of us are at.

    And then there’s the delusion of being enlightened. That’s the stink of Zen. Then we think we’re beyond both enlightenment and delusion.

    It’s all delusion, including whatever comes next; "deluded beyond delusion"...

    It’s just words and concepts.

    It’s our life, and life is ongoing and never ending. It’s all eternal life, eternal transmigrating, eternal clarifying, eternal refinement, it never stops as long as we don’t come to a stop with it.

    And that’s the problem, we want to come to a stop and say "I’m there, I’ve arrived".







The Buddha And Jesus


The Buddha and some of his monks were out wandering one day and a man approached him and observed (I am paraphrasing slightly!): "What is it that’s different about you guys– you walk, talk, chop wood, eat, sleep, use the bathroom – you seem just like the rest of us?"

The Buddha replied: "Yes, that is true – but when we walk, talk, chop wood, eat, sleep, use the bathroom we KNOW we do."

Jesus said (and again I paraphrase): "I can guarantee this truth with certainty, that unless you change and become like little children - who are unencumbered by thoughts of past or future and just live and enjoy the present moment - you will never enter the kingdom of mindfulness".

[Quick biblical footnote – the "I AM" statements of God in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament are statements of absolute present moment consciousness.]

The only difference between highly developed spiritual people and the rest of us is one of degree.

They have acquired or developed or been blessed with (however you choose to express it) the capacity to enter and maintain a mindful or present moment awareness state whenever they want to or need to and can do so at will for as long as they choose to or need to – and then engage with what we conventionally refer to as the "normal thinking mind".

The key to this is having the capability to move freely between these states at will and NOT to become stuck in either state.




The State Of Enlightenment


States Become Stages Become Sages

The initial state of "zen enlightenment" - more accurately expressed as "waking up or awakening or transformation or basic realisation that things are not what we thought and that there is more" - is a state that may only last briefly – but once we have experienced it, we can’t unlearn it.

And with practise, dedication and discipline that state become a more frequent part of our experience until eventually we enter it as a stage – where we can stop thinking at will – and access transcendent states of awareness at will.

True wisdom occurs when we draw daily guidance and inspiration from this source rather than the output of our thinking minds.

This is sometimes referred to as "growing in grace" or "spiritual maturity".




What is Nirvana?

Thich Nhat Hanh gives us a lucid and profound explanation that defines nirvana as the cessation of all suffering, and our suffering comes from our wrong perceptions...




The Neurology of The Enlightened State

Dr Andrew Newberg is regarded as one of leading pioneers in the field of neuroscientific study of religious and spiritual experiences, increasingly referred to as – neurotheology.

His research work focuses on the nature of religious and spiritual practices and experiences and specifically how brain function is associated with various mental states, especially the relationship between brain function and mystical or religious experiences.

Neurologist Dr Andrew Newberg explains: How to find your own path to enlightenment




Return to: How To Practise Mindfulness"

Recent Articles

  1. Intuition & Anxiety - Are There Angels Or Devils Calling Here?

    How To Tell The Difference Between Intuition and Anxiety. How do you know whether the voice of your intuition is real or just the product of your inner anxiety? We all struggle with these inner voices…

    Read More

  2. Like A Prayer - Life Is A Mystery

    It Isn't The Process Of Prayer That’s The Problem, It’s The Way It’s Framed. Regardless of what we feel about Madonna or her song the topic of prayer often arouses strong reactions. Usually, it is som…

    Read More

  3. Fear Of Missing Out - "I'll Have What She's Having!"

    We Follow The Herd - We Mimic Other People's Choices. Fear of missing out - or FOMO as it is popularly referred to - is the feeling that everyone else in your peer group is having much more fun than y…

    Read More

  4. Free - Self Improvement Resources

    Exercising Balance and Discernment. I have just updated these self improvement resources with a number of additional sources of material that are practical and can help you change your life. Check it…

    Read More

  5. Your Higher Self - Your Hardwired Portal To The Universe

    This Is The You That Is Beyond Your Thinking Mind. This is the big you, the transcendent you, the you that is often referred to as your higher consciousness or higher self. This is the you that acts a…

    Read More

  6. The Power Of Gratitude - It's Good For You!

    Gratitude And Attitude Are Not Challenges, They Are Choices. The power of gratitude quite simply is that it is good for you! Many of us were raised by parents who instilled in us the social niceties o…

    Read More

  7. Living With Your Thoughts - 4 Tools To Help You

    Develop A Good Working Relationship With Your Mind. The first step in living with your thoughts is to understand and develop a good working relationship with all areas of your mind. The key to develop…

    Read More

  8. You Are Not Your Thoughts - How To Escape This Ferris Wheel Of Suffering

    The 4 Stages To Dealing With Your Thoughts. You are not your thoughts, at least that's what your rational mind tells you most of the time, but that's definitely not how it feels at 3 am when you have…

    Read More

  9. Finish What You Start - Action Will Destroy Your Procrastination

    4 Key Tips To Help You Finish What You Start. So why do you fail to finish what you start? Or in my case, why do I fail to even get started? There is a wealth of information out there about how to avo…

    Read More

  10. Going The Extra Mile - The Power Of One More

    Life Is Non-Linear, Which Makes The Rewards Of Continued Effort Disproportionately Big. In the pursuit of a long term goal you have to go countless extra miles to set yourself up for a big success. Go…

    Read More

  11. Tao Te Ching - Connecting To Your True Source Of Power.

    How To Be Lived By The Tao. The Tao Te Ching is one of those books that many people read, few understand, and even fewer put into practice. The only way to know the Tao is to experience it, and it is…

    Read More

  12. Dying To Self & Dropping The Ego

    Everything Does Not Revolve Around Me. The two phrases dying to self & dropping the ego are Christian and Buddhist expressions of the same fundamental truth - the need to correct the inbuilt, hardwire…

    Read More

  13. The Confident Mind - 4 Keys To Peak Performance

    Peak Performance Is Meditation In Motion. Peak performance is grounded in the Tao practise of Wu Wei which means "doing with out doing". This is all about how you take action by being so immersed in p…

    Read More

  14. Going With The Flow - The Balance Of Being And Doing

    Steer The Boat Each Day Rather Than Plan Ahead Way Into The Future. Going with the flow is about learning to become comfortable with uncertainty, and learning how to exploit the potential hidden withi…

    Read More

  15. 8 Principles For Success

    A Timeless Foundation On Which To Build Your Success. There are Universal laws and processes that work to support us and guarantee that we achieve all our goals. But first we need to know what they ar…

    Read More

  16. The Loving Father

    A Love That Will Not Let You Go. I had a loving father. I knew that I did, but I never felt it. My father was a good man but very damaged and unable to show his feelings. So I grew up knowing in my he…

    Read More

  17. Your Ebenezer Stone Of Help

    How To Stay Connected To Your True Source Of Power. Approximately 2,500 years ago the Israeli town of Kafr Qasim was close to the site of two battles between the ancient Israelis and their neighbours…

    Read More

  18. The Stockdale Paradox

    How To Deal With The Attrition Factor. The Stockdale Paradox is named after the late James Stockdale, former vice presidential candidate, naval commander and prisoner of war during the American-Vietna…

    Read More

  19. Embrace Your Fear Of Failure And Uncertainty

    We Celebrate Success And Ignore Failure. Numerous studies have been undertaken on successful people to understand what it was that they did to become so successful, how they did it and when they did i…

    Read More

  20. The Wilderness Years - 3 Keys To An Exit

    How You Got Into The Wilderness Matters Less Than The Lessons To Be Learnt There. The wilderness years can be described as any lengthy time, longer than a year, that is spend aimlessly; without an imm…

    Read More

  21. Boredom – Your Greatest Threat to Results

    We Live In A World That Glorifies The Results And Not The Process. We all know what we should be doing, but the trouble with that is that sooner of later we get bored. The enjoyment fades, the excitem…

    Read More

  22. The Luck Factor - 4 Basic Principles

    You Can Master The Art of Creating Your Own Luck By Mastering 4 Key Principles "The Luck Factor" is the title of a book published 20 years ago based on the research of Professor Richard Wiseman who fo…

    Read More

  23. Your Relationship With Failure Is Critical To Your Success

    Just Because You Have A Spectacular Failure Doesn’t Mean The Game Is Over. The thought that you could fail can really slow you down. But the problem is not the failure, the problem is your relationshi…

    Read More

  24. Lost, Stuck & Going Round In Circles?

    Are You Lost In Transition? To be in an alien North African city, late in the evening, in the dark, completely lost in transition from the main market square back to the obscure location of our Riad…

    Read More

  25. Seeing Is Believing Or Is It?

    Do You Believe What You See Or Do You See What You Believe? Like the characters in "The Matrix" we are fooled by the illusion that what we see is how things really are. Why? Because this is the mind's…

    Read More

  26. What Difference Did You Make?

    What Impact Will You Leave In The Lives Of Others? If you knew you were going to die tonight and you were given a few minutes to reflect before that happened, what would you say was the meaning of yo…

    Read More

  27. Compassion Is Selfish And You Need It

    If You Want Others To Be Happy, Practice Compassion. If You Want To Be Happy, Practice Compassion. Compassion is derived from the Latin words "com pati" meaning to suffer with. It has been defined as…

    Read More

  28. The Placebo Effect - 2 Key Takeaways

    The Power Of Expectation Of An Outcome Regardless Of The Lack Of Any Substance To That Expectation. Traditionally, the placebo effect occurs when false, or dummy, treatments of inert substances [that…

    Read More

  29. The Red Pill

    This Is What Will Happen After You Take It. "This is your last chance," rebel leader Morpheus tells Neo, holding a coloured pill in each hand. “You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in y…

    Read More

  30. Transformational Life Hacks

    This Has To Be One Of The Best Ways For Living The Best Life You Can Possibly Live. An online search on life hacks will invariably provide you with multiple links to ways of increasing your productivi…

    Read More



The Balanced Life



The Balanced Toolkit



3 Keys Solutions


Get new posts by email:



Support This Site