You Are Already Enlightened…

By Seamus Anthony

… the trick is getting in touch with this truth so that you feel it.

By Seamus Anthony

If you read a lot of Zen stuff, enlightenment stuff, you’ll come across the idea that we are all inherently enlightened, and I believe that this is true.

But also true is that most people don’t usually feel anything like they’re enlightened at all.

In fact most people either don’t even know what enlightenment is or they believe that it’s something “up there” that they cannot hope to achieve. Well, we’re not the first but we at Rebel Zen are here to tell you that it is true – you ARE enlightened but you just don’t know it yet.

Getting in Touch with Your Inherent Enlightenment

At the core of your being, underneath all of the emotions, moods, thoughts, opinions, and physical sensations is your True Self or your soul. Your True Self knows that it is one with all of creation, the Universe, God. It exists in a permanent state of peace that cannot be shaken even when you are in the midst of the worst possible crises imaginable. It is NOT the part of you that freaks out because somebody is pointing a gun at your head (or more likely, because the new guy in the office is using your favourite damn coffee mug). This part of you, much more readily accessible, is your ego.

So how can you get in touch with your True Self? Here’s some ideas:

  1. Forget All of Your Assumptions About What Enlightenment Actually Is
    The reason I never turn to strangers at the pub and say “Hi, I’m Seamus and I’m enlightened” is because I don’t really want to be branded a complete tosser, such are most people’s assumptions about what it means to be enlightened.But the truth is I do consider myself to ‘be enlightened’ and so are you. The difference between me, and some really advanced spiritual practitioner, and your average crack-addict street thug is that I fall in the middle there somewhere in terms of being in touch with my True Self.

    What this means in practical terms is that I spend most of my time being aware of the calm, expansive, connected-to-the-universe part of me and am able to tap into this to be a very calm, confident, disgustingly chirpy individual most of the time.

    And then sometimes I lose touch with that and blow my stack, or become overcome with fear or get the blues. But increasingly less as my ability to walk in the light grows.

    Sorry I know phrases like “walk in the light” are pretty lame but it is sometimes hard to describe such an intangible feeling without resorting to cliches. (And besides, it’s getting late and I wanna watch a DVD, ok?)

  2. Learn To Meditate:
    This may not be groundbreaking news for every reader of this blog, but for newbies it is the logical place to start.When you meditate you quieten the loud voices of the ego, move out of ‘fight or flight response’ and learn to increase your awareness of a deeper calmer You underneath all that noise and emotion. This chilled-out version of you goes by many names, I prefer True Self. I go into more detail about this ‘most bodacious’ aspect of You later in this list.

    It goes beyond the scope of this post to teach you how to meditate, but there’s plenty of instruction out there. If you don’t already meditate, make a note to investigate this further later because once you know how to meditate then you will be able to …

  3. Realise that Existence is Just An Onion …

    Okay, I’m being funny, but what I mean here is twofold. The first meaning is that if you want to experience your inherent enlightenment (and believe me you can) then you’ll need to peel back the ‘onion layers’ of your mind to find the still, calm ‘space of good feeling’ that lies at the core of your being. This is where your True Self abides. Again, more on the True Self laterThe second level to the onion wisecrack is…
  4. Discover That Life Is Just A Zany Dream.
    I know that people feel real pain and hunger and that on a practical level this sort of flippant New Age talk may not do the disadvantaged any immediate good*, but nevertheless, on a philosophical level, we all grow up to believe that we know What Life Is.We can see it, right? It’s right in front of us. We read about it. We are animals on a planet in a galaxy in the universe.

    Hello! We DON’T know What Life Is and for all we know we could be little bugs living inside a gigantic onion. And hey! Maybe that enormous onion is about to be sliced up and sprinkled over some kind of unfathomable cosmic pizza and slid into a big, hot quantum oven!

    Ok. Probably not. But still, don’t fall into the trap of assuming that we know what it’s all about. We don’t. And we never will. And enlightenment is about knowing that we don’t know, not suddenly knowing all the secrets to the meaning of life.

    That’s all she wrote about that, dude, so don’t believe the hype. Gurus who tell you that they know all the answers need to read the next point…

  5. Keep A Leash On Your Ego:
    Realise that your ego doesn’t need to freak out every time something happens. It is healthy and normal to get upset when you’re in the midst of a car crash, it is not healthy to lose it when somebody else steals the sweet car park nearest the supermarket doors. Your ego is an idiot (so is mine by the way) and needs to be kept on a leash like my big dumb dog does. Otherwise, like my dog, your ego will go and crap in the worst possible spot right when everybody is looking. It’ll go jumping up at strangers and stealing candy bars off children.But how to you control your ego?
  6. Become Aware That Your Ego Is Not All Of You:
    It’s just a part of you, and a bit of a stupid part too. An evolutionary throwback that unfortunately most people in this world still let run the show. Really, on an emotional level, humans as a collective species are pretty much operating at the level of cavemen (albeit cavemen with really impressive toys).Become aware that you can observe your ego even when it is going about its usual business. If you practice you can even take a step back into True Self while your ego is throwing a hissy-fit and actually observe “yourself” having a tanty with a sense of wry, detached humour. Which part of you stops you from murdering your husband when you are having a row? Not your ego that’s for sure.

    I put “yourself” in quotes because we often make the mistake of thinking that “I lost my temper”. The whole of you did not lose your temper, only the ego did, it’s just that most of us have been raised to fully identify with that little bit of our minds even though it actually makes no sense to do so.

    Know that there’s a wide, expansive, calm, intelligent part of your mind quietly waiting for you to come home to it and hear what it has to say. Your True self.

    The ego is loud and demanding. It’s impatient. The True Self is quiet and patient. It knows that it makes no difference if the ego gets what it wants or not because in the end your True self is eternal, only the ego faces certain death.

  7. Realise that Only the Ego dies, but your True Self is eternal.
    The True Self is eternal because it is a seamless part of the whole and we all know that when ‘we’ die, the Whole goes on. Part of the reason the ego behaves the way it does is because it knows it is going to die and it HATES that idea. You may also feel a bit scared at times about dying, but know that your True Self goes on, just your ego dies when your physical body expires.Logic tell me that conscious awareness of myself as an individual therefore ceases then too, but of course my ego likes to believe that I will still ‘be me’ afterwards; that I will be like “Oh, I am still here, my True Self, just off on a nice fuzzy journey somewhere new.”

    Hey – maybe. But then again, maybe not.
    Hell, what do I know?
    We’ll all find out soon enough I guess but meantime…

  8. Deliberately Notice How Magical Life Is Again
    I think part of growing older can be that we forget to see this natural world that we live in as it really is: an incredible miracle full of mystery, magic and wonder.Just look at your hand! Look at your cat! Look at anything and see again, like you would have when you were a child, what an incredible, amazing, wondrous mystery Life is.

    Part of finding true, deep and lasting happiness is learning to live in the moment as much as you can and when you are living in the present, you cannot fail but to see how incredible it all is. It’s like you develop a kind of mild super-power of the eyes. It actually reminds me of when I was younger and silly enough to drop the odd tab of acid, not that I am recommending that (it’s unhealthy for the body) but anyway, those who have been there will know that I am talking about a Way of Seeing that brings you acute awareness of the pure magic that surrounds us everyday.

    If you are thinking “What is this freakin’ hippy on about? I am looking around me now and all I see is my Dad’s butt-crack as he bends over to get at the last beer in the fridge (and there’s nothing magical about that let me tell you)” then I advise you to learn to meditate and especially try meditating on nature. Just sit there and stare at a beautiful flower for half an hour or as long as it takes before you suddenly get what I mean. Then look around you. Even your Dad’s arse will look better from then on.

    And whether life is feeling magical to you or not at all …

  9. Be Grateful for Your Chance At Life
    And be grateful for all the things in your life. Even those things you would sooner live without.We’ve all got aspects of our lives that we would rather just disappeared and I don’t know how it works but I have found that if you consciously practice gratitude for everything in your life, even the ‘bad’ stuff, you will more easily and more often connect with your True Self and enjoy the fruits of your inherent enlightenment: peace of mind and deep happiness.

    If you are having trouble with the idea of being grateful for your hemorrhoids then …

  10. Practice Non-Judgement
    Every time you judge something as “bad” you disconnect yourself from the flow of the Universe, from your True Self. This can be a very, very hard skill to put into practice and I doubt you or I will ever manage to practice non-judgement 100% of the time. For instance I’d be happy to bet a dollar that if I were to poke you in the eye, you’d judge that as a pretty crap move on my behalf. And this inherent tendency is useful on a level. If you remained impartial about oncoming buses or falling pianos then you wouldn’t be around very long!But it is amazing how much angst we put ourselves through by taking such strong stands against minor things. Things like “what she said” or “what he did” or even truly small things like “I don’t like brussel sprouts” (guilty of that one myself).

    Fuck it. Eat the sprouts. Forget what she said. Dismiss what he did. Don’t waste your energy and time getting all pent up over it when you could be experiencing the peace and joy of enlightenment, or, for that matter, a Mars Bar.

    Judgment causes a disconnect between your consciousness and your True Self, who is at peace with all and judges nothing. So next time it rains, catch yourself hunching up and frowning. Truly, be still! What does it matter? Is rain a bad thing? No way! You know that. It’s awesome! It isn’t acid; it’s a life giving miracle! So stand up straight and revel in it until you get to the bus shelter, and you will have proven to yourself that you truly are a fully enlightened soul. Enjoy that feeling, and gratefully share it around ๐Ÿ™‚

*BTW – Metaphysical discourse, or fluffy New Age talk, may not be much use when you’re starving or in the middle of a war, BUT if the majority of people realised their inherent enlightenment then such problems would disappear because all those overblown egos that cause all of these problems would lose their hold on the puppet strings of power. That’s why we must strive to help people get in touch with their True Selves, because if we eventually reach critical mass, then we finally WILL solve the problems of the world. And maybe the new Age of Connectivity is going to herald that change. Make it so.

Hi, I'm Seamus Anthony. I am an author, artist and musician from Australia. Here at Rebel Zen, I document my journey as an creative artist and human and in doing so, hopefully help you in your own progress through your life of creativity. Go get your free E-book by me: "Taming The Monkey Mind".

27 comments Write a comment

  1. Hi Seamus,

    I think I’d phrase number one differently. I think I’d say: watch yourself making assumptions, even do it deliberately; then see what happens. Trying to forget them I think is impossible. But I think we can become aware of how we do it. I don’t think I’m disagreeing with the point you are making though.

  2. Pingback: The Art of DIY Enlightenment | Rebel Zen

  3. Nice post (on a brilliant website). As someone at the age of 32 still enjoying the odd couple of enlightened hours using certain substances I just wanted to mention that whatever you think/feel about acid, it’s NOT unhealthy for the body. No really, it isn’t.
    Anyway, keep up the good work (and please don’t fulfill my expectations ๐Ÿ™‚
    Martin

  4. Hi Martin,

    Fair enough. Let me rephrase: Acid is unhealthy for my body ๐Ÿ™‚

    Truthfully I don’t reckon I’ve ever had acid that wasn’t dirty stuff that the ‘experts’ wouldn’t go near. But anyway I don’t seem to be that interested these days. Maybe I’ll change my mind one day (I reserve the right).

    Anyway, glad you like our blog!

  5. Thanks for a great article Seamus, I have been reading lots and listerning to some CD’s which cover much of what you have said, except in a more roundabout fashion. I really liked the distinction you made about ego, which I havn’t “got” before, as opposed to true self. The fact that ego is only a small part of us but one which rules us, and that we can detach from it made a lot of sense to me. So thanks again, really like the blogg! Gruff.

  6. Hey thanks Stephen, pretty cool to know my words strike a chord with people. Sometimes when I am writing this kooky stuff I wonder if I am in fact barking mad ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  8. Hey Seamus,

    Good post. I agree with you that at the ultimate level, we are all already enlightened, for our true nature as conscious awareness already exists.

    The onion metaphor is perfect. It’s not about trying to go out and find something new, but rather letting go of the layers of fear, illusion, and limitation that cover up the core of our being.

    You mentioned the concept of controlling the ego. Who is it that wants to control the ego?

    Ariel – We Are All Ones last blog post..Forcing Presence vs. Allowing Presence

  9. Dear Seamus,

    Beautifully worded blog. I like your sense of humour. The great Ramkrishna (Vivekanand’s teacher) had it. Spirituality is serious business, but it need not be dispensed with a castor oil expression.

  10. I have been peeling the Onion all of my life with a little help from The Whole. You have to be ready or the Universe will not start you on your path because it doesn’t waste anything. I started having unexplainable experiences at a very young age and they have continued throughout my life. I can’t say the path has been easy because it hasn’t and the Onion has many layers but it is worth the effort.
    Ultimately we are on our own because there is only one of us here but faith is a good starting point and something to hold on to. Organized Religions are bunk for the most part but serve a purpose when you are just starting out. The church is you as is the goal but be assured it is the Pearl of Great Price that will lead you to yourself.
    Good Blog Seamus!

  11. “donโ€™t fall into the trap of assuming that we know what itโ€™s all about”

    Why not? You do!

    You assert there is a “still, calm โ€˜space of good feelingโ€™ that lies at the core of your being”. I say perhaps. I say wouldn’t that be nice. I say even if there isn’t, that you still need to accept the core of your being as it is. To say you should not be angry when you are is not ZEN. Zen is the practice of realization. I reject your assertion that is is being calm. Realize you are angry and take the path away from suffering.

  12. Enlightening, I do believe it is our “true self’s” observation and experience with the ego that is why we are here. We are here to learn, grow, and evolve.

    Your last paragraph is particularly powerful. We are a midst a change in collective consciousness. I also believe when this collective consciousnesses hits a critical mass, we will finally solve the problems of the world.

    Keep up the good work. If one more person opens themselves up to their true self, or finds the words and understanding to spread it to another through your sharing, we are one step closer to creating a world where everyone has the opportunity to experience the peace, love, and joy that comes with this knowledge.

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  15. This is so profound, and totally hilarious! I loved it and I’m so glad I found it, gna bookmark so I can read again later.

  16. Hello out there, wherever we all are one in this vast empty ness filled with all sorts of amazing ness. Love all that is and all that is not. Learn to meditate. Step out of the mind and into reality, step into your here and now where past and future do not exist. Slowly but surely the mind will quieten, perhaps even stop (but don’t worry, you will not forget how to operate and be practical!) you will become still and you will feel enlightened. Everything is perfect and as it should be. The Universe is in charge!
    Dear Grandmaster Mu. There are no words inside enlightenment. We can only point to it with words.

  17. Hey Seamus I am a 14 year old boy and I just looked up how you know if your enlightened and this came up, may I remind you I knew I was enlightened before i came to this page but yet maybe I wanted to learn more. I think your article is very useful and helps a lot I am one happy young one and It will stay that way I didn’t read every single thing but I read most of it may I add that love is also one of the most important things in the universe if we want to start being able to be in contact with extraterrestrials and what not then love and positive energy is the answer. I honestly don’t know where I’m going with this but I just want to say thank you for the information and I hope you see this post peace bro!

  18. Seamus, thank you so much. My experience seemed to be that I became enlightened then lost it. I couldn’t find anywhere anyone speaking of this. I thought, when I was feeling that total equanimity, that that was it now. I didn’t think I should ever again experience the misery of ego being in control and me believing my ‘small mind’ again. But you say at the start how, even though enlightened, you slip back into old habits. Now I am thinking that one can’t really become unenlightened… Or at least, one really needn’t and feeling the pain of that ‘ loss’for the last couple of days has made me think maybe suffering is needed to nudge me back.
    I so liked what you said about where you sit between a totally enlightened being and a crack addict! I am beginning to understand that, at least at this stage, I have to keep examining the ego, watching thoughts, being grateful, developing compassion ( which seems to be the natural order when I am in enlightened state).
    Thanks for your simple wise words that resonate so well with me.

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