Chapter 5: To Hell with Enlightenment!
I am afraid - afraid of enlightenment. What is beyond enlightenment? What to do after the goal of living is reached? What do you aim for? It is like falling into a bottomless pit. You fall - no bottom, no goal. Then what do you aim for? What is beyond the goal?
Cliff - obviously it is not my pilot Cliff, because the question does not show the guts of a pilot - but whoever you are you have raised very significant questions. I am saying questions because there are many. You have condensed them into a very small question.
First you are saying, “I am afraid, afraid of enlightenment.” This can be taken as a general state of human mind; otherwise there is no reason why so few people have ever become enlightened. And those who have become enlightened have been shouting for centuries of its joy, its bliss; its ultimate truth, beauty; its eternity and its going beyond death. But the larger part of humanity has not paid any attention to it. Naturally, your question comes from the deepest core of humanity.
It is not only your question, everybody is afraid of enlightenment. And the reason is clear why one is afraid: the fear is of losing yourself. For the same reason people are afraid of love; for the same reason people are afraid of trust; for the same reason they remain enclosed in all kinds of fears, miseries, anxieties and anguish, because at least these feel familiar. And one thing is certain, they don’t ask you to be lost. The more painful your life is, the more you are.
Perhaps deep down you desire pain, you desire misery, you desire anguish, because that keeps you clearly defined. You are afraid of the same things for which you also have a longing. On the one hand, there is a longing to go beyond all fears, beyond all anxieties, beyond all suffering. But the problem becomes complex, because being beyond suffering you are also beyond yourself - you are the suffering. You are the prison, that’s why you are afraid to get out of it. On the contrary, you try to console yourself in every way, that “This is not a prison, this is my home.”
So you are living in a dilemma: you want to go into the open sky and open your wings and fly across the sun. But on the other hand, you are afraid you may never be able to find the way back to your cozy, familiar space. Although it is painful you have become accustomed to it; although there is suffering it is like an old friend. The beyond invites you, calls you to take courage. But it also creates a trembling within you, because going out of the cozy circle of your misery and your hell, you know for certain - you may not be very conscious of it - that your so-called personality will melt away into the vast.just like any ice block.