Chapter 8: Enlightenment: An Endless Beginning
Meditation is going inward. And the journey is endless, endless in the sense that the door opens and goes on opening until the door itself becomes the universe. Meditation flowers, and it goes on flowering until the flowering itself becomes the cosmos. The journey is endless: it begins, but it never ends.
There are no degrees of enlightenment. Once it is, it is there. It is just like jumping into an ocean of feeling. You jump, you become one with it, like a drop dropping into the ocean becomes one with it. But that doesn’t mean that you have known the whole ocean.
The moment is total: the moment of dropping the ego - the moment of ego elimination, the moment of egolessness - is total; it is complete. As far as you are concerned, it is perfect. But as far as the ocean is concerned, as far as the divine is concerned, it is just a beginning, and there will be no end to it.
One thing to remember: ignorance has no beginning, but it has an end. You cannot know from what point your ignorance begins; you always find it there; you are always in the midst of it. You never know the beginning: there is no beginning.
Ignorance has no beginning, but it ends. Enlightenment has a beginning, but it never ends. And both of these become one; they both are one. The beginning of enlightenment and the end of ignorance is a single point. It is one point, a dangerous point with two faces: one face looking toward beginningless ignorance and the other face looking at the beginning of endless enlightenment.
So you reach enlightenment, but yet you never reach it. You come to it, you drop into it, you become one with it, but still a vast unknown remains. And that is the beauty of it; that is the mystery of it.
If everything was known in enlightenment, there would be no mystery. If everything became known, the whole thing would become ugly; then there would be no mystery, everything would be dead. So enlightenment is not “knowing” in this sense; it is not knowing as a suicide, it is knowing in the sense that it is an opening into greater mysteries. “Knowing” then means that you have known the mystery, you have become aware of the mystery. It is not that you have solved it: it is not that there is a mathematical formula and now everything is known. Rather, the knowing of enlightenment means that you have come to a point where the mystery has become ultimate. You have known that this is the ultimate mystery; you have known it as a mystery, now it has become so mysterious that you cannot hope to solve it. Now you leave all hope.
But it is not despair, it is not hopelessness; it is just understanding the nature of the mystery. The mystery is such that it is insoluble; the mystery is such that the very effort to solve it is absurd. The mystery is such that to try to solve it through the intellect is meaningless: you have come to the limit of your thinking. Now there is no thinking at all, and knowing begins.