Chapter 36: Enlightenment: The By-product of Being in the Present
Perhaps there are other sociologists who are thinking in the same terms but have not been able to put it together, what their problem is. He may be able to create a movement which someday brings about an authentic sociology.
Before I came to know you, I had never heard about enlightenment. But I was searching for something. Now, after four years of living in a commune, I feel further away from reaching somewhere than ever before. I’m just grateful to be here and to feel your friendship and compassion. Is enlightenment still the goal? Is there any goal at all?
This is a troublesome question.
Enlightenment has never been the goal. Its very nature prohibits making it a goal. The goal is always in the future somewhere; and enlightenment is always now and here. Enlightenment is an experience in the present.
But this is one of the troubles of the mind, that it makes goals out of everything. If you love the idea of enlightenment, then immediately the mechanism of the mind makes it a goal: you have to achieve it - and that’s where you go on the wrong path.
Enlightenment is a by-product of the understanding that to live in the past is foolish, because it is simply memory. But millions of people are wasting their time in memories. Millions of others are living in the future. You cannot live in the future; it is making castles in the air.
To understand that past and future are both nonexistential.all that you have got is a very small moment: this very moment. You don’t even get two moments together. When one moment is gone, you get another moment. You always have only one moment in your hands; and it is so small and so fleeting, that if you are thinking of the past and the future, you will miss it. And that is the only life and the only reality there is.
Understanding this whole process, one thing becomes certain: why the mind avoids the present, which is the real, and why it tries to get involved with past and future, which are not real. As one tries to understand that, one thing becomes clear: that in the present moment, mind cannot exist.
Mind is simply a collection of memories of the past, and - out of those memories - imagination about the future.
Mind does not know three tenses.
It knows only two: past and future.
Present is nonexistential to the mind. The existential is nonexistential to the mind; and the nonexistentials are existential to the mind. Hence the whole effort is how to get out of the mind, how to get out of the nonexistentials and to stand in the middle - where existence is.