The first thing: it can never be in the future. You cannot make a goal of it; it can never be tomorrow. Either it is here and now, or never. Remember those words: now or never!
You have misunderstood the idea of enlightenment. The idea of enlightenment is to remain in the present moment. I call it meditation – not to go into the past, which is no more, not to go into the future, which is not yet – because if you go into past and future, you are going to miss the present moment, which is the only reality.
Just be here, now. And if you are here and now, enlightenment comes of its own accord. It is not a goal that you have to reach. It is not somewhere far away, so that you have to travel a path to it. It comes to you, you never go to it. It is not your doing, it is a happening.
All that you have to understand is: be authentically in the present, because there is no other reality anywhere. This small moment, this silence – and suddenly you will feel something arising from the very depths of your being. It has always been there; you never gave it a chance. You have been wandering everywhere, but you have not allowed your innermost core just a little space, a little time.
All the other religions teach you that God is there far away; you need a savior, a messiah, a prophet, a holy book, a religion, to help you to reach there. They teach you that heaven is far away, and you have to accumulate virtue to deserve it. They are keeping your eyes focused on a faraway future.
This is a very cunning strategy so that life goes on slipping out of your hands. From the cradle to the grave, you are just hoping and hoping and hoping. And what comes is neither God nor heaven, but death. And you missed the tremendous opportunity of being alive! You simply vegetated, because you were not interested in life itself. Even great thinkers, theologians….
One Christian theologian, a great intellectual, respected all over the world, was Stanley Jones. He was traveling all around the world, preaching the gospel of Christ.
I met him in one of his discourses. After the discourse I asked him, “Your discourse was beautiful, but do you understand what you are doing? You are harming all these simple people. You are proving exactly what Karl Marx used to say, that religions are nothing but opium to the people. I don’t agree with Karl Marx on anything else, but on this statement I cannot disagree. You are giving them dreams of the future, of an eternal life beyond death. Have you been beyond death?
“Being a Christian, certainly you cannot say that you have been beyond death. A Hindu may be able to say yes, because he believes in many lives; he has been many times through the process of death. But you cannot say that. Christians, Jews, Mohammedans believe only in one life, so there is going to be only one death. Have you been beyond death? Have you come experiencing what you are saying?