Sunday, 6 April 2008

The glimpse before Enlightenment....

I spent much of yesterday listening to an audio tape of a lecture given by the Swiss mystic and psychiatrist Manuel Schoch. He referred to something he called 'the glimpse before enlightenment'. This got me thinking and I remembered that I had referred to a glimpse in my blog on Friday. This glimpse provides the realization which enables the consciousness to shift from conventional to enlightened. This glimpse comes when the consciousness realizes that there is nothing to do and nowhere to go to achieve is right here, right now.

With this realization all of the energy that has been frozen is released. The frozen energy is not there because of spiritual study, it is there because of the picture and expectation we have about the way enlightenment should be and what we need to do to achieve it. Whenever we have an expectation that something or someone should be a certain way we freeze energy around that person and situation. Frozen energy cannot flow and it is flow that is most important in shifting consciousness on the spiritual path. I think this is what the Buddha meant when he said 'hold fast to nothing'. I think he was referring to the danger of freezing energy by being adamant about the way life should be.

It is the freeing of this frozen energy got from the glimpse of the naturalness of our pristine state that enables the shift to enlightenment. When all of the frozen energy is freed the end result is love. Enlightenment is nothing other than the direct experience of love. Love is the celebration of all energy being freed. So another name for enlightenment is love. This is why love is the ultimate of everything. So if the spiritual path is seen in terms of freeing up frozen energy then it makes it a path that is accessible to everyone and separates it from religion.

I'm not saying that reading and studying and being discerning and patient is not necessary to shift consciousness. It is important in the early stages to build inner discipline and effort. But at a certain point which is brought about by grace there is the dawning that enlightenment is not something 'over there', it's not a huge expanse of water which we need to cross to get to some other side. It's right here. The relief which accompanies this insight is the glimpse before enlightenment.

I have described the 3 stages of the spiritual path as I have experienced. Each stage is aimed with freeing up frozen energy. In the first stage of knowing thyself - every time we see an area of life where we are being dishonest or pretending to be authentic but we're not, take responsibility for it and create a new way of being, frozen energy can flow. I have spoken throughout this blog of the training I have done with Landmark Education ( and it is from this that I have been given the tools for freeing up all of the energy which I had frozen by my determination to hang on to being right, even when deep down I knew I was wrong. Every time we do not act or speak with integrity we freeze energy.

When we were babies the energy flowed so naturally. Gradually as things happened to us and we made decisions and created expectations about what each event meant we froze energy. This is the cost of our human tendancy to try to make sense of the things that happen to us in life. The impact of this is that the minute we decide what a certain event means energy is frozen and can no longer flow around that event. The first step on the spiritual path is to free this frozen or trapped energy. It has be freed from ourselves first before we can catch a glimpse of the Self-realized state or the highest God-realized state. None of this is possible while there is trapped energy. Landmark Education is particularly powerful because it gives an access to the energy that is trapped deep in the sub-conscious.

Once the frozen energy has been freed from the first stage the time it takes to experience the remaining 2 stages tends to be rapid because most of the frozen energy is contained in the 1st stage that of realizing the Non-Self. Realizing the non-self is nothing more than freeing the frozen energy that is trapped around identifying the thoughts and feelings we have as ourselves and becoming focussed and dominated by thoughts and feelings instead of allowing them to flow as products from the mind. We don't freeze what we see from the eyes, there is a free flowingness about what we see from the eyes and as a result energy is not frozen. This is not so when it comes to the products from the mind. Buddhists see the mind as an extra sense organ which has as its objects thoughts and their products. Seen like this it is possible to have detachment around thoughts and feelings and as a result to allow the energy to flow.....


Anonymous said...

Very interesting post. I think knowledge itself can cause a "freezing" of sorts, if it is taken to be the absolute truth rather than one possibility. I always kind of liked the Zen story about the man who visits a Zen master for enlightenment. The man is extremely smart, accomplishment, and arrogant in his own abilities. He asks the zen master what he can teach him and the master says nothing but pours him tea, and doesn't stop as the tea overflows the cup and spills all over the table. The message is clear: You can't teach something to someone who thinks he knows everything.

I know "Beginner's Mind" wasn't what you were talking about in terms of energy flow, but I think it applies--The more we use knowledge to "nail something down" so we don't have to examine it any more instead of using it to be open to something, the more we freeze energy.

I took the Landmark Forum a long time ago myself, and I still remember something the Forum leader said clear as if it was today: "I realized I'd been paying my wife the profound insult of thinking I knew who she was."

Margaret Dempsey said...

The moment that the mind makes a decision that something is a certain way energy is frozen. The energy which is frozen is consciousness. In my experience the best way to ensure that energy is not frozen is to treat life and the things that happen as a game. I use this a lot and I find that it takes away a lot of the intensity around things. However I am also aware that many of the things that happen make it difficult to apply this reasoning, there is too much emotional involvement.

It was lovely to read your comment for a number of reasons. My latest reasoning (attributed to Manuel Schoch) that shifts of consciousness are nothing more than the freeing up of frozen energy is quite ironic, given all my years practicing what I thought was a 'spiritual path'!

But I think this willingness to consider this theory that shifts of consciousness are the result of freeing energy demonstrates how the spiritual path is not fixed but is constantly evolving. This is why I find it so utterly fascinating and compelling. I also feel I have a lot of freedom by my commitment to a spiritual path as opposed to a religious path.

I was also delighted to read your comment on the Landmark Forum. It is from using the technology which Landmark Education provides that I have experienced directly the shifts of consciousness which arise when frozen energy is released.

When suddenly I can see a different way to look at something energy is freed and the consciousness shifts. The most common example is when someone says 'Oh I never saw it (can refer to any situation) like that before'. But for the shift to be powerful and more importantly permanent it has to be really seen i.e. come up from where it was hiding in the sub-conscious to be realised. When you really see a different context to something it resonates so deeply. It is this kind of seeing that shifts consciousness.

I spent 9 years studying and practicing Mahayana Buddhism. This is all about becoming self-aware. What I found was that I learned more about myself in that weekend Forum than I had in all the years I studied Buddhism.

This is in no way to negate those years reading and practicing. But taking a weekend out to seriously examine life and my way of being within it and giving up ways that weren't working has accelerated my spiritual development like nothing else I have tried and believe me I have tried a lot.

I agree with what you say about knowledge freezing energy. Knowledge if not watched can breed an attitude of 'knowing it all'. In some ways beginner's mind is what I am referring to in that energy flows without restriction in the beginner's mind. It is only when the ego gets involved and then the evaluative mind says 'I agree with this, not that, that's not right, that is' and it is being rigid in this view that freezes energy.

I have spoken about the importance of being discerning and using reason to work things out for oneself when on this path. It is possible to do this without freezing energy. I will always recognise and acknowledge when something doesn't feel right but I won't form a rigid opinion around it. I will just sit quietly with it and allow the energy to flow around it.

It seems to be the human condition that in order to make sense and meaning of our world that we have to form opinions and judgements that we then take to be true and which form the context for our lives. The tragedy is that the context then becomes one of frozen and not free energy.

But Landmark does not see its training programmes as gateways into spiritual experiences and realizations. This is my hesitation in recommending Landmark through this blog as a way into experiencing the bliss and joy of spiritual awakening.

One thing I can say without doubt is that the freeing of a fixed way of thinking and being shifts consciousness. Where that consciousness shifts and the results of such a shift are solely dependent on where the persons interests and energies lie.

For me it was and is spiritual realizations and experiences that are my passion. For others doing the Forum weekend could shift the consciousness so that the ideal job, relationship, business now becomes available. So just because someone does this weekend it doesn't guarantee that he/she will have a spiritual experience.

So thank you for contributing details of your Landmark Forum experience to this blog