MD RE: What Its Like to be Enlightened

From: Gary Charpentier (
Date: Tue May 08 2001 - 15:34:40 BST

Sorry Daniel, but I strongly disagree. Way too much ego going on here.

I have experienced this "oneness" you talk about while roadracing
motorcycles, but the activity itself does nobody any real good, and uses up
vast amounts of my personal resources in the process. I love the "rush" I
get while turning a good lap or executing a clean pass, but it is exactly
like a drug in that, when it's over, all I can think about is the next race
(...the next "high"). I certainly wouldn't call that Enlightenment.

Singular activities always carry analogues for Life, simply because Life
itself is made up of all these singular activities.
Golfers (...and I am one.)are known for constantly analogizing, ad nauseum,
the trials and tribulations of chasing a ball around a large field in order
to hit it with a stick; to all of the risk/reward situations in Life.

But, what I think you are saying is that it is possible to become an expert
at Life. This is the enlightenment of which you speak. In our Western
culture, becoming such an expert would mean being wealthy, because money
buys the freedom to pursue happiness. But, when all this effort is focused
inward, you are ultimately left in a world of one, which has got to be a
very lonely place. When your efforts are focused outward instead, you find
yourself one with the world, in all it's imperfect glory, but the
loneliness, guilt, desire and greed are gone. This is a very peaceful place,
and it seems to be the ultimate goal of most spiritual pursuits.

Now, maybe I've misunderstood you. It would help when referencing your own
writings if you provided a link to them. I will gladly read your essay. I am
not judging here, but I am reacting to something I see as dangerously
self-centered. My language is frank and direct, and if it offends you, I


> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf Of Daniel Colonnese
> Sent: Tuesday, May 08, 2001 8:18 AM
> To:
> Subject: MD: What Its Like to be Enlightened
> Being enlightened is kind of like going downhill skiing.
> It’s fun, if
> you are an expert downhill skier that is. When you are really good at
> downhill skiing, it’s not the least bit scary. You have confidence. You
> don’t hesitate. Without thinking about it, you constantly ask
> yourself--when’s a good time to turn? Now. Now’s a good time to
> turn. And
> you turn. No hesitation. If skiing is life, then turning (or
> carving) is
> making changes in your life. You have to pay attention when your
> going down
> the slope, you have to realize that no one is in control except you. You
> have to constantly do stuff or you’ll end up with a mouth full of ice.
> Enlightenment isn’t an achievement. You can’t simply hang
> it on your
> wall next to your college diploma. Enlightenment is a skill,
> like downhill
> skiing is a skill. Skiing is the skill of sliding around, wearing some
> plastic in the snow. Enlightenment is the skill of living life with an
> optimistic outlook, daily happiness, and peace of mind. Some
> docile folk go
> up and down the bunny slope all day and never look beyond the first hill
> they see. Other people undertake increasing challenges, practice, and
> improve their skills. Some lunatics just throw themselves off
> the tallest
> hill they can find.
> When you’re skiing (enlightened) you see the dynamic quality of
> life. You
> see the world rushing by you, and you’re part of it. Your not
> just watching
> someone else ski or driving up the mountain in your car—you are in the
> scene. You feel like every second counts. You watch people fall
> down and
> realize that falling is a real possibility. You too could wipe
> out if you
> weren’t paying close attention. After you’ve been enlightened, I mean
> skiing for a while it becomes kind of routine. You are humble,
> because you
> have fallen down enough to honestly appraise the extent and
> limits of your
> skills. You don’t look down upon beginning or intermediate
> skiers because
> you had to learn too. In fact, you feel a certain kinship with
> everyone on
> the slope.
> After you’ve been skiing for a while, you can begin to put
> your success
> and failures in perspective. When an expert skier falls, he
> usually falls
> hard. And when you’re going over difficult terrain, you realize how the
> subtle balance of your form, the minute movements, and your attitude all
> must stay in perfect harmony. You wake up happy every day
> looking forward
> to finding that balance. Your blood flows quickly, your
> adrenaline is on,
> everything is brighter and somehow more real. And you feel as
> though you’ve
> earned it.
> When’s a good time to turn? Now’s a good time to turn.
> When’s a good
> time to turn? Now. Now’s a good time to turn. You’ll find a
> rhythm, your
> pace. Life or skiing, when done right, has a kind of musical
> quality. When
> you are an expert skier, you can go down the same hill again and
> again, and
> no two runs are the same. You recognize that every moment of
> your life is
> unique—that it will never be quite like this again. And the
> subtleties of
> the terrain and the precision of your skills have a kind of harmony. You
> make the scene more beautiful, provide a model for others. Now being
> enlightened is a lot more fun than downhill skiing, but both are worthy
> pursuits. The point is to find something and get good at it. Find
> something that interests you and give it your all. I suggest life.
> For information on enlightened please read my essay, “How to Become
> Enlightened.”
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