Neurological Enlightenment, Part 3
by Scott Bradley
by Scott Bradley
The previous two posts have considered the experience of 'enlightenment' which Dr. Jill Taylor experienced with the assistance of a hemorrhage in the left-lobe of her brain. Since her 'method' was largely (and thankfully) a 'one-off', it does not suggest a means for the rest of us to experience what she did. In the last post I suggested that, despite their being embedded in religious mythology, it would behoove us, therefore, to make use of the methods already developed.
There is, however, the simple fact (it seems to me) that pursuing any method, no matter how arduously, does in no way guarantee the desired result. There are millions of Zen practitioners, but exceedingly few enlightened ones. It seems to escape the notice of those who commentate on the ancient Zen masters, those considered the ultimate teachers of the way to enlightenment, that seldom did more than one individual out of a large, totally dedicated monastic pool, ever seem to realize the goal. The rest fail of the mark, quarrel and engage in all the typical egoic human follies. It seems that 'enlightenment' is not our 'birth-right', which, should we pursue it with all our might, will be ours.
For this reason, I personally do not choose to 'wall-gaze' for years-on-end or pursue any other extreme method designed to facilitate this experience. It may very well be that the experience is an exceedingly rare one for purely physical reasons. Those with the physical predisposition may be able to experience it by virtue of the arduous application of a method. Others might experience it spontaneously while walking in the park. Some others, through a blood clot in just the right place in the brain. The vast majority of us, however, will never experience it, for the same reason we cannot run a four-minute mile.
Nevertheless, there is the more mundane path of approximating the experience through the cultivation of a world-view which facilitates the growth of greater peace and freedom. I would suggest that Confucianism is just such a path. And so also are the Taoist paths of Zhuangzi, Laozi and their derivatives, which add a ‘spiritual’ and transcendent dimension to the endeavor.
Yet, ultimately, if the experience is indeed a 'true' one, and we all really are this vast spiritual energy, then the inability to realize this now in our temporal existence is, however unfortunate, of no great consequence. All is well. That is, all is well in our world-orientation, if we can shake off the fetters of the religious mythologies that tell us otherwise.
I do not know, but I choose to believe and affirm, that nothing needs to be saved. All is well.
You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.