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Is there anything I can do to make myself Enlightened?
As little as you can do to make the sun rise in the morning.
Then of what use are the spiritual exercises you prescribe?
To make sure you are not asleep when the sun begins to rise.
*Anthony de Mello. One Minute Wisdom.
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Imagine a man goes to a University and receives a Ph.D. in The Sun. He seeks to impress persons with that knowledge, hangs his degree on a wall for visitors to see, writes volumes on the Sun, and defends the rightness of his view of the Sun. He gathers together seekers looking to him to know the Sun, and they highly esteem him as an authority on the Sun. They say to others seeking to know the Sun, "Oh, you've got to come to our meeting! Our teacher will show you the way to know the Sun. He's the best!" And all this, for this man studied in the classroom and through books about the Sun.
Now, imagine a woman living in the wood, alone and in simplicity, without formal education. She has never read a word about the Sun. She goes out each morning to welcome the Sun. From her little hut and up a hill, she walks a path worn by her feet over the years. She sees the Sun rising in the East, showering light and warmth over the vast, lush valley below. Each evening, she repeats this ritual, saying goodbye to the Sun as it sets in the West. On these times on the hill, she often, morning or night, closes her eyes and lifts her face while smiling, thankful for the Sun's radiance and warmth. Even in the darkness, waking up in the night, she often contemplates the Sun. And, sometimes, she can barely contain within herself the joy of this feeling of love for the Sun. Someone offered her a book about the Sun to read, but she said, "Thank you, but I kindly decline."
Of the man and woman above, who knows the Sun? What is the difference between knowing about and knowing? What can you do to know the Sun? To grow in knowing the Sun - for, while one can know the Sun, she cannot cease coming to know the Sun? The contemplative Christian wisdom speaks of our union with the Divine as a love knowledge... What does this mean to you?
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*(C) Brian K. Wilcox, 2021
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, can be ordered through major online booksellers or the publisher AuthorHouse. The book is a collection of poems based on wisdom traditions, predominantly Christian, Buddhist, and Sufi, with extensive notes on the poetry's teachings and imagery.