So let's learn it together: I'm enlightened.
Ah, it feels so good to say those two words, "I'm enlightened." I don't know why its taken me so long to do this -- to embrace the realization that I know what's really real.
For me. Which brings me to another truth that we need to acknowledge together: You're also enlightened, if you also know what's really real. For you.
I have no idea what "enlightenment" means. But whatever it is, I like the idea of being enlightened. So since I have the power to bestow upon myself whatever spiritual, philosophical, or mystical title I take a fancy to, I'm now an Enlightened Being.
If you disagree, I've got three words for you: Deal with it.
Then, choose some cool title for yourself. Feel free. Just don't expect me, or anyone else, to endorse your self-appointed status, just as I don't expect you, or anyone else, to endorse me as an Enlightened Being.
I do enjoy offering up some reasons for why I'm enlightened, though. Not because I need to; because I want to.
I don't think there is any such thing as enlightenment. That's my main claim to enlightened fame. However, I do know that existence exists. And that before this indisputable fact all blather about God, soul, spirit, heaven, hell, miracles, gurus, and other metaphysical/supernatural claptrap is just so much ridiculous conjecturing.
The older I get, the more enlightened I become. So if you're younger than my sixty-one years, you've got some enlightening of your own to look forward to, since it seems to me that the closer we come to death, the more we understand what life is all about.
Here I am. Here you are. Here we are, spotlighted at this very moment against a backdrop of boundless existence. Which is... nothing.
Nothing that we can ever understand, grasp, experience, or know a single thing about. For the moment we exist. Eventually we won't. Almost certainly (nothing is 100% certain, except that existence exists) for forever.
Isn't that amazing? Along with wonderful, scary, mysterious, awe-inspiring, and whatever other adjective you want to ascribe to what can't be described.
I'm alive. As are you. One day, one hour, one minute, one second, I won't be, and you won't be. If we can keep that awareness as an empty backdrop to all of the fullness of our living, we're enlightened.
That's how I see it. Not hearing any objections to the reality of that vision from anyone else inside my head, I conclude that it is true. For me, Enlightened Being.
Yesterday I put clean workout clothes in my athletic club locker, and put the dirty clothes/towels in a cloth shopping bag. I put the bag on a bench while I used the restroom before I went grocery shopping.
When I got home, unpacking the other shopping bags reminded me of the athletic club bag. Where the hell is it? I inspected my memory bank. I saw myself walking past the front desk to the parking lot with nothing in my hands.
Damn, I left the bag on the bench. I phoned the club. Told the girl who answered that I'd left a bag of gym clothes in the men's locker room. Said that if they find them, I'd be by tomorrow to pick them up.
Then I went for a walk with the dog -- which is when I do some of my best enlightened thinking. Such as, Did you check the floor of the car in front of the passenger seat when you got home?
Bingo. The bag was there. I eagerly rushed to the phone to call the athletic club.
The same girl answered the phone. "We couldn't find your bag," she said. "That's because I have it," I told her. "I thought that I'd forgotten my bag, but actually I'd forgotten that I hadn't forgotten it. Which is great news."
"OK," the girl said. I could tell that she wasn't recognizing, as I was, how this episode clearly pointed to my Enlightened Being status. So I just said, "Thanks. Goodbye."
That's what I'm going to say to my life eventually. Not necessarily in words. It's the awareness that matters. Enlightenment.