There have been several occasions when I’ve stopped to look at all this and thought, “does it even make sense to delineate a folk theory of enlightenment?” I can’t say I truly know that answer. But my explicit sense has little bearing on my implicit nature, which appears to be compelled to address these issues.
At a certain point in my life, I was able to see clearly that the ideas I had picked up about nondual enlightenment were wrong. Very wrong. Totally wrong. And it annoyed me. Then it occurred to me that maybe having those ideas were working to somehow prevent this very simple, extremely subtle shift in perception from happening. And that idea stuck.
I have no proof that what I’ve called “occlusion” actually occurs, but the nondual sage Nisargadatta bandied the term on occasion. And it makes a kind of neurological sense.
If you consider an idea, such as a set of expectations about nondual enlightenment, you’ve got to agree that it has a corresponding pattern of connection between neurons. Every time the word “enlightenment” enters your conscious awareness, that network of cells gets fired, and we have the experience of those images. If you’ve yet to come to your own nondual realization, those images have the effect of being proxies. Awareness goes with juice—if you ask me—and so if the juice is on those images, awareness will rest there. The source of awareness is occluded by the concept’s neurological effect. There’s only a micron more to go at all times, but awareness is used to present the image rather than the always present, closer-than-our-own-breath reality of itself.
That reality is the fact that we are only primordial, pure, eternal awareness. And it’s really no big deal, at all. We are always that, and always have been. You don’t get somewhere new, you see what was always here.
But such a tremendously big deal has been made of it. Huge. Monstrous. And that monster gets between us and our sun, which has always been who we really are. That monster is occlusion.
Quixotic flourishes aside, I must again say I have no proof any of this is true. I’m just going on pure gut feeling and putting it out here.