Monday, February 11, 2019

How to Become Enlightened


How to Become Enlightened

Enlightenment has its origin from emptiness. Irrespective of whether or not attaining self-enlightenment, emptiness is the way to go toward attaining profound wisdom of living in this material world.

Emptiness is a way of human perception: looking at life experiences without adding anything to them, or without taking away anything from them. It is the thinking of the mind with no assumption and no presumption—that is, only an empty mindset.

Emptiness can be either positive or negative (the glass half-full, or the glass half-empty). Positive emptiness can only occur when you allow yourself to surrender completely to any given circumstance or situation without any previous attachment.

According to Lao Tzu, develop an empty mindset, which is more than just “thinking out of the box”: it is your reverse thinking to create your own empty box of thinking.

An empty mind with no craving and no expectation helps us letting go.
Being in the world and not of the world, we attain heavenly grace.
With heavenly grace, we become pure and selfless.
And everything just settles into its own perfect place.
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 3) 

An illustration

There was the story of a professor visiting a Zen master to find out more about Zen, which is an Eastern philosophy. In the beginning of the visit, the professor kept on talking, while the Zen master served him tea.  At some point, the Zen master kept pouring tea into the teacup held by the professor even though it was brimming over. The moral of the story is that you must have an empty mind before you can accept new and unconventional ideas. Likewise, to intuit true human wisdom, you must have an empty mind capable of reverse thinking to find out the ultimate truths of anything and everything.

An empty mindset frees you from the many shackles of life that may have enslaved you and kept you in bondage without your knowing it. To be the master of your own life, you must have complete control over your own thinking mind, which must be empty without any pre-conditioned thoughts.

How do you gain control of your life in terms of your career, human relationships, time management, and daily stress, and among many others? First and foremost, you must empty your pre-programmed mind of any beliefs, blueprints, and roadmaps that tell you to do this or not to do that.

To illustrate, in your subconscious mind, you must set goals; to reach your goals, you must exert efforts; after accomplishing one goal, you need to set another higher goal, and yet another one higher than the previous ones; in addition, you must also have a role model to follow. But to take complete control of your life, you must empty your mind of all these pre-conditioned thoughts that are no more than your own attachments in the material world. 

When there is abundance,
there is lacking.
When there is craving,
there is discontentment.
Striving for power to control and influence every aspect of our lives
is the source of our sufferings.

Obsessed with getting and keeping,
many of us never really live before we die.

Following the Way,
we must learn to let go of everything.
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 75)

Life is always complex, and contemporary living is complicated with its many emotional and material clutters and attachments. To live well, you must learn to let go of anything and everything. The desire for simplicity may accelerate the process of letting go as life progresses. An empty mind with reverse thinking may help you let go of all your attachments in the complex and complicated material world you are living in.

Stephen Lau       
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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