Quick summary: The path to “enlightenment” is indeed a bit confusing and as I was contemplating my own journey I came to an interesting point of discovery. I have not reached enlightenment and therefore do not know exactly what it is … perhaps until you reach the state, the experience of enlightenment in mostly inconceivable; I will offer some interesting notes that pertain to my current journey. I was thinking about how a path of chaos or a path of structure might lead a person to acceptance and compassion (generally thought of as the more important ingredients in an enlightened entity).
I will define acceptance as – freedom from automatic reaction, freedom from automatic categorizing, living in the moment, instantaneous forgiveness, unconditional love and compassion for all, and a drive for harmony and balance with a genuine empathy for that which disrupts the balance.
Most people have heard the ideas about not judging your environment so as to reach a point of universal compassion and acceptance… what choices affect this end goal? I could choose to align with chaos to reach acceptance… in this way I will hold no consistent beliefs or morals and will therefore be better able to accept most anything (any occurrence, philosophy, perspective etc) without the stress and anxiety that arrives when existence proposes something contrary to the constructs I might have otherwise held in order to explain my existence.
The chaos model promotes a general indifference which is not necessarily in line with the concept of compassion, which is generally associated with enlightenment. If nothing is good or bad then I would have no basis for concluding whether or not an action was compassionate.
The opposite (according to some constructs) of chaos is structure. With structure I could neatly arrange my existence to create somewhat of a linear path toward enlightenment. I would use theories such as deductive reasoning, probability, and other cause and affect based beliefs to create a path that was mathematically most likely to arrive at the variables associated with enlightenment. The Jedi (Star Wars movies) generally used this modality – Yoda even made comments about love – something like, “love leads to fear… fear leads to anger… anger leads to hate.” on such a path one might avoid certain types of love as doing so could make attaining acceptance more difficult (it is easier to have acceptance for the murder of a person you are not so connected to… if someone murdered your child or you spouse it would be very difficult to come to a place of acceptance). Structure can carry a degree of rigidity that distracts a person’s attention from what is… this can creates a resistance of the present moment.
Both paths seem to carry a strong theme of avoidance for me… and on my current journey I have found myself confused. Avoiding structure can make acceptance easier while avoiding certain experiences or beliefs can also make acceptance a bit easier. So which is the path?
I have been trying to use dialectics to aid in this philosophical inquisition. When using dialectics the path to enlightenment becomes both chaos and structure (as opposed to structure or chaos) – this means that perhaps the constructs which suggests that opposites can’t simultaneously exist (this is called dichotomous thinking) is what makes the subject so difficult for my growing mind to comprehend.
Perhaps the variables which could clear some of this up are the ideas of destiny, intuition, and living in the present moment without resistance. Trying to find a “path” is ultimately a choice to engage in future thinking… the future is uncertain and does not exist (except in your mind). If I focus my attention on the future and believe that I can create predictability then I will be distracting myself from the present moment (which is all that truly exists).
I would suggest that universal compassion, acceptance, authenticity and empathy are perhaps more difficult to achieve when you decide to live outside of existence … or outside of the present moment. (This usually means that you are living within the constructs of your brain – you are using your brain to create an existence that is separate, to a degree, from the shared existence.)
In this philosophical inquiry I am reaching a point of understanding based ironically on simplification – chaos and structure are both mostly irrelevant and/or unproductive if they are used as mechanisms to resist the present moment – to resist existence.
All that one needs to reach enlightenment is in the current moment… acceptance is allowing one’s self to experience the flow of the river as opposed to finding ways of making that flow predictable. As you accept the flow of the river you will intuitively know what is required from you in the moment to maintain the balance of the whole – the while is the parts and the parts are the whole. The river is chaos and structure.
When in the present moment you can accept and hold compassion for all as you free yourself to see that you are the all… and so empathy and selflessness is understood.
Some people will flow towards hours of medication in areas removed from the complexities of a diverse array of relationships… some people will flow towards a diverse array of relationships.
It is not the type of flow which is perhaps most important… instead it is the acceptance and the dropping of resistance towards the flow, which will guide you in the present moment… enlightenment is for everyone… it already exists… our resistance makes it elusive… sometimes our resistance is born of our method of dropping our resistance.
“Chaos is the resistance of structure while structure is the resistance of chaos.”
“I entered chaos to find the structures of my acceptance and the structures of my resistance”
“In structure I found the acceptance of chaos.”
“Follow the breath… water the sole.”
“Existence is chaos and structure”
“If you are striving for enlightenment than you are trying to live in the future (which does not exist)… enlightenment is an occurrence of existence… enlightenment is in the now.”