How to Get Enlightened

How to Get Enlightened

What would I say if I had just five minutes to give comprehensive instructions for awakening?

You are unenlightened to the extent that you are embedded in your experiences. You think that your experiences are you. You must dis-embed. Do that by taking each aspect of experience as object (looking at it and recognizing it) in a systematic way. Then, surrender entirely.

Do these practices, exactly as written:

First Gear:

1) Objectify body sensations. If you can name them, you aren’t embedded there. Notice sensations and note to yourself: “Pressure, tightness, tension, release, coolness, warmth, softness, hardness, tingling, itching, burning, stinging, pulsing, throbbing.” If I am looking at something, it is not “I”.

2) Objectify feeling-tone. Are sensations pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral? If you can sit there for five minutes and note pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral every few seconds, you are not embedded at that layer of mind.

3) Objectify mind states. Investigation, curiosity, happiness, anxiety, amusement, sadness, joy, anger, frustration, annoyance, irritation, aversion, desire, disgust, fear, worry, calm, embarrassment, shame, self-pity, compassion, love, contentment, dullness, sleepiness, bliss, exhilaration, triumph, self-loathing. Name them and be free of them. These mind states are not “you;” we know this because if there is a “you” it is the one who is looking, not what is being looked at. Below, we will challenge the notion that there is any “you” at all.

4) Objectify thoughts. Categorize them: planning thought, anticipating thought, worrying thought, imaging thought, remembering thought, rehearsing thought, scenario spinning thought, fantasy thought, self-recrimination thought. Come up with your own vocabulary and see your thoughts as though they belong to someone else. The content of your thoughts is not relevant except to the extent that it helps you to label and therefore objectify them.

Second Gear:

5) Objectify the apparent subject. Who am “I”? Turn the light of attention back on itself. Who knows about this experience? Are you causing this experience in this moment? To whom is this happening?

Third Gear:

6) Surrender entirely. This moment is as it is, with or without your participation. This does not mean that you must be passive. Surrender also to activity.

May you awaken now. (If it takes you another twenty years it will have been worth every minute.)

Kenneth Folk
March, 2010
(Revised March 2011)