everyday enlightenment

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness concerning all acts of initiative and creation. There is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now. ~Goethe

My name is Kozo Hattori, and I am enlightened.

Many of you might have felt uneasy with the previous declaration. “Who does this guy think he is?” you might have thought. Let me answer your question from the get-go. I not only think, but also know that WE are God, Universal Consciousness, Brahma, Buddha Nature, and Christ Consciousness. I’m not being sacrilegious here. I’m actually following scripture.

Every enlightened master that I have encountered claims that enlightenment is our natural state. They often have the look on their faces of someone standing in knee-deep water while another thrashes around screaming that they are drowning. If we just stand up or awaken to our present reality, then we realize that we were always safe and ok.

After the Buddha became enlightened, he spent the next 40 years traveling around Northern India instructing others how to become enlightened. One of the followers that became an arhat—a perfected person who has attained nirvana–was Angulimala. Earlier in his life Angulimala was on a quest to kill one thousand victims whose fingers he hung around his neck. 999 fingers hung around his neck on the day he met the Buddha. If Angulimala could obtain enlightenment, then why can’t we?

One of the biggest obstacles of enlightenment is our own belief that we cannot become enlightened. For some reason, enlightenment in our culture has become something that only a few select individuals can obtain, but in Buddha’s time, people were getting enlightened left and right. If you even mention that you are trying to get enlightened, people look at you with disbelief and disgust.

Let me be clear in what I mean by enlightenment. I see enlightenment as a spectrum. I’m not saying that I have escaped the cycle of birth and rebirth (samsara) like the Buddha did. I’m not an arhat. I am enlightened in this moment, right here and right now. In the past, I was not enlightened; at times I was far from enlightenment. In the future, I might become unenlightened at any moment. But right here, right now, I am enlightened.

I like to think that we are all enlightened, yet we constantly unenlighten ourselves with our thoughts, our resentments, our delusions, our aversions, and our cravings.

In one of my conversations with Adyashanti, he emphasized not only awakening, but also “tending,” “cultivating,” and “living from” that spiritual awakening in our moment to moment daily lives. If you are reading this article, then you have probably had glimpses into a higher consciousness. You might have sensed a connection with all being during meditation or felt unconditional love while holding a child or had intimations of a higher power standing next to a huge redwood. Re-minding ourselves that we are enlightened keeps us in touch with that interconnectedness, love, and divinity.

Perhaps the best way to get to the truth of this statement is to do some inquiry. Byron Katie asks, “What is the thought that kicks you out of heaven?” I value Byron Katie’s inquiry that she calls The Work. It consists of four questions that you ask in regards to thoughts you have.

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?

Although The Work is meant to reveal the lack of truth in the thoughts that cause us to suffer, applying The Work to the statement “I am enlightened” reveals some valuable insight.

Is it true? Yes, it is true.

Can you absolutely know that it’s true? In my heart of hearts I know it to be true.

How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? I don’t react, actually. I act like a saint. I remain calm and try to serve others. I see everyone, everything as a part of me. When I think that I am enlightened, I act like an enlightened being. The question “what would Jesus do?” becomes a way of life.

Who would you be without the thought? I wouldn’t be as compassionate, loving, kind, or happy. I would probably do whatever I wanted regardless of how it affected others. I would try to get as much as I could while giving as little as possible. I would use as much of the world’s resources to make me happy regardless of how this affected the planet, other humans, animals, or children. I would rationalize this behavior with the defense of “I’m only human.”

Embracing our enlightenment helps us realize that we are more than human. We are both human and divine.

“We are not humans having a spiritual experience; we are spirits having a human experience.”

So yeah, I’m enlightened. Care to join me?


23 comments on “everyday enlightenment

  1. “Let me answer your question from the get-go. I not only think, but also know that WE are God, Universal Consciousness, Brahma, Buddha Nature, and Christ Consciousness. I’m not being sacrilegious here. I’m actually following scripture.”

    What scripture?

    If you are God then why do you suffer? Why did you put yourself into a conditioned body that gets old, diseased, and will perish? What kind of foolish God would do this to Himself?

    One who is actually advanced in spiritual knowledge never thinks of himself as such but feels very small, humble, and insignificant when he actually understands his position in the universe properly as just a very little tiny individual spark of the much greater divine to whom is subordinate to and in fact properly engages as His eternal servant, not his own whimsical ideas about Claiming to be God Himself!”

    “Wherever there is a relationship of love of Godhead, its natural symptom is that the devotee does not think himself a devotee. (Or enlightened, what to speak of “God” Himself) Instead, he always thinks that he has not even a drop of love for God.” – Sri Caitanaya Caritamrita, Antya Lila 20.28

    Thats what scripture says.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      The scripture I refer to is the human history of consciousness. It is in Christian scripture (I’m no expert on Christian scripture, but in my interview with Father Richard Rohr he agrees with this point of view); it is in the Indian phrase “Namaste”; it is in the writings of Spinoza, “We are all cells in God’s body”; it is in the thoughts of Albert Einstein, “A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.”; it is in the Hawaiian word for breath “Ha” which also means spirit.

      To limit our experience of God to one culture or one text is a waste of the millions of incarnations of God, in my opinion.

      In regards to suffering, I would offer Thich Nhat Hanh’s poem “no mud/no lotus.” Richard Rohr says that “Great love or great suffering are the primary paths of transformation.” A God who wants to experience suffering is a God who wants to experience compassion.

      I agree that being humble is part of the path, but recognizing oneness with God is nothing but humble. How can we not be humble if we are part of the whole? We cannot be better than something that we are. To think that we are “small” and “insignificant” denies our true nature in my opinion.

      In regards to the scripture you quoted, I assume that the parenthetical is not part of the scripture, but something that you added. I would read the scripture to say that when there is a relationship, then one ignores divine unity where there is no relationship. (How can one have a relationship with something that they are?) In which case, I would say that yes, “a relationship of love of Godhead” does lead to an egoic/delusional state.
      {{{hugs}}} kozo

      • 1EarthUnited says:

        Kozo, thrilled to see you’ve realized u’r enlightenment, wonderful! We must remember that all scriptures are tools, they should help us remember who we already are. By itself, scriptures are dead words, just as knowledge is dead thought. It is up to all of us to actualize everything into reality that we wish to experience. But we must do it, with togetherness and love.
        Kozo I’m so happy for you, you “did” it!! Welcome to the spirit of our hearts♥☼♥

  2. NotAPunkRocker says:

    I like the description of enlightenment as a spectrum. Some good things to think about today, thank you.

  3. Indira says:

    Totally agree with your post. Everyone has potential to become enlighten, just awareness is required and that is the difficult but not impossible part.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Yes, Indira. I used to think that enlightenment was close to impossible, but I now realize that that thought doesn’t serve me, God, or humankind. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  4. Sue fuller says:

    H an enlightened every moment of the day!

  5. KM Huber says:

    It is a practice, isn’t it, this compassion, this oneness of all while recognizing the beating of each, individual heart. It is such a delight to walk with you, Kozo, my dear friend.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Yes, it is a practice, Karen. I just decided to practice the best that I can be. Sure, I might stumble, but I will continue to practice. I feel like this is the best that I can do to serve others, myself, and God. Grateful for your companionship. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  6. ucworcester says:

    Yes, I am with you! (most of the time at least)

  7. csroth3 says:

    Have you ever noticed how enlightened children are? That is until the begin to deal with the corruption of adults and the world around them. Little by little they experience being hurt while dealing with the insidious selfish and corrupt practices that have been established through time in every culture of the world. Then they arrive into adulthood no longer believing in their own enlightenment. How sad. As enlightened parents we have to help them retain their innocence, purity and belief in their own divinity.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I agree, Cheryl. Children are much closer to enlightenment than we give them credit for. I’m starting to see that their journey away from that “home” is a necessary part of their development. It is like Oedipus. We need to leave home, so we can return and recognize it for the first time. It is almost as if we need to forget, so we can re-mind ourselves. This post is a reminder for me to re-mind myself every moment of this divine oneness. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  8. lumar1298 says:

    I’m trying, I’m getting there…

  9. I’m with you Kozo. So much bullish*t we’re fed about it only being for some spiritual elite when it is the true nature of every person on the planet. If we don’t claim it we will never get the direct experience of the evaporation of the seeker.
    (((((((hugs))))))) Alison

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Love that, Alison, “evaporation of the seeker.” I’m leading the Adyashanti study group tomorrow on “ceasing to become.” To quote Adya, “enlightenment will never come tomorrow.” It can only happen in the present moment.{{{hugs}}} Kozo

  10. Andrea says:

    Thank you for your simple statement. I am too. Now living from it makes life as adventurous and mysterious as for everybody else. And that is the humbling part!

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