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?

Everyday Thanksgiving: January 2014

This is my monthly download of my daily gratitude practice. I have been doing this for over a year and a half now, and I have seen tremendous changes in my life. Sometimes the changes aren’t the ones I envisioned, but overall I am grateful for the new trajectory I’m on.

January 2014

Thank you for Legoland Hotel’s bunkbeds with a separate television set; Shamu smiles; Sunsets at Meditation Mount in Ojai Valley; spending all day at the pool in January; roadtrips with Tara Brach CDs.IMG_0992

Thank you for a wonderful interview with Richard Rohr; upcoming interviews with Scott Kriens and Marc Brakett; the goodwill of our PTA president; a heartfelt lunch with a fellow life coach; Jesus as a meditator.

Thank you for “abiding as the stream of love”; “I am that am I”; palindromes; Eckarte Tolle’s uncovering of the ego; non-reactivity; “they hate me when I’m Buddhist, but they love me when I’m the buddha.”

Thank you for the eternal Dharma; getting into shape; basketball with other out of shape fathers; the kind scheduler at City of Cupertino; Hotpot meals.

Thank you for Jumanji; authentic relationships; dinner with my sister-in-law; my nephew’s magic tricks; self-love born from authenticity.

Thank you for granulated emotions; increasing emotional bandwidth in boys; micro-moments of silence; The Sounds of Silence; the sound of compassion.

Thank you for Rick Hanson’s day-long seminar on the Neurology of Awakening; Woodacre; a beautiful lunch with awaken souls; mushroom sandwiches; the scent of fresh orange peels.

Thank you for my older son saying, “You’re part enlightened, but you still get angry”; ceasing to control and manipulate my experience; Roma’s hospitality; Spiritual NVC;  “Most people don’t see things as they are; they see things as THEY are.” ~Richard Rohr

Thank you for Fierce Gentlemen’s email reminding me to practice gratitude; my empathy buddy, Oliver; Cathy Lu for helping me schedule my talk; the thought that we are all neurons in God’s brain and the neurotransmitters are love, compassion, joy, and equanimity.

IMG_1028Thank you for Skyping with Rarasaur; Goldfish’s courage; No Drama at Everyday Gurus; a comment from Dianne Gray; Kenny Johnson.

Thank you for kale and chicken wraps; how cute Jett’s crushes are; a birthday play date with cousins; the wonderful and generous Vitamix salesperson at Costco; Costco.

Thank you for learning iAuthor; a new book idea; calm parenting; not taking things personally; Loving what is.

Thank you for less aversion every day; abiding in meditation; Steve Bearman’s enlightenment; another Satsang with Adya; a peaceful and compassionate conversation with my cousin.

Thank you for my brother’s hospitality and advice; transformational counseling; dancing without shame; noticing defenses to shame; matta latte.

Thank you for naked counseling; authenticity leading to unconditional love; kinetic sand; Greens Take Out sandwiches; an argument that ended in love.

Thank you for writable CDs; The Work by Byron Katie; the photos of Alison; finding what takes me away from enlightenment since we are all already there; Adya’s Sangha.

Thank you for Rara’s thoughtfulness; Rara’s baby brother; the miracles of unconditional love; Fuji apples; blue jello.

Thank you for Drew’s courage and wisdom; vulnerability leading to acceptance; Fox rubbing my neck while he sleeps; Jett becoming more independent; loving what is.

Thank you for the seminar on the Neuroscience of Adolescence with Dan Siegel; Dr. Siegel agreeing to an interview; arugula, brie, and ham sandwiches; teachers around the world; the gentleness of horses.

IMG_0979Thank you for realizing that my sons are wise teachers; seeing my life as a whole; loving those who hurt others; Adyashanti’s perspective on unenlightening ourselves; Byron Katie’s courage and authenticity.

Thank you for trampoline birthday parties; Fox’s joy; teaching my son about neuroscience; in-assurance to replace insurance; seeing friends everyday.

Thank you for Anita Moorjani’s Near Death Experience; Barbara Fredrickson’s study of love; the Vagus Nerve; touching my chest everyday; heartfelt words and touches.

Thank you for Fox’s first Kung Fu class; the insightful interview with Marvin Maurer; bitter melon; ideas of a men’s group; Scott Kriens getting back to me.

 

Thank you for reading, smiling, and/or sharing.

Everyday Thanksgiving: August 2013

“It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” ~Brother David Steindl-Rast

Although I missed a few days, this daily gratitude practice continues to bring joy to my life. I feel like someone gave me a golden ticket when I learned about daily gratitude. I offer this golden ticket to you.

August 2013

Thank you for seat turtles again; a family reunion with my Kauai family; the generosity of my Aunty Shirley; Koa wood; Jaina’s home-made desserts.

Thank you for a beautiful home to come home to; Waialae Country Club Kale Salad; documentary on Hawaiian Medicine I saw on the plane; the excitement I feel to get back to work; the Sheraton Waikiki.Boys in Waikiki

Thank you for sleeping together in one room; Imahara’s fruit stand; double meditation days; inspiration from so many sources; the parasympathetic nervous system.

Thank you for Obon Festivals; Misoyaki Salmon; fake tattoos; kokua; the Zen saying, “Nothing left out.”

Thank you for the variety of fresh fruit available in California; how my sons pee together at the toilet; mattress covers to catch the mistakes of my 3 year old; vitamix shakes; Victoria sharing the wonderful Milton quote.

Thank you for my six year old’s love of water after coming back from Hawaii; patience with myself; coconut water; Rarasaur’s post on Black Box Warnings; my wife’s positive attitude. Continue reading