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First-Hand Enlightenment

Consider the following statement:

“The world is just maya—it’s all an illusion.”

It’s one thing to remind yourself of this concept and to appreciate it on an abstract level.

It’s another thing to see through the illusion and to speak about it from first-hand experience.

Somebody, sometime, did have that first-hand experience and did put it into those words.

You might repeat those words with a feeling of authority because they are ancient and widely accepted, or because you heard them from a source that you trust.

But tradition and consensus don’t substitute for first-hand experience of the level of perception from which the statement is made as a descriptive observation.

The point of this cautionary tale is that the truth of one level of consciousness may not operate on another level. Attempting to mix the aspects of different levels—in this case, the level of the intellect and the level of cosmic consciousness—can be, at best, ineffective and confusing.

Because if the world is all an illusion, why does your knee hurt so much when you bang it into the corner of the table? And as you rebound in pain, does it help to tell yourself that your knee, the table, and your pain are all just an illusion?

If you answer “no”, then I appreciate your honesty.

If you answer “yes”, then you have seen through the illusion. In fact, you won’t have to tell yourself anything when knee meets table corner.

And it will still hurt. But it won’t be your pain.


Your Life Story—And Beyond

I heard a woman talking about building her whole life as an homage to her deceased husband. She bought a house in the town where, before he died unexpectedly, he was planning for them to move. She has regularly spent time there with her children throughout their lives, “to build memories,” she said.

She spoke about these things always with grief, never with happiness.

This is a person who created a framework out of a past experience. She used it to shape her entire life and the lives of other people as well.

I would say that she is captivated by her life story. But that is not unusual. Many people are.

Of course, not all stories are mournful. There are a lot of them that are happy and uplifting. When people tell stories about their lives, the stories can have any kind of energy.

The point is not which kind of energy resonates in a life story. The point is that people often mistake their life story for their identity.

In the article, “Enlightenment: Why Bother?” on this website, I wrote about “the essential issue of enlightenment: a realignment of identity. Instead of being aligned to the story of your life, you align with eternal being.”

Your life story is not who you are. In essence, who you are is pure timeless consciousness.

The enlightened experience is consciousness established in timelessness. When you experience this, you won’t have the urge to repeat and re-live the story of some past event that made you feel vividly alive in either a positive or negative way.

It’s timelessness that spoils the life story party. Stories are about the past. Because the past is an aspect of time, it can’t mix with timelessness.

And there is something more beyond that.

The enlightened experience is that your life is not yours.

When your life is not yours, there is just life.

And then your life story also is not yours. It is just a story.

A stone falls into a pond. On the water’s surface, ripples spread out in circles, echoing, echoing, echoing, repeating, repeating, repeating.

The ripples tell the same story over and over.

Be the falling stone, not the ripples. Be the cause, not the effect. Dive to the depths. Leave your story behind you.

When you are captivated by memories, you forget the rememberer.


The Meaning of Being

When a certain celebrity came to my hometown a couple of decades ago, I had an exciting opportunity to be with him as he spoke to a group of people. But as soon as I took the last available seat in the room, I was urgently called away by someone. Her reason for interfering turned out to be something that I considered unimportant. Meanwhile, upon returning, I had lost my seat to someone else and was turned away.

I resented this combination of events. It burned me every time I that I thought about it for years afterwards.

My perception was that three things were bundled together: the presence of the celebrity, my desire to be in that room, and my meddling friend’s agenda. How they totaled up was that a wonderful once-in-a-lifetime opportunity had been taken away from me.

I had added these events together and arrived at the conclusion that something unfortunate had occurred.

But what had really happened? Nothing. At least, not to me.

In the fullness of being, and when being is the self, nothing ever adds to or takes away from the self. And nothing ever happens that is a comment on the self, or that puts a dent in the self, or that labels the self. In fact, there is a sense that nothing ever happens, because the fullness of being brings timelessness along with it.

So, simply, three separate things coincided. I was there. The celebrity was there. My friend was there. In the playground of time, in the timelessness of our being, we brushed up against each other.

As Answers From Silence says, “Meaning results from one thing connecting with another thing. In timelessness, there is no duality, no ‘one thing’ to connect with ‘another thing’. Therefore, in timelessness there is no meaning, and there is no need for meaning.”

When a friend dropped her forkful of egg salad in a restaurant, she felt stupid and said to me, “You can dress me up but you can’t take me anywhere.” My only reaction was to start cleaning up. I reassured her, “It doesn’t mean anything.”

Two plus two doesn’t equal four. It equals two plus two.


The Triumph of Enlightenment

A loyal reader sent in this question: “When injustice seems to triumph, how do you handle it as an enlightened person? So many crazy things go on in the world every day. Please comment.”

Before answering the “how do you handle it” part of your question, let’s look at the ”as an enlightened person” part.

What is it to be an enlightened person? It is to know the truth of who you are.

Who are you? At your inner core, as your Enlightened Self, you are simply being as pure consciousness.

A person has boundaries. Enlightenment is unboundedness. A miracle of our human existence is that as persons we have the capability of experiencing enlightenment.

And as an enlightened person, you are still human. You still have human reactions and emotions.

Things that happen can still provoke a reaction in you. Seeing injustice triumph can make you feel a negative emotion. Seeing justice triumph can make you feel a positive emotion.

But an enlightened person knows that she is not her emotions. She also knows that she is not the world of phenomena that triggers those emotions. She knows who she is.

Emotions change and phenomena change. They have no impact on her changeless Enlightened Self.

Which brings us to the “how do you handle it” part.

In the arena of activity, do what needs to be done. If you see injustice and can effectively do something to correct it, then do something.

But perhaps your question comes from a feeling that you can’t do anything about it. You want to change something unjust that happened and you can’t. You want to prevent all future injustices that might happen and you can’t.

What we all want, all the time, is for outer to match inner. With every action we take, we have an inner intention and we want it to have an outer reflection. We are always trying to make the world in our own image.

When outer doesn’t match inner, we experience distress, frustration, and anger. Like when something unjust in the outer world doesn’t match our inner sense of justice.

Perhaps your question means that you want to hear something that will make it match. “If I could only understand how injustice can triumph, I could reconcile all this.”

There are lots of explanations for the grand and sometimes hidden designs behind confusing events in the world. Answers From Silence is full of them.

For example: “Everyone is on their path of enlightenment, and everything that happens in a person’s life is their path of enlightenment.”

Understanding can help. But enlightenment is not a philosophy. It is the living knowledge of the truth of who you are.

And when that knowledge lives in you, nothing that happens in the world can compromise, endanger, damage, negate, extinguish, or triumph over your Enlightened Self.


The “Mr. Enlightenment” Interview, Par...

Dear Readers:

This is the final follow-up to the article on this website titled, “The Mr. Enlightenment Interview”, where Rose Rosetree asked me questions that were posed by readers of her blog. “Mr. Enlightenment” is what she playfully decided to call me.

If you don’t know and are wondering what this is all about, please take a look at this link.

I am taking the remainder of the questions from Rose Rosetree’s blog buddies and answering them here in the order that they appeared.

As I did in Part Two, I aim for giving the shortest and most direct answers.

However, full elaborations of many of these are addressed by the articles at this website and in my book, Answers From Silence. You can read parts of the book at this website under Excerpts.

If more than one person asked the same question, I answered it the first time.

Here goes!

Renee: Why you??…Why not…me??

JC: That is one of the main parts of my message. I never expected it to happen to me in this lifetime. But it can happen. It does happen. It could happen to you.

Jim Curry: Is Enlightenment a condition cut out of a single cloth? Or can a person be partly Enlightened or Enlightened in one area while still lagging in another area?

JC: Enlightenment only pertains to one area, which is the area of consciousness.

Jim Curry: Or does the same new condition imbue all aspects of the person’s activity and understanding?

JC: Consciousness imbues all aspects of activity, therefore enlightenment imbues all aspects of activity. As for understanding, that can be a mental abstraction. Therefore, I wouldn’t choose the word “understanding”. I would instead say that enlightenment imbues all aspects of knowledge.

Jim Curry: Have you noticed that very few Enlightened people gather about themselves whole communities of similarly upgraded persons?

JC: To my understanding, historically there have been many communities of like-minded spiritually-oriented people who have gathered together.

Jim Curry: Suppose a person who would like to be Enlightened shows up at an enlightened person’s doorstep. Is it possible to transfer the condition through some sort of (perhaps unexpected) educational process, or is this something that must be done all from the start for each person?

JC: I believe it must be possible to transfer the condition.

Jim Curry: If, indeed, it is possible to help people along, then why have we never seen that happen on anything like a great scale?

JC: On a great scale, people first have to want to show up at an enlightened person’s doorstep.

Jim Curry: Even Jesus seemed to have trouble getting through to twelve guys. It should be clear enough that they didn’t all “get” it (Judas, for example) and that the rest didn’t get it all (not both Peter and Paul were right on all points—not possible, they disagreed a lot). Please explain this.

JC: You can begin communication with people only at their own level of understanding.

Suzanne: I think Jim brings up an excellent point. If Darshan, the concept of becoming Enlightened by being in the presence of an Enlightened person, is true — then why doesn’t it happen more often?

JC: People aren’t willing to surrender more often.

Suzanne: In your experience, are you able to influence other people just by being around them?

JC: Yes.

Suzanne: How do you keep your peace with the pace of other people’s evolution?!

JC: I accept where they are. Everyone is on their path of enlightenment.

Jim Curry: Physical exercise means that we place measured stress on the physical body in order to elicit adaptive changes—which come from the unseen wisdom of the body itself. Our work just knocks on the door, asking the body to improve itself. It does the work. Is there an analogy to enlightenment? Can we place adaptive stress so that we get closer to enlightenment—can we exercise in some sense toward enlightenment as we exercise toward the Boston marathon?

JC: I don’t know whether there is an adaptive stress analogy to enlightenment.

Jim Curry: On the other hand, are there unhealthy stresses we can self-impose that delay enlightenment?

JC: Yes, and your common sense will identify those. But your path of enlightenment is comprised of every moment and event in your life. If there’s a delay, it was part of your path of enlightenment.

Jim Curry: Is the exact reverse true, i.e. if instead of imposing stress, if we impose some sort of reverse-stress—some flavor of pleasure—can that get us nearer?

JC: Make transcending a daily habit.

Jim Curry: Is there any sense in which becoming Enlightened makes it more awkward or more difficult to function in ordinary life? Is it in any sense a mal-adaption?

JC: No.

Sunny: One of the main purposes in our life is to become Enlightened. But how can I recognize my purpose in life (other than the Enlightenment one)? How do I know what I am supposed to do in life? Which job, mission, purpose am I supposed to undertake?

JC: The one that suits your abilities, that brings you joy, and that contributes to the lives of other people. Chapter 1 of Answers From Silence is all about this.

Carol: Would you allow some of us empaths to merge with you? Could we get a feel for Enlightenment by doing that?

JC: Go ahead.

Jordan: Jeffrey, do you ever get sick?

JC: Yes.

Jordan: Do you think it’s possible or at all likely for an Enlightened person to become seriously or terminally ill?

JC: Yes. But it would be experienced as an illness of the body. The self would be unaffected.

Jordan: What is bad, icky STUFF anyway?

JC: Energy configurations.

Jordan: Where does it come from?

JC: It comes from the past.

Jordan: Is it just the unknown and distortion?

JC: It is mistaken identity.

Jordan: What do you perceive at the farthest edge of your consciousness?

JC: Consciousness.

Jordan: Where do you experience limitation?

JC: The experience of self has a quality of limitlessness. But the physical environment has limitations. Solid objects can’t occupy the same space, for example. But I don’t mind.

Station: Hello, can you please describe the dynamics of your shift from pre-enlightened to enlightened?

JC: It was accomplished by interacting with my Enlightened Self until I merged and became my Enlightened Self. Chapter 6 of Answers From Silence traces this step by step.

Station: Is it simply a matter of a shift in perception?

JC: No. It is a shift in the perceiver.

Station: Do you subscribe to the common belief that the purpose of human life is to “learn” and “evolve” spiritually?

JC: I used to, but “purpose” seems like a different issue to me now. Everything is whole and self-contained. Therefore, I would now say that the purpose of human life is to be human life. The purpose of learning and evolving spiritually is to learn and evolve spiritually.

Station: If so, how did you arrive at that conclusion?

JC: Before now, “the common belief that the purpose of human life is to ‘learn’ and ‘evolve’ spiritually” was the best working model for interpreting human life and spiritual evolution.

Station: What about other forms of life (animals, plants, single cell microorganisms)?

JC: Same answers.

Amanda Flood: I would like to ask about the experience of being ‘in the moment’. Can you describe it?

JC: It is an experience of fullness and of completeness.

Amanda Flood: Sometimes I will have times of being in the moment when everything is just love. It’s an incredibly gentle feeling and feels timeless. I had put it down as just another ‘consciousness place’ but it seems from what Rose has written here and elsewhere that this (or something similar) is characteristic of enlightenment. Is it characteristic?

JC: Yes.

Amanda Flood: I’d also like to know if it’s something I should be cultivating?

JC: No. You should cultivate the cause, not the effect. Aligning into timelessness (cause) is what you should cultivate. Don’t try to duplicate an incredibly gentle feeling when everything is just love (effect).

Heather: I believe that Rose has previously mentioned that it is possible for ALL humans to become Enlightened…but is it truly possible for everyone to obtain this level?

JC: Yes. But now would be a good time to put the word “obtain” to rest. Accurately speaking, enlightenment isn’t an obtaining. It is a giving away. As I said in Answers From Silence, “Enlightenment is a bargain. The trade-off is: give up everything you have. In return, you get all of it back, plus everything in the universe.” And, “You don’t obtain enlightenment. Only God obtains enlightenment. You don’t become God. God becomes you. Then it is God who is living your life, thinking your thoughts, feeling your feelings, etc.”

Heather: I understand that not everyone would choose this path and therefore it would not be a possibility.

JC: Also from Answers From Silence, “Everyone is on their path of enlightenment…The only difference between some people and others is that they know this.”

Heather: But if I worked hard enough to get rid of my STUFF, is it possible?

JC: Yes. And it’s also possible that it could happen even before all the hard work was done.

Heather: Or, for some of us, is it not possible in this lifetime?

JC: Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it is not possible in any lifetime as long as you take ownership of that lifetime.

Grace: Do you find that since you’ve become Enlightened that you have fewer problems in life?

JC: Yes.

Grace: And/or if you do have problems, is it simply easier to deal with them?

JC: Yes.

Grace: Did you actively and intentionally pursue getting rid of STUFF (as Rose defines it) as part of your path to Enlightenment?

JC: Yes.

Jody: I was wondering if your body is more healthy and resilient post-Enlightenment?

JC: I’m not sure. But my periodontist said that my mouth was healing faster than expected after a recent tooth extraction that left no bruises or swelling. If that means anything.

Jody: If you do catch a sore throat or tummy bug or something, does that affect your inner state, your mood?

JC: No.

Jenny: Millions of people suffer from insomnia. Do Enlightened people get insomnia?

JC: I don’t know. There have been a few nights where I couldn’t get to sleep for an hour or more. I think it had to do with eating certain kinds of food in the evening.

Jenny: Jeffrey, how responsible do you feel for fixing other people’s problems? So many compassionate people make themselves feel guilty because they are not stopping to help every suffering person who crosses their path.

JC: I feel no responsibility for fixing other people’s problems. But I am always available to respond to a need.

Jenny: Do you stop constantly and bless random people all day long? Or do you set yourself a quota for each day? Or what?

JC: It’s happening automatically at all times.

Roma: If someone close to you does something “offensive,” rude, or abusive toward you… do you perceive it that way for even a moment?

JC: Yes.

Roma: Or does it not even bother you?

JC: If it occurs within a personal relationship, it bothers me at the emotional level.

Roma: And if it doesn’t bother you — how/where do you draw the line between remaining calm and peaceful, and protecting yourself from people who are trying to harm you?

JC: You should protect yourself when appropriate. Draw the line at reality. There is no value in injecting an unreal sense of calm peacefulness into a harmful situation.

Anita: I am wondering if being Enlightened is something that impacts you in a noticeable way or if it is almost imperceptible, a wonderful add-on to your life and something you might notice if you paid attention but it otherwise doesn’t create any big waves.

JC: It impacts you in a noticeable way that never leaves your attention.

Anita: Do problems with our government or more global ones, such as poverty in third world countries or the thinning of the ozone layer, still irk you in any way?

JC: Yes.

Anita: Do other people – aside from Rose Rosetree, of course – notice that you are different in some way, even if they can’t articulate exactly how you are different?

JC: Sometimes.

Anita: Do they do something like, “Wow, Mr. Chappell, you just seem to have a glow to you that not many other people have, an inner incandescence”?

JC: Sometimes.

Anita: Does life seem more rich and textured to you as one who is Enlightened – like sunsets are more beautiful, oranges zingier, music more delightful?

JC: Yes. Chapter 7 of Answers From Silence provides a thorough before-and-after comparison.

Anita: Do you live more in the Present Moment now than before you became Enlightened?

JC: I live in eternal timelessness. Because the present is an aspect of time, I don’t live in the present—or the past, or the future. I have released the present. See the website article, Being In The Present—And Beyond.

Anita: Do you remember when and how you became Enlightened?

JC: Yes.

Anita: Was it a Moment or something gradual?

JC: It was a moment. More precisely, it was a period of about 20 minutes. I was writing it down as it happened. This is found in Chapter 6 of Answers From Silence, under the heading, “This Is Your Enlightenment”.

Anita: What do you think your dharma in this world is?

JC: At this point, teaching.

Anita: And how were you able to figure that out?

JC: The first part of my life was spent with a single focus on performing classical piano music. The next part was spent diversifying my musical knowledge into all other areas, and I also wrote Answers From Silence. What remains now is to pass on my knowledge to others.

Anita: Do you have any advice to give to the younger generation?

JC: Bring your best into every situation.

Anita: What tips can you give to those of us who aren’t Enlightened about how to live life well?

JC: The reason you do the things you do is to feel alive. Drop the painful, unproductive ways to feel alive. There are better ways to feel alive. Find joyful, productive ways to feel alive.

Anita: Do you recommend we become Enlightened ourselves?

JC: Yes.

The Mayan Calendar And The End Of The World

There’s a big deal being made out of the fact that there exists a Mayan calendar that seems to end in the year 2012. To some people, this signifies that the world will end at that time.

I could write here about the fact that various groups of people at various times have mistakenly prepared for the end of the world on a particular date. Then the date passes and the world keeps on going. But that’s not the point I want to make.

The point is, the Mayan calendar warning is too late. The world already came to an end. It happened just a moment ago.

Perhaps you didn’t notice. That is probably because it is such an ordinary, everyday experience.

Answers From Silence says, “All that exists changes and in so doing there is the ‘death’ of its previous form. All existence dies every moment to become the next moment’s existence.”

Try it. Grab onto what was here just a moment ago. Can’t do it, can you? It’s gone. It all changed. That world ended. It has been replaced by this one. Which also just ended and also was replaced. And so on.

On the other hand, there is something that never changes, and you are connected with that. In fact, you are That.

Answers From Silence says, “At each time in your life, there was a part of you that was always there and that was always the same.”

This is the dimension of changelessness that is expressed in us as being pure consciousness. The quality of pure consciousness is that it is conscious only of being conscious.

Typically, your identity projects onto the things that you are conscious OF, but it is also possible for your identity to rest in pure consciousness. That would be the experience of the true self.

In that case, a meteor could collide with Earth, but it would have no impact on your unshakeable sense of who you are.

So what is the big deal with predicting the end of the world? Why all the concern and excitement?

The fruit of that tree is fear. Some people want to make others afraid, and some people want to be afraid. Answers From Silence says, “People do what they do in life, whatever that might be, in order to feel alive.”

I honestly believe that there are much better ways to feel alive than going into a panic. I encourage you to seek them out.

Answers From Silence says, “Anticipation has no value.”