The “Mr. Enlightenment” Interview, Part Two

January 24, 2011

Dear Readers:

This is the first 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.

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

Ask Mr. Enlightenment Contest

I am taking the remainder of the questions from Rose Rosetree’s blog buddies and answering them here in the order that they appeared. This is roughly the first half of those. The remainder appears in Part Three.

Because there are so many questions, I aim for giving the shortest answers. I also aim for giving the most direct answers, since there is at least one questioner lamenting the lack of direct answers on the subject of enlightenment.

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”.

Alternatively, you can use the Search field, or simply click on the list of topics listed under “Categories” in the sidebar to the right.

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

Here goes!

Alexey: What were the practical steps you took to become enlightened?

JC: Four things:

1. I lived my life.

2. I meditated as a daily habit.

3. I engaged in dialogues with my Enlightened Self.

4. When enlightenment came, I yielded.

Bridget: When you became enlightened was it an event? And, if so, did you know you were enlightened instantly?

JC: Yes, it was an event. And yes, I knew instantly. Chapter 7 of Answers From Silence covers this subject.

Jody: When you look at your relationships with other people in your life, what are the biggest differences you notice before enlightenment and after enlightenment?

JC: Established relationships have stayed the same. I am still a friend to my friends, a teacher to my students, a son to my father. But a new kind of relationship—a spiritual mentorship—became possible, and that has happened with a couple of people.

Suzanne: What do you do when homeless people ask you for money on the street?

JC: Sometimes I give it to them.

Rose: Do you feel the need to say things like, “Blessings” when you talk to people?

JC: No.

Rose: If you are angry at someone, or a person has treated you badly in a way that merits clarification or a verbal objection, do you stay silent in order to never speak a negative word?

JC: I speak up in order to correct the situation, but that can be done without negative words.

Rose: Do you sometimes have to speak negative words? If so, do you find it necessary to always pretty things up afterwards by saying things like, “Bless you, my child” or “Namaste”?

JC: I never choose to speak demeaningly or insultingly of any person, present or absent. On instinct, I might call someone a bad name if they were to make a frighteningly irresponsible maneuver next to my car in traffic. I don’t verbally pretty it up afterwards. The next moment pretties it up.

Amanda: Did you ever go through a dark time?

JC: Yes, but I was never dark during that time.

Amanda: …and if so, how did it clear?

JC: Time brought it, time cleared it.

Jim Curry: How can ordinary people become perceptive enough to distinguish between actual limitations and their own laziness or neurotic preferences?

JC: Actual limitations are when other people are blocking your progress. Your own laziness or neurotic preferences are when you are blocking your progress. Chapter 3 of Answers From Silence includes material on this question.

Jim Curry: What is a good clear, concrete method that will allow us to establish full authenticity and motor on toward enlightenment in a businesslike way, whether we have some energy block or not?

JC: Choose a method of experiencing transcendence that works for you and make it a daily habit.

Jim Curry: How can those of us in the cheap seats recognize good advice from bad advice?

JC: Ask your own Enlightened Self to tell you the difference.

Jim Curry: Once obtained, is enlightenment a persistent state, or can you be enlightened for thirty seconds and drop back to lesser status (bummer)?

JC: It’s persistent.

Jim Curry: Does being enlightened mean that a person is pleasant and smooth to deal with, or could an enlightened person be really cranky and unpleasant—at least part of the time?

JC: An enlightened person could be really cranky and unpleasant at least part of the time.

Jim Curry: Are there different flavors of enlightenment? For example, ice cream could be vanilla or chocolate or strawberry or mint or…. Ice cream is quite varied.

JC: I don’t know. You also might ask whether vanilla tastes the same to everybody.

Jim Curry: Is enlightenment varied in some similar sense, or does one size fit all?

JC: I don’t know. But descriptions of it from disparate sources seem to congrue.

Jim Curry: Is the “rising of Kundalini” necessary for enlightenment, as some Indian authors write, or are there many other ways?

JC: The rising of Kundalini may possibly be a hidden component in every enlightenment, but I don’t know. I can only speculate. There are many techniques. Perhaps some of those raise Kundalini as an automatic by-product, without focusing on it as a goal.

Jim Curry: If it is necessary, is there a safe, pleasant, easy, comfortable way to get it done—and get it done NOW????

JC: I can’t say, since I don’t know any Kundalini techniques.

Jim Curry: Is there any distinct advantage that accrues to an enlightened person…

JC: Scoring an advantage ceases to be a motivation.

Jim Curry: …or is it just as hard to haul the water and pay the bills after as before?

JC: Water gets hauled and bills get paid, and it may be hard, but the experience of it being hard is not taken personally. The only experience is freedom, and the external circumstances are irrelevant. I am not hauling water, I am experiencing freedom. I am not paying bills, I am experiencing freedom. And so forth.

Jim Curry: If the path is necessarily arduous, can you suggest a way of guaranteeing for ourselves our own persistence on the path?

JC: The path is not necessarily arduous. I suggest that the way to guarantee your own persistence on the path is to follow a path that you love.

Jim Curry: When all is said and done, is it really all that hard to become enlightened—or is it mainly media hype?

JC: People make enlightenment hard by putting up a fight.

Jim Curry: Why have so many enlightened people, especially from Indian and China, made such a big secret deal for so many centuries about how to become enlightened?

JC: Are you keeping a secret, and if so, is there a good reason?

Jim Curry: Wouldn’t it be a good idea if everyone got with the program and got enlightened —perhaps by next month?

JC: Yes.

Jim Curry: Why would it be useful to keep it all a deep dark secret?

JC: It is not a deep dark secret. All the information is out there. People need to choose to connect with it.

Jim Curry: Is enlightenment a terminal goal, or is it merely a way marker?

JC: It marks a beginning.

Jim Curry: Suppose you and 1,000 other people become enlightened, do you then have to start next day working toward Enlightenment The Sequel—a higher and better state that is, as yet, hard to obtain?

JC: Some say that there are different stages of higher consciousness. Check the “Beyond Enlightenment” section in Chapter 7 of my book.

Jim Curry: So, as an enlightened person, what are the concerns or problems that you deal with?

JC: I deal with the concerns and problems of everyday life.

Jim Curry: What occupies your attention?

JC: Whatever I’m doing.

Jim Curry: What are YOU working on or working toward?

JC: I am working on various professional projects such as teaching music, preparing for upcoming concerts, and blogging about my book.

Jim Curry: How does the game of striving change for those who are no longer in the cheap seats?

JC: It ends.

Olivia: What’s up with dolphins? (I’ll leave it at that. Interpret as you like.)

JC: They are really intelligent animals. That’s all the information that I have.

Jim Curry: Do enlightened people have special ways of performing ordinary tasks?

C: Yes. The self is separate from the action.

Jim Curry: Can you recognize an enlightened person just by watching or listening to them?

JC: No.

Dear Readers: Here is The Mr. Enlightenment Interview Part One and here is Part Three where I answer the remaining questions from Rose’s readers.