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Extracts From Books I & II

What's It Like To Be  Enlightened?

Partial & Full

Non-Separation And Enlightenment


In fact, non-separation is so closely associated with enlightenment that it’s become nearly synonymous with it. If you’ve ever heard anyone speak about their personal experience of enlightenment, then you’ll know that what they often describe is an experience of non-separation that they have.


Here is a hypothetical example: “At that moment, I could see that I was intimately connected with everything around me. As I looked at the rocks, the trees, and the river, I realized that we weren’t separate from each other. From that point on, I knew that we were eternally united with each other and that nothing could break this sacred union we all share.” If you were to hear someone describe such a personal experience, you would likely conclude that they are spiritually advanced, if not “awakened” or enlightened in some way.


In addition to such personal accounts, there are also more impersonal, abstract proclamations of non-separation that you often hear. Statements like: “Separateness is an illusion,” “You and I are united,” “All things are connected,” “Everything is one,” and “Reality is non-dual.” Again, such statements are generally taken to be synonymous with enlightenment. Most would readily accept them as descriptions or expressions of the enlightened state.


However, the crucial problem with these statements is that they do not all say the same thing—not even by a long shot. Although they may, at first, sound the same, they actually describe totally different non-separation experiences. On top of that, some statements describe what you experience only in the state of partial enlightenment, while others express the experience of full enlightenment.


However, if you can’t tell them apart, how will you know which non-separation experiences to aim at? If you seek partial or full enlightenment, which experiences fall within your aim, and which miss the mark?



Partial And Full Non-Separation


Just as there are partial and full forms of enlightenment, there are also partial and full experiences of non-separation. In the state of partial enlightenment, you have incomplete or partial non-separation experiences. In the state of full enlightenment, you experience complete or full non-separation.


Until you experience full non-separation, there will always be something inside you that feels off, missing, or not quite right. A fundamental and inescapable sense of uneasiness, incompleteness, or dissatisfaction will pervade your life. However, this is resolved with full enlightenment. In the experience of full non-separation, it is brought to an end.


(End Book II Quote)

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