“Apparent distinctions among things exist only in our minds. For example, in the sky there is no distinction of east and west. People create such distinctions and then believe them to be true. We do the same in everyday life- making distinctions, such as “us” and “them,” where none exist and believe them to be real.”
-Open your mind, Open your life, from Taro Gold (found this quote online (1))
This thought points to a few things at once.
First of all: to the enlightened mind the labels of human society don’t matter. Rich or poor, male or female, west or east – it’s all unimportant, because it’s all One. The enlightened mind is beyond such concepts, because the enlightened mind is beyond all thought.
It’s useful to be reminded of this, because in daily life we let labels and conditionings get in the way of our conscious minds. It matters to our unconscious whether Obama has dark skin. It should not matter, but it is still likely to make a difference to the election results, because our conditionings influence our judgement at a deep level.
Second: Our conscious mind is merely the top layer of our acting mind. In order to make right decisions we need to let the subconscious in as well – not because Obama is unqualified as a president (I think he’s a better candidate than McCain), but because besides our conditionings our subconscious also has an enormous store of information that our conscious mind isn’t smart enough to keep track of. Still, we will act on our unconscious assumptions and knowledge. Smart people learn to make use of this.
Enlightenment is something that isn’t in our subconscious, but is perhaps best described as superconscious. Enlightenment is supposed to be more than just a neat spiritual experience, it is supposed to light up our every thought with wisdom and kindness. And kindness comes from being able to overcome the kind of conditioning which disqualifies Obama from being president just because he was once born with a brown skin.
I guess this post is turning into an endorsement for Obama. That is not how I started this out though: the main point I want to make is that in enlightenment distinctions become insignificant. It’s a kind of consciousness – perhaps a holistic consciousness – and it forms a kind of backdrop to the whole way of living of an enlightened being.
Tomorrow I’ll go into the way this thought is, in my view, being misunderstood – though mistaught is perhaps a better way of putting it.
(1) The second and third sentences are often attributed to the Buddha as an internet search will show.
Related: my disillusionment with Krishnamurti