I do not pretend to be a zen master or teacher. I use the term "enlightnment" here as general movement toward a more natural experience of living/existing. It occurs to me that so many individuals live miserably in the dark. There isn't one person who wouldn't grab paradise if it was offered to them. And, yet, there it is, everyday, going on right in front of them. Free for the experiencing.
A common zen comparision is the Magic Eye art. At first glance, the magice eye appears to be nothing more than an organization of random patches of color. But once your eyes focus in the right way, a 3D picture appears that you didn't see before. Paradise is the same way. Once you see reality with the correct perspective, you relaize you have been surrounded by paradise all along.
Meditation brought this progression of perspectives to me:
Everything is horrible
This worldview is hardlined focused on everything that is wrong with the world. You've seen these people, I'm sure. These are the individuals who are freaking out in public because they didn't get "extra pickle" or they're slamming their breaks in front of you because they perceived a personal slight when you cut them off. What a sad way to live, trying to make others miserable because they're miserable. Anger fuels more anger. This is their punishment, living in anger.
Everything is going to be okay
This belief settles for the understanding that while the state of the world may not be up to par, it will be someday. Typically, this is the view held by religious (or newly religious) people. While this is a definite improvement over the previous worldview. It still falls shorts. These individuals live in fear and anticipation of a better life. They are missing what is right in front of them.Everything is okay
These individuals are often of the slightly more evolved religious persuasion. They have moved from understanding that "god" will take care of "his" creation, to "god" is taking care of things right now. The anticipation of a better life is removed. It is slightly less fearful and allows reality to exist as it is, without additional improvements.Everything is
This worldview moves away from the perception that circumstances are "good" or "bad". Instead, things just are. They exist. Reality doesn't require labels: good, bad or okay. Take a deep breath. This is reality. It is. The removal of labels is the cessation of fear. Fear is the cognitive separation of what should be from what shouldn't. Not only can these individuals allow reality to exist as it is, but they don't even allow for the possibility for it to be anything other than what it is.Is
The removal of "everything" is the acknowledgement that the individual is not separate from the rest of reality. It is the understanding of non-duality. I am everything, and everything is me. Separateness between me and my lover, brother, stranger, inanimate objects is the illusion. The removal of illusion is the ultimate release from fear and anxiety. There is no separation between me and you because we are one. There is no jealousy. There is no suffering.