Rama ~ Dr. Frederick Lenz
The best meditation I ever had, I haven’t had yet. It’s in the future, which as anyone knows doesn’t exist—anyone who meditates knows. And yet, I’ll have it some day.
The best lifetime I’ve ever experienced hasn’t occurred yet. I’ve had billions of lives. I’ve been around the universe almost as long as the universe, I think. I remember my lives; you don’t. Or you remember a few, I remember a billion. And I’ve had wonderful lives. I’ve had wonderful lives, beautiful lives, lives of struggle, lives of battle, lives of ecstasy. I’ve had beautiful lives, and this is a beautiful life I’m in now. It’s a hard life, as they go, but it’s a beautiful life.
But I haven’t had the best lifetime yet. It’s around the corner, I know it is. It hasn’t occurred yet because things get better in infinity as we get better. In each lifetime we get better.
The universe is always ecstasy and it’s always perfect, but we don’t perceive it that well. If we keep doing our yoga in every lifetime, we perceive it more correctly. It isn’t that infinity gets better—I have no doubt that it could if it were in the mood, and maybe it does—but the real issue is perception in meditation. Meditation is the study of perception. What we seek to do in meditation is refine, which means, simply, make more accurate our perception of things. So I haven’t had the best meditation I can have, because there’s no end to the refinement of perception.
Yes, I say that I am enlightened. What does that mean? It means I live in a condition of light. After many years of meditating, practicing, I’ve reached a point that can’t be described or discussed—but one is always in a condition of light. There is really no primary self anymore. It [enlightenment] comes back in every life without me seeking it. One has to refine it, but it just comes back unsought. I live in a condition of light inside my mind. Nice. But that condition of light can be refined. There’s no end to it because we perceive the universe through the universe. We perceive light through light, and there’s no end to the gradients of perfect light.
So I believe that the best lifetime hasn’t occurred. I don’t think the most beautiful sunrise to be seen in the world has been seen on this earth. It isn’t that the sunrise will grow more beautiful, it’s that we will. We’ll perceive it more completely than anyone before. You might say, "Well, God, the universe, is filled with a lot of slimy stuff. There are pollutants in the air, there hasn’t been much aura on the earth from the time of Atlantis, and you could really see then." And I’d say, "Well, that’s true, but you know, those chemicals create beautiful sunsets."
You see, Buddhists are optimists. We never saw sunsets in Atlantis like we do now. We didn’t have all those great chemicals in the air. So what is beauty? Is beauty the acknowledgment that chemicals in the air create beauty or would beauty be to bitch about it and say, "Well, God, back in Atlantis it was much nicer!" And what does it mean? I would think it would mean you’re further along in your perception of beauty if you can see beauty in things that other people wouldn’t consider beautiful.
It’s the refinement of our nature that is perfection. It’s not a thing that we go and do. You’re seeking a perfect town, a perfect car, a perfect wife or husband, a perfect teacher. You’re missing it. The perfection is in your apprehension, not in the thing. It’s in your apprehension, in your perception of things. You want a perfect job? Create a perfect mind and whatever your job is, it will be perfect. You want a perfect life? Create a perfect mind and whatever your life is, it will be perfect. You want to see a perfect sunset? Create a perfect mind and look at the sunset, any sunset, and you’ll see a perfect sunset.
I’ve lived in worlds where there are three or four suns. We had incredible sunsets, beautiful. But they weren’t more beautiful than here, if my mind is more beautiful in each life. Eternity becomes more beautiful as we age, if we age well—and I mean age not just within a lifetime but in a multilife sequence. If we age poorly, then we don’t improve our minds, we don’t refine all the aspects of our being.
In other words, enlightenment is not static. You know, there’s this sense of, "The Buddha was enlightened." Great, good for him, and that’s like some absolute, meaning that’s the highest enlightenment. Or once you’re there, that’s it. It’s sort of like a Ph.D.—you got your Ph.D. But what does that mean, when you get one? I’ve got one. It means that you’ve passed some comprehensive exams, taken classes, written a dissertation and done a lot of classwork and research and now you have a vague understanding of your field. Now your job is (now that you have your Ph.D.) that you’re going to go out and actually learn something about it. All the Ph.D. ensures is that you have some vague understanding of how large the field is, and you have some methods to approach it with.
So enlightenment simply means that you’ve gotten above the body-mind complex. You’ve refined the self, dissolved it in the white light of eternity and gone through all the gradient shifts. I mean, it’s technical, but it doesn’t end there. In other words, we have this view that once you’re enlightened, that’s sort of it. That’s the end of the show. You just kind of hang out in this quiescent state. You don’t know that the quiescent state changes and moves all the time. It’s never the same. If you become the quiescent state, which is what enlightenment means, it means that you’re never the same. You move and shift as the quiescent state, in a body or out of it. And since the quiescent state is perpetual and endless ecstasy, therefore you are endless. You’re not finite; you’re infinite.
So the end of all meditation is the beginning of all meditation. It’s the refinement of one’s nature, the refinement—ultimately in advanced meditation—of enlightenment itself. Enlightenment can be refined, which may seem like a strange concept, but who cares about concepts? The reality of the issue is there’s no end to it. Since infinity is by its very nature infinite, then enlightenment by its very nature is infinite and thus can be experienced in infinite ways, by itself or without itself.
So the most beautiful day hasn’t dawned, the most beautiful lifetime has not been experienced. The most beautiful meditation has not been had, even by the enlightened. I guess that’s the good news—it doesn’t end. Enlightenment is not an end. Nor is it a beginning. Inside your mind there’s no separation between the quiescent perfect state and anything else,. Everything’s inside your mind. Enlightenment isn’t out there; it’s just inside your mind, but it’s not an intellectual understanding. It’s not a knowledge that can be taught.
You can’t teach someone to be enlightened. It’s something you have to go and do. You can’t teach someone to meditate well. It’s something you have to go and do. You can explain, "Well, do this, focus on this, dissolve the ego this way." There’s a lot of technical material that you learn as you advance. A lot of it is very technical, as you go in and out of the different samadhis, as you learn to dissolve the self in a variety of ways, things that we don’t teach to people unless they’re very far along. They wouldn’t make any sense, they wouldn’t be understood—the motions of infinity. You have to learn the motions of infinity with your mind. Your mind becomes a perfect mirror to the motions of infinity.
Sometimes you watch the Olympics and you see one of these people who are on the bars, you know the parallel bars, the uneven bars? They start to do these wonderful flips and spins. I mean they’re moving so fast that you can barely see what they’re doing, and unless you know their art very well, you wouldn’t know the names for the ten different spins and shifts they just did. But each of those spins is quite technical. And of course they are judged on how well they technically execute very refined motions. But they’re all put together so quickly that to you it’s just, "Wow, look at that guy spinning around, that’s amazing!" But it’s even more amazing if you knew how many motions are in each spin.
In advanced meditation, we learn to do something like that with our minds. There are methods and formations of joining the mind with the various aggregate aspects of the universe, with the universal mind. Fusing it, dissolving it, things like that, that are done sometimes thousands of times in a microsecond, or outside of time. That’s the tech of advanced meditation, but it’s really all the same. Infinity is really all the same. Mind is really all the same. There’s only one infinity, even though there are countless infinities. It’s really all the same.
All of life is colored by your perceptual field. Whenever you’re in a perceptual field, it seems like it’s ultimate. It’s a self-wrapping consciousness. There doesn’t seem or appear to be anything else other than the attention field you’re in. It’s an ultimate view. So it’s important to remember that there are countless views in infinity. If someone says, "Well, I am enlightened," that means they have a particular view. Maybe their view is above everyone else they’ve ever met, but that doesn’t mean that it’s ultimate, because it can’t be ultimate. Infinity is the ultimate view. And to have that view, you can’t exist. You can’t be in finite form. No one could ever be said to have the ultimate view, because all views ultimately are beyond perception, if they’re at all advanced.
The study of advanced meditation, then, is the ability to undo the most impressive views there are. In other words, what you try to do in beginning meditation is to become consistent—meditate every day. In intermediate meditation you try to always reach ecstasy—and deeper and deeper forms of ecstasy. But in advanced meditation what you’re really learning to do is to undo the most perfect perceptual states, because every perfect perceptual state is seen as a trap. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s limited, and the game is that the more perfect the perceptual state, the less real it can be. The more you’re drawn to the latest nirvana—it’s like restaurants. You know, you find the new wonderful restaurant in the city and it’s just the best restaurant there is. You have to immediately leave it—after you’ve had dinner, by the way, and tried the dessert and gone through the whole experience. Then you have to leave it because the mere fact that it seems ultimate tells you that it’s not, since there can’t be any ultimate in infinity. You immediately have to leave it, but then you have to find the next ultimate.
You’re always looking for the ultimate. It’s kind of like journeying to Ixtlan [A reference to Carlos Castaneda’s book Journey to Ixtlan]. You’re never going to get there, but that’s no reason not to try. You’re never going to eat the best food—somebody must be hungry, I’m feeling all this hunger psychically—you’re never going to eat the best food that there is because maybe it hasn’t even been discovered yet. But that’s no reason not to try, you see?
In advanced meditation, what we’re always trying to do is avoid illusions. In intermediate meditation, we’re trying to create illusions: the illusion of perfect meditation. But once we’ve achieved perfect meditation, we’re terribly trapped, because that’s an illusion. There’s no such thing. It’s necessary to first reach the point of perfect meditation so that you can see beyond that. But ultimately, enlightenment is an illusion. Enlightenment, of course, is real, but what I’m suggesting is any enlightenment that seems ultimate is an illusion. There can’t be anything ultimate.
So advanced meditation is a process of constantly undoing perfection, because as soon as it seems to be perfect, we’re trapped. We’re stuck in an idea-form of perfection and all these idea-forms, of course, come out of the seamless void.
Advanced meditation is the study of the simple. That is to say, we come back to the most basic things and we see them as far more infinite than the most infinite things. So I can go shopping and pick up some Bounty towels. Paper towels? The three-pack? You know the one. I can go home and open those up and look at them and see more infinity in them than in the Buddha’s best meditation—in the three-pack. If I can’t do that, that means I’m wrapped by the Buddha’s best meditation. That means I see it as ultimate, and if I see it as ultimate, of course, that means I’m stuck in a view that can’t possibly be, since nothing can be ultimate in the universe. There can’t be anything ultimate in infinity because infinity is boundless.
So, advanced meditation is a continual process where we come back to the beginning. In the beginning we reject the senses, we reject the mind, we reject feeling—meaning, we feel that they’re limited. We don’t reject them, but we just don’t spend all our time in them. In intermediate meditation we hardly ever utilize those forms anymore. But in advanced meditation, if we happen to be in a body, we come back to those most basic things and we see infinity in thoughts, in physical things and in emotions.
You see a very advanced master who’s got a girlfriend, who listens to rock and roll, who thinks about things that are very earthy. You say, "Well, how can this be?" Yet they glow. You say, "Why would they be interested in these things?" You don’t understand. The advanced course has to do with coming back to everything that you had to reject in the beginning and seeing it as a far greater infiniteness than everything that you’ve attained.
What you see is not the same as what everyone else sees, of course, because you’ve already mastered samadhi—or been mastered by it. You’ve already mastered all the quiescent states in the universe and infinity, or enough, anyway, and you’ve refined the being out of existence. So it’s perfectly possible to come back to the most sensorial level of perception and see all the infiniteness of all the endless, quiescent states in breadcrumbs—what are those things? Croutons! You see croutons, Pepperidge Farm Cheese and Garlic. Yeah, I go to the supermarket, I buy the pack and in one of those croutons is all of nirvana. In that physical, sensorial apprehension is infinity plus.
You come back to the beginning. That’s why in the "Searching for the Ox" sequence, at the very end of that sequence of the Zen paintings, we’re back in the world again. We go around the circle. We go back to where we started, and we’re back in the marketplace—in the picture, the block print, in the "Searching for the Ox" sequence where they’re depicting the enlightenment experience in Zen. And we’re right back where we started. We’re hanging out again. We’re in our Levis and doing or going to work, but the thing is, we’re doing something different with our mind than we were at the start. We’ve already become enlightened. But now we’re seeing if enlightenment really exists in everything like they say it does in the books.
We’ve gone back to being very common. But not really. We’re in different infinites all the time. So, consumer goods become enlightenment. Relationships—anything! It doesn’t really matter because infinity exists in everything. "Greater than the greatest, smaller than the smallest, the self dwells in the hearts of all." That’s in the Upanishads. If that’s really true, then infinity is everywhere, but of course, you have to develop the mindlessness to perceive it in its infinite perfection, in all forms and formlessness.
Advanced enlightenment is really the apprehension that we have not seen the most beautiful sunset or the most beautiful sunrise or the most beautiful life or death. Then, in all things, in everything and in nothing, there’s God. There’s nirvana. There’s infinity. While we have to leave a lot of things originally to purify our perception, in the end we just realize there’s no end. It just goes on forever, in countlessly new forms. That’s what’s wonderful about the universe. It’s not finite; it’s infinite.