If you are asking the question, then the answer is: no, this is not it. But the question falling away is also not enough. One can realize that they are not a thought, not any thought, and questions will subside. But do you know who you are?
This Knowing does not have anything to do with questions and answers, a.k.a., “thinking.” Thinking is always “about” something, and Knowing is direct. So even if the question of enlightenment has fallen away, do not stop there.
What is Enlightenment?
People consider enlightenment the ultimate purpose or achievement for human beings. Most think it is a blissful experience.
However, the ultimate is a question of identity. Who are you? If you say that there is no way to answer the question of “Who am I?” you are still leaning on thought.
If you say, “I don’t exist,” you have merely dis-identified with all the thoughts you used to identity with. That doesn’t mean you don’t exist. It means you aren’t what you used to think you were.
You cannot possibly deny your existence–who exists to deny it? You have merely swapped one thought form for another. Now you are an I “that is not,” and you are still leaning on thought and mis-identifying.
Resist grasping for straws, resist any thought-form identification like, “I am energy,” or “I am a spirit,” do not stop anywhere until you come to the direct Knowing of who you are.
If you stop anywhere, you have misunderstood, and then you will practice your misunderstanding–and worse, perhaps even teach it.
If after seeking a few times for “it,” you’ve had some experiences that you know are still not it (because you are asking if this is it) and you don’t find “it,” then conclude there is no such thing, there is no enlightenment or Self-Realization, then you have misunderstood. You have stopped.
With Knowing, you quit asking, not because you conclude or give up, but because you Know, and you also quit saying what you are or are not, because your true Self is unlimited, and so you cannot draw a line in the sand and say this is me (or you), or this is not me.
Now, if you grab that and try to run with it as thought, thinking you now have it, it will not satisfy, and that is also how you know, “this is not it.”
Enlightenment is not an experience
There are all kinds of experiences that are called “awakening” or “enlightenment” which do not involved a shift in identity, or ones that involve a shift in identity onto a more subtle thought form. If you are saying, “this is not it, or this is it”–then keep going.
How to know if you are enlightened
The hallmarks of Self-Realization are that 1) it is fully satisfying 2) it is final: there are no more questions because it is fully satisfying and identification with all thought stops, 3) it is permanent and not questionable, 4) there is no need or interest in arguing, and 5) there is no place to stop.
Ecstasy or bliss, while they may come before, during, or after it, are not hallmarks because they also come with many other things too, and are temporary–they will pass.
The desire for enlightenment is not wrong, it is the seed that can blossom and reveal the truth of who you are, what this is, and what is going on here, but the static shell needs to be discarded.
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