The word enlightenment has a different meaning for Westerners than it does for those who are familiar with Eastern Philosophy. In the West, enlightenment means the ascendancy of reason; in the East it means piercing the veil of illusion. The one has to do with overcoming dogma and superstition, the other with…well, overcoming dogma and superstition. Both eschew hearsay knowledge in favor of direct experience. And this is what it means to be an enlightened Christian.
Some say that mystics are born and not made. If that is so, then everyone is a mystic, at least in potential, because everyone has at least some inkling that there is more to reality than meets the eye. The world reported to us by our senses, which is to say our brain, seems in our more lucid moments to be projected onto the screen of our awareness in a way that begs the question, what else is there? And if we press the question, it leads us to ask further, what is the source of that light? The answer, of course, cannot be conceptualized; it can only be experienced. Any attempt to rationalize it only leads to dogma, and often the attempt to acquire the experience, to make it happen, devolves into superstitious thinking and magical formulae.
This is where the word mission can get distorted.
There is a mystic saying, “You teach more by what you do than by what you say, but you teach most by what you are.” The mission of the enlightened Christian follows this aphorism closely: enlightenment is a state of being. In a way, it supercedes experience or, perhaps more rightly said, creates it. For, what we experience is a direct result of what we are being. It hardly depends on what we know or understand intellectually, although sometimes we need the concept to lead us into the experience. But ultimately what occurs in our lives comes out of what we are – the quality, not the quantity.
The word quality is also problematic, because it can so easily invite egotism. This is where a scientific mindset comes in handy – quality, in the scientific sense, means substance – what is the nature of the vibration you are putting out? Far from being moralistic, or judgmental, the quality of the energy we transmit into the world either adds to or subtracts from the veil of illusion that makes all of the error in the world possible. Ignorance is the cause of suffering, according to Buddha. And for both scientists and mystics, ignorance is the source of error.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. – 1 Corinthians 13
To adulterate means to dilute. As enlightened Christians, what is the substance, the quality of the energy we are transmitting into the world? Is it sometimes this, sometimes that? If the mass mind were a swimming pool, well…I think you know where I’m going with that! How clear is the water immediately surrounding us? Are we a source of new water or something else? It does not matter what clothes we wear, what profession we follow, what our politics are, or our religious beliefs. What we are talking about here goes way beyond any of those. What does matter is whether God is present, that we know even as we are known.
This is the only thing that will transform the world.