It's been a few years since I started teaching, and during this time I have received emails from a number of people, usually male, most often in their early 20's or younger, who claim, either in their opening email or after some emails have passed between us, that they are now Enlightened. This page is about the belief behind 'youngsters' looking for an accolade of some sort, and who choose Enlightenment as their trophy (but it can apply to any age really):
You may have met someone already, or perhaps I am describing you, when I talk about young people believing they are Enlightened...
My own teacher, Barry Long, used to talk about young men, with their testosterone and aggression, believing they were Enlightened. He would tell them to contain themselves and the insights, and he would even go so far as to say that one cannot be Enlightened at 20yrs, 30yrs, or even 40yrs; and that only by the age of 50yrs would someone be near the age at which they may have lived enough to have realised and become The Master (as it is called).
In my own experience, I do recall a little of what he was speaking of; I had been following, what is commonly called, 'The Spiritual Path' for about 1 year when I found Barry's teaching at 18yrs of age. It was wonderful as it was just what I needed at the time, and I found I developed quickly. Having read one book of Barry's and heard one cassette, I arranged to attend a talk in London, Earls Court, a few weeks later. While there I booked to attend a 5 day residential seminar in Leicester a few weeks after that, and at the end of the Leicester meeting I found out about the Master Session in Australia coming up, and booked to go on that. It was only 6 months since I first heard of Barry Long, and things were moving fast.
By now, not only had I been in Barry's company several times already, but the insights seemed to be coming quickly and I could reel off all about the truth, giving my ego the impression that I was nearly there. In fact I really believed I was, at only 19yrs. Even though I attended all the talks in Australia that year, and even helped out as a member of staff with the checking of tickets and helping in the kitchen etc, there was a part of me that resented being there. "I don't need him!..." I would tell myself, "...I can do this on my own!". When asked by Barry to close our eyes in the meetings, I would leave mine open, in a form of defiance, showing that I no longer needed to do what everybody else was doing as I was above that now. I also met a lady out there with whom I spent a lot of time and we became close, and when she said at one point that she needed to ask Barry a question. I felt quite threatened, asking inside "Why does she need to ask him? I know everything he knows. I can do this too". It turned out that I was able to answer her question after all, and it helped us both, but the point was the arrogance in me that caused an annoyance at her need to ask anyone else anything. I wanted to be the Master. I didn't like being 2nd to anyone!
I returned to England from Australia and attended a few more of Barry's talks over the next 2 or 3 years when he came to England, but I told myself that it was only to teach the lady I was then with, to try to get her interested in doing this too... It wasn't for me! I already knew all this! In fact, the lady even commented several times that there was no point in her being there, as she didn't hear anything in the talks that I hadn't already told her. Around this time Barry stopped coming to England, and I took that as a message that I no longer needed him at all.
I did a lot of inner-work over the next 5 years or so, struggling with the emotion that kept coming; still saying to myself "Am I there yet?... Yes, this is it, I'm Enlightened now.... Oh no I'm not...". I once wrote to Barry and asked the question as to whether or not I was Enlightened. He replied simply that Enlightenment pervades all areas of one's life. That was enough to tell me I still had a little way to go, because I was really struggling with the emotion and things were still tough with my relationship, and my job.
Time passed and as I dissolved more emotion, along with the need to be anything, be it The Master, Enlightened, or whatever, the arrogance diminished. I put aside any pride and accepted that even though I had all the knowledge, and had done for several years now, I could still go deeper. I also knew that just being in Barry's company would help me progress; so I went to the Master Session in Australia, almost 10 years after my first visit. I was now 28yrs.
I met people there whom I had not seen since my last visit and, despite them having been to most, if not all the meetings since, it seemed (from my 'outside' perception) they had not changed much, while I had gone through great changes. Not only did I have all the knowledge, but these had also begun to become solid and I was becoming the knowledge that I had carried.
A year later I returned again, and it was then that it all came together and the last obstruction (for want of a better word) fell away. I became the Being that I had been chasing for so long.
I spoke with Barry about my experience. At the time he just walked away and I wondered why. However, in following talks over the next few days he said repeatedly, not that a person cannot be Enlightened at 20yrs, 30yrs or 40yrs, but now he was saying that not all Enlightened people are the same, and that one grows in Knowledge and truth even after Enlightenment. I knew he was talking about me.
I returned to England and all but forgot the experience which had faded. 6 months later I noticed that it was back, but now constant; but constant what? I was only being what I am, except that now all trying had gone and I was complete. I knew I had become the Being behind all existence and there was no coming or going now. Nothing else to look for and no more questions. As Jesus is supposed to have said so long ago "I am the way, the truth and the life"; as the Buddha said "I am awake"; and as Krishna said, I had "become the supreme personality behind all living things"; and yet I was not special. I was just being what I am. I am This.
Barry did not hold any more meetings after the Master session. He was however extremely generous to reply to my letter a few months later in which I explained what I was seeing and how things had changed. Barry wrote "...It seems to me, your qualifications to serve by teaching the people are solid or well-founded. It is true at 30 there is still much living to do, as J. Krishnamurti found. But that did not stop him. At that age - & I suppose at every age - one must face the testing in circumstance of the realisations of truth / and or love. At 30 however, with profound knowledge already realised, there's a lot of living to do...."
At the end of the letter, Barry added "So there you go Nick - Or on you go. Time will tell but you do have the right stuff as long as keep any arrogance at bay. This you have done well sine we first started to speak." Barry may not have known quite how much I had struggled with the arrogance. Apparently that was one of the last letters that Barry wrote before he died.
However, I had already begun teaching before receiving Barry's letter, as it was right for me to do so. I did not need anyone's approval or say-so; I had come too far for that. I was The Master consciousness, and was living from there; but I was still not special.
So, back to the point of this page:
'I have received emails from a number of people, usually male, most often in their early 20's or younger, who claim, either in their opening email or after some emails have passed between us, that they are now Enlightened.' I do understand, but I also suggest you try living it for a while first, before telling everyone that you have finished; or that you are going to save them or the world; or that you are the prophet or the next messiah. One insight, or even all the knowledge in the world, does not make you Enlightened. 'Being' makes you Enlightened, when lived fully, and this usually takes many years to become fully 'fledged'.
Thank you for reading.