Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation homepage > Notebooks of Paul Brunton

Illumination and the Illumined Life [Essay] "Thou art a Man God is no more. Thy own humanity learn to adore. For that is My spirit of life Awake, arise to spiritual strife."--William Blake

One day the mysterious event called by Jesus being "born again" will occur. There will be a serene displacement of the lower self by the higher one. It will come in the secrecy of the disciple's heart and it will come with an overwhelming power which the intellect, the ego, and the animal in him may resist, but resist in vain. He is brought to this experience by the Overself as soon as he is himself able to penetrate to the deeper regions of his heart.

Only when the disciple has given up all the earthly attractions and wishes, expectations and desires that previously sustained him, only when he has had the courage to pluck them out by the roots and throw them aside forever, only then does he find the mysterious unearthly compensation for all this terrible sacrifice. For he is anointed with the sacred oil of a new and higher life. Henceforth he is truly saved, redeemed, illumined. The lower self has died only to give birth to a divine successor.

He will know that this is the day of his spiritual rebirth, that struggle is to be replaced henceforth by serenity, that self-reproach is to yield to self-assurance, and that life in appearance is transformed into life in reality. At last he has emerged from confusion and floundering and bewilderment. At last he is able to experience the blessed satisfaction, the joyous serenity of an integrated attitude wholly based on the highest truth. The capacities which have been incubating slowly and explosively during all the years of his quest will erupt suddenly into consciousness at the same moment that the higher self takes possession of him. What was formerly an occasional glimpse will now become a permanent sight. The intermittent intuition of a guardian presence will now become the constantly established experience of it. The divine presence has now become to him an immediate and intimate one. Its reality and vitality are no longer matters for argument or dispute, but matters of settled experience.

When a man has reached this state of inward detachment, when he has withdrawn from passion and hate, prejudice and anger, all human experience--including his own--becomes for him a subject for meditation, a theme for analysis, and a dream bereft of reality. His reflection about other men's experiences is not less important than about his own. From this standpoint nothing that happens in the lives of those around him can be without interest, but everything will provide material for detached observation and thoughtful analysis.

He who has attained the state of desirelessness has liberated himself from the need to court, flatter, or deceive others, from the temptation to prostitute his powers at the behest of ambition or Mammon, from the compulsion to drag himself servilely after conventional public opinion. He neither inwardly desires nor outwardly requires any public attestation to the sincerity of his services or the integrity of his character. The quiet approval of his own conscience is enough.

Although he holds to the apex of all human points of view to which philosophy brings him, he keeps open the doors of his mind to all sincere writers, to all good people, and to all lower points of view. To him every day is a school day and every meeting with other persons a class lesson, since everyone has something to teach--even if it is only what not to do, how not to think or to behave.

When the ego willingly retires from all its worldly concerns or intellectual preoccupations to the sanctuary of the heart to be alone with the Overself, it becomes not only wiser but more powerful. At moments when the divine influx blissfully invades a man, it will not be out of his ordinary self that he will speak or act, but out of his higher self.

It is natural as well as inevitable that one who has entered into the larger life of the Overself should show forth some of its higher powers. Such an individual's thoughts are informed by a subtler force, invested with a diviner element, pointed by a sharper concentration, and sustained by a superior will than are those of the average person. They are in consequence exceedingly powerful, creative, and effective.

That which the sage bears in his heart is for all men alike. If few are willing to receive it, the fault does not lie with him. He rejects none, is prejudiced against none. It is the others who reject him, who are prejudiced against him.

-- Notebooks Category 25: World-Mind in Individual Mind > Chapter 2: Enlightenment Which Stays > # 296

The Notebooks are copyright © 1984-1989, The Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation.