I now turn to a *subjective* consideration that belongs here; yet I can give even less distinctness to it than to the objective consideration just discussed, for I shall be able to express it only by image and simile. Why is our consciousness brighter and more distinct the farther it reaches outwards, so that its greatest clearness lies in sense perception, which already half belongs to things outside us; and, on the other hand, becomes more obscure as we go inwards, and leads, when followed to its innermost recesses, into a darkness in which all knowledge ceases? Because, I say, consciousness presupposes *individuality*; but this belongs to the mere phenomenon, since, as the plurality of the homogeneous, it is conditioned by the forms of the phenomenon, time and space. On the other hand, our inner nature has its root in what is no longer phenomenon but thing-in-itself, to which therefore the forms of the phenomenon do not reach; and in this way, the chief conditions of individuality are wanting, and distinct consciousness ceases therewith. In this root-point of existence the difference of beings ceases, just as that of the radii of a sphere ceases at the centre. As in the sphere the surface is produced by the radii ending and breaking off, so consciousness is possible only where the true inner being runs out into the phenomenon. Through the forms of the phenomenon separate individuality becomes possible, and on this individuality rests consciousness, which is on this account confined to phenomena. Therefore everything distinct and really intelligible in our consciousness always lies only outwards on this surface on the sphere. But as soon as we withdraw entirely from this, consciousness forsakes us―in sleep, in death, and to a certain extent also in magnetic or magic activity; for all these lead through the centre. But just because distinct consciousness, as being conditioned by the surface of the sphere, is not directed towards the centre, it recognizes other individuals certainly as of the same kind, but not as identical, which, however, they are in themselves. Immortality of the individual could be compared to the flying off at a tangent of a point on the surface; but immortality, by virtue of the eternity of the true inner being of the whole phenomenon, is comparable to the return of that point on the radius to the centre, whose mere extension is the surface. The will as thing-in-itself is entire and undivided in every being, just as the centre is an integral part of every radius; whereas the peripheral end of this radius is in the most rapid revolution with the surface that represents time and its content, the other end at the centre where eternity lies, remains in profoundest peace, because the centre is the point whose rising half is no different from the sinking half. Therefore, it is said also in the *Bhagavad-Gita*: *Haud distributum animantibus, et quasi distributum tamen insidens, animantiumque sustentaculum id cognoscendum, edax et rursus genitale* (xiii, 16, trans. Schlegel) [Undivided it dwells in beings, and yet as it were divided; it is to be known as the sustainer, annihilator, and producer of beings]. Here, of course, we fall into mystical and metaphorical language, but it is the only language in which anything can be said about this wholly transcendent theme.―from_The World as Will and Representation_. Translated from the German by E. F. J. Payne. In Two Volumes, Volume II, pp. 325-326

~ Arthur Schopenhauer

These are the three stages of enlightenment, the three glimpses of satori. 1. The first stage enlightenment:A Glimpse of the WholeThe first stage of enlightenment is short glimpse from faraway of the whole. It is a short glimpse of being. The first stage of enlightenment is when, for the first time, for a single moment the mind is not functioning. The ordinary ego is still present at the first stage of enlightenment, but you experience for a short while that there is something beyond the ego. There is a gap, a silence and emptiness, where there is not thought between you and existence. You and existence meet and merge for a moment. And for the first time the seed, the thirst and longing, for enlightenment, the meeting between you and existence, will grow in your heart. 2. The second stage of enlightenment:Silence, Relaxation, Togetherness, Inner BeingThe second stage of enlightenment is a new order, a harmony, from within, which comes from the inner being. It is the quality of freedom.The inner chaos has disappeared and a new silence, relaxation and togetherness has arisen.Your own wisdom from within has arisen.A subtle ego is still present in the second stage of enlightenment. The Hindus has three names for the ego:1. Ahamkar, which is the ordinary ego.2. Asmita, which is the quality of Am-ness, of no ego. It is a very silent ego, not aggreessive, but it is still a subtle ego.3. Atma, the third word is Atma, when the Am-ness is also lost. This is what Buddha callas no-self, pure being.In the second stage of enlightenment you become capable of being in the inner being, in the gap, in the meditative quality within, in the silence and emptiness.For hours, for days, you can remain in the gap, in utter aloneness, in God. Still you need effort to remain in the gap, and if you drop the effort, the gap will disappear. Love, meditation and prayer becomes the way to increase the effort in the search for God. Then the second stage becomes a more conscious effort. Now you know the way, you now the direction. 3. The third stage of enlightenment: Ocean, Wholeness, No-self, Pure beingAt the third stage of enlightenment, at the third step of Satori, our individual river flowing silently, suddenly reaches to the Ocean and becomes one with the Ocean.At the third Satori, the ego is lost, and there is Atma, pure being. You are, but without any boundaries. The river has become the Ocean, the Whole.It has become a vast emptiness, just like the pure sky. The third stage of enlightenment happens when you have become capable of finding the inner being, the meditative quality within, the gap, the inner silence and emptiness, so that it becomes a natural quality. You can find the gap whenever you want.This is what tantra callas Mahamudra, the great orgasm, what Buddha calls Nirvana, what Lao Tzu calls Tao and what Jesus calls the kingdom of God.You have found the door to God. You have come home.

~ Swami Dhyan Giten

It was almost a mystical experience. I do not know how else to put it. My mind outran time as he neared, and it was as though I had an eternity to ponder the approach of this man who was my brother. His garments were filthy, his face blackened, the stump of his right arm raised, gesturing anywhere. The great beast that he rode was striped, black and red, with a wild red mane and tail. But it really was a horse, and its eyes rolled and there was foam at its mouth and its breathing was painful to hear. I saw then that he wore his blade slung across his back, for its haft protruded high above his right shoulder. Still slowing, eyes fixed upon me, he departed the road, bearing slightly toward my left, jerked the reins once and released them, keeping control of the horse with his knees. His left hand went up in a salute-like movement that passed above his head and seized the hilt of his weapon. It came free without a sound, describing a beautiful arc above him and coming to rest in a lethal position out from his left shoulder and slanting back, like a single wing of dull steel with a minuscule line of edge that gleamed like a filament of mirror. The picture he presented was burned into my mind with a kind of magnificence, a certain splendor that was strangely moving. The blade was a long, scythe like affair that I had seen him use before. Only then we had stood as allies against a mutual foe I had begun to believe unbeatable. Benedict had proved otherwise that night. Now that I saw it raised against me I was overwhelmed with a sense of my own mortality, which I had never experienced before in this fashion. It was as though a layer had been stripped from the world and I had a sudden, full understanding of death itself.

~ Roger Zelazny