Before you can undertake any real pursuit of enlightenment, you must first define enlightenment, and define the role enlightenment has within Taoism.
Enlightenment is the spiritual goal of Taoism. Achieving this state is also referred to as becoming a Complete, True or Real Human, with some variations in term meaning.
Overall the focus of Taoism, what makes Taoism what it is, is the desire to activate the full human potential. At different times in history and in different sects, this drive to get to the full human capacity has expressed itself in different ways. One of those ways, the dominant way in this age, is the state known as spiritual enlightenment.
Taoist Enlightenment is driven by a handful of simple initial assumptions about the universe.
Knowing the initial assumptions below is the first step in developing an intellectual definition of enlightenment.
1– All things are Tao. You are composed of the Tao as all other things are composed of the Tao.
2– ENLIGHTENMENT IS THE NATURAL STATE OF A HUMAN. It is how all humans are meant to be.
3– You live with a representation of reality in your head known as Social Mind.
4– The True Reality, outside of the picture in your head we are calling Social Mind, is the Tao or the TAO MIND (with big letters to indicate that it is the True Reality).
5– On the enlightenment pathway, you are pursuing a more accurate picture in your head, one that better reflects reality, known as tao mind (with little letters to show that it is the representation).
6–The process of becoming enlightened is the process of having the Social Mind encounter the TAO MIND. With this encounter, the structure of the Social Mind is gradually changed so that it better reflects TAO MIND. This is part of the journey to become the tao mind (enlightened). Repeated cycles of exposure are necessary as each causes a portion of the social mind to change into the tao mind. These exposures to the TAO MIND are what we experience as insights–those tremendous “ahaa” flashes that can be so potent that they transform belief and cause new action. Not all exposures to the TAO MIND will be significant or cause change.
7– Enlightenment is a human label to describe how far a person has passed along on the journey from Social Mind to tao mind. The placement of this label is arbitrary and varies by the sect of Taoism. The label of enlightenment is generally an outsider’s term, something that is used by those not very far along in the enlightenment process to describe a goal that is foreign to them. It is much like a child saying, “I want to become a scientist or I want to become an artist.”
8– The 4 Ascendant Sphere Tradition places this label at the point when an individual learns primarily from the Tao, and not from the human method (Taoism). He or she has become a True Human, an infant, but still True. There is an absolute difference between someone failing to seek proper instruction or avoiding instruction and exceeding human method. Don’t confuse the two. One is folly, with a goal of personal destruction. The other is a state of constant growth and mastery of both the managements and of practice.
Enlightenment is Attainable and a Natural State when you have the Right information.
The 4 Ascendant Sphere Tradition is designed to educate you with this information and direct you in the correct manner of using it.
Master Mikel Steenrod
Keeper of the Gate of Man and Heaven