As Byron Katie says, we are either enlightened to a thought ot not. And we never know in advance.
When I am not enlightened to a thought, I take it as true and act as if it is true.
When I am enlightened to a thought, I see it as a story with limited truth, I recognize the truth in its reversals, I see it as a tool of temporary and practical use only, and I recognize that it doesn’t even begin to touch what is really going on – whether in a conventional sense (the world is always more than and different from any story) or in the context of what I am and everything is (the play of Ground, God).
And I never know in advance if I am going to be enlightened to a thought or not. I may have been in the past, but not now. I may be now, but not in the future.
That is OK, and more than OK. Whenever I notice the signs of taking a story as true, I can take it as a reminder for inquiry, for finding what is more true for me than the initial belief.
And this goes whether I am “generally enlightened” or not. My center of gravity may be as a separate I, a doer or observer. My center of gravity may be in what I am, that which all experience happens within and as. And in either case, I may be enlightened or not to any particular thought that comes up.
(A quick look at spiritual teachers show this. Most of them show signs of being caught up in beliefs now and then, and acting on them as if they are true. And here I only see myself, of course.)
What are the signs of taking a story as true? For me, it is tension, a sense of separation, unease, discomfort, a sense of having to protect a certain view or identity, reactivity, not acknowledging the equal truth in reversals of stories, when I notice beliefs and fears preventing me from acting on what is more kind and true to me, and another pointer is when others see my actions as anything else than mature and kind in the most ordinary sense.
- enlightened to a thought
- if not, take it as true, act as if is true
- if are, then see it as a story, tool, limited truth, truth in reversals, doesn’t even touch what is really going on (in conventional sense + in context of what we are and everything is)
- and never know in advance
- can be generally enlightened or not, but still caught up in some stories, still snagged by them, no difference there