Though my days of spending every summer weekend sailing are fading from view (excuse me a moment while I revel in the memories) I am still and always will be a sailor at heart. I’ve never understood the joy of a motor-boat, which is not to say that they are not fun, just that they do not appeal to my constitution. When on the water I have no desire to get anywhere quickly, let alone have a destination in mind. The simple act of being on the water and moving (or not as the case may be) with the wind is what it’s all about. I’m already exactly where I want to be.
I thought about this when Sri Dharma Mittra spoke of Enlightenment at the Asia Yoga Conference. The most profound thing he said on the subject was this: the body, mind, and senses become enlightened through our practice, but the Self does not need to be enlightened. The Self is already there. He explained further that the Self is already enlightened because the Self is actually the non-Self, meaning that our true Self is not separate from, but rather a part of, the Divine. The Self is in everything and everyone and so by knowing the non-Self, one has ultimate self-knowledge.
So we can approach our practice either as sailors or motor-boaters. We can see Enlightenment as a place we need to arrive at by zipping as quickly as possible from here to there or we can see it as the means by which we realize that we are already there. The practice transforms the act of simply sitting on a boat, moving or not, as it were, to one of harmonious collusion with Nature.