If You Want to be Enlightened You Should Look Up Right Now!

Three-quarters of all enlightenment experiences occurred after glances upward at the sky (not actual statistic!) It happened to the Buddha, the sky waiting patiently while he struggled under the bodhi tree, needlessly attached to the earth and its seasonal visions of suffering and death. Ego, please be gone, but first, let me check the alignment of the stars, and….bam! This is due to the different regions of the brain, James H. Austin tells us, and is a physiological phenomenon associated with the brain’s capacity to visualize more effectively while the eyes are looking upward. Looking down, on the other hand, underwrites the trenchant penchant for singular focus and language. Van Gogh knew this, too, when he painted the sky as alive (but his story ended with a different kind of ego death), and so did Sri Ramakrishna, who looked up and saw white geese angling across a background of black clouds, and he melted, faster perhaps, than do the substances of this world.

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