Politics Magazine

On Enlightenment and Dog Shit – Dialectic Two Step

By Andrew Furst @a_furst


Why would an enlightened being avoid stepping on dog shit? Once awakened, wouldn’t a person remain frozen in the spot until they piss themselves to death? On achieving enlightenment, shouldn’t every bodily impulse to do anything be replaced with mindful observation without physical reaction?


Because stepping in dog shit causes you to smell the nasty smell of dog shit for the rest of the day.

Everyone is awake. Life is action. Any formulation of enlightenment that fails to account for the way things are – eating, sleeping, shitting, pissing, walking, not-walking, working, being rich, being poor, acting, not acting, self-interest, altruism, being dumb, being smart, and so on – is a fantasy and a path to suffering.

Any condition that leads someone to stand frozen until they piss themselves is not enlightenment – it is a severe medical condition that should be treated.

Any condition that suppresses a natural response to the world is not enlightenment. It is aversion – a cause of suffering.

Enlightenment is naturalness, thus-ness, radical acceptance, union with the world. In simpler terms – it’s getting the hell out of your own way.

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Wisdom lies neither in fixity nor in change, but in the dialectic between the two. - Octavio

On Enlightenment and Dog Shit – Dialectic Two StepDialectic Two Step, Modern Koans, Verse Us, Say What?, and Minute Meditations all copyright Andrew Furst

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