The Five Stages of Enlightenment… by Bill Harris (May 19th, 2008), continued
Ken Wilber has said that enlightenment is an accident, but meditation (and other spiritual practices) make you more accident prone – one of his better bon mots.
So, if you really doubt everything, which probably only happens if you fully surrender and submit – though, as I said, it is possible though more difficult to do it by submitting to an ideal rather than another person–you can step into the abyss (in other words, drop everything you always thought was you), or at least what seems like the abyss. (More accurately, you might say that if surrender and submission happens, stepping off that hundred-foot pole might happen, too.) The irony is that what seemed like a potential disaster – having nothing to hang onto, having not even a single molecule to stand on–turns out to be the doorway to the infinite.
If this happens, you are in the third of the Five Ranks. You are established in the transcendent, not as a place to visit, but as a place to live. This third stage is what is generally thought of as enlightenment–taking up permanent residence in the transcendent. In this place you aren’t just “one with everything,” you ARE everything, and everything is you. (In fact, you always were everything. It’s just that now you’ve realized it, not intellectually, but experientially.)