Does Self-Help Ultimately Lead to Enlightenment?

By Warren Archer | Uncategorized

Dec 12

I am often asked whether self-help leads to enlightenment. Because I write books and offer coaching in self-help as well as the Instant Enlightenment (IE) technique, these activities often feed the assumption that one necessarily leads to the other.

What I’m saying here, in my books, videos, and in my posts on this website offers a potentially useful perspective but it is not the truth! Not in the way “truth” is defined by the IE technique:

  1. Truth has no opposite.
  2. Truth is not relative to a person, place, or time.
  3. Truth has no degrees.

Using this definition of truth, finding truth with thoughts is futile.

After the Instant Enlightenment technique came to me, I began dropping beliefs, and along with them the pursuit of Truth with a capital T. Now I see thoughts that are useful in the moment and thoughts that are not.

Therefore this short article is not claiming some truth: self-help does not lead to enlightenment OR self-help does lead to enlightenment.

Instead, it suggests which of these statements I have found useful and, perhaps, you might as well.

Enlightenment happens to no one.

Enlightenment is not about improving the personality or becoming better. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the personality.

Enlightenment is clarity in the moment. Openness. Reality without belief in any stories.

No one becomes enlightened.

Self-help has to do with the personality. With improving. With becoming.

Though enlightenment is not self-help, pursuing self-help does not conflict in any way with the practice of the IE technique.

Conflict and confusion arise when enlightenment is perceived as self-help (typically enlightenment is thought of as the ultimate in self-help). The confusion arises when comparing your behavior, actions, health, what have you—all the things that are improvements of the individual and are attributes of self-help—to what is imagined to be the behavior, actions, health, and so on, of a person who is enlightened.

Invariably this comparison will lead to disappointment because the conclusion is that since the behavior and actions don’t match what is imagined to be that of an enlightened person, you are not enlightened yet. And so the seeking continues.

As long as there is seeking there is no openness to the moment. There’s a latching on to an imaginary future and enlightenment is obscured.

Self-help can be beautiful and very useful. There can be progress in the individual on many levels, and while some people think that this clarity affects the personality to some degree, I don’t find that perspective useful because of the danger of linking one to the other.

Think of it another way. Enlightenment doesn’t take time, therefore there is no path. Self-help takes time and involves a path that doesn’t conclude until the body is dropped.

Enlightenment isn’t a conclusion either.

The pathless enlightenment of the IE technique need not contradict the personal pursuit of betterment and a path, as long as that pursuit doesn’t include enlightenment.

Self-help doesn’t lead to enlightenment, since enlightenment is not an event or an experience. Something bound by time—the individual, cannot become something that is not bound by time. The impermanent cannot make the permanent its subset.

While self-help improves the self and doesn’t lead to enlightenment, it can clear the mud and make it far less challenging to apply the IE technique. This is because when attachment to psychological thought has been neutralized for the most part (when we’ve used self-help to drop our heavy-duty emotional baggage) there’s less attachment to thought in general, and so much of the first stages of applying the IE technique on psychological thoughts has already been completed.

Though self-help can prepare the grounds that make the practice of the IE technique that much easier, it should not be considered a prerequisite for the IE technique, nor should it be associated with the success of the IE technique.

The IE technique always works. There’s no path for the technique itself.

Practicing the IE technique regularly and earnestly leads to the point where the technique arises automatically with thoughts. But this doesn’t make enlightenment a path.

Does the practice of the IE technique lead to an improvement in the personality?

It seems to, with some lag. And this can again create the misperception that the practice leads to self-improvement or that it entails self-improvement. If self-improvement arises, it does so as a by-product of the practice.

Enlightenment and the practice are not the same.

One is a gateway in the moment to the other.

For a more in-depth understanding of this article, I Think, Therefore I Lie: An Introduction to the IE Technique covers all these topics and more. It is available on all digital platforms as well as in paperback. If you have read the book and you still have questions, feel free to contact me with your questions.

About the Author

Warren Archer is the founder of the Instant Enlightenment technique and the author of "I Think, Therefore I Lie." He is a certified strategic intervention coach helping people find enlightened success in their relationships and their goals and purpose.

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