All Posts by Warren Archer

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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Dec 12

What is Enlightenment?

By Warren Archer | Uncategorized

I’m not offering truth here. Teaching truth is not my gig.

I’m offering something potentially useful. That is my gig; that’s my purpose.

Enlightenment is just a word. You get to assign your own definition. There are many definitions out there, none are true. The word is never the thing it attempts to describe.

This is especially the case with abstract words such as God, love, and enlightenment. These abstract words are known as “reifications” and have been a pain-point for many a conflict over the years.

A reification is an attempt to make something abstract into something concrete. Most people can agree on what a spoon is, but there is much disagreement on the definition of love or enlightenment. This disagreement stems from the false assumption that there must be a definition for terms such as these that is true for everyone, and that it is ignorance that keeps people from understanding this one definition.

Because there are so many definitions and because ultimately, nobody can describe what enlightenment is, the definition of enlightenment offered by most teachers is intentionally vague and confusing.

So with all these definitions, spiritual teachers have adopted new words such as awakening or liberation.

However, ask them to define these new words and you’ll probably end up getting more of the same vague, contradictory, and confusing descriptions. Again, they don’t want to limit the unlimited.

The problem is that this approach causes continued confusion and frustration.

To make matters worse, there is even more confusion surrounding the idea of a path to enlightenment.

Some say there is no path, and that’s great, but without a pathless-path technique, that kind of teaching can lead to giving up before you even start!

Others say the path to enlightenment takes years. Decades. Even lifetimes.

I imagine gurus in caves renouncing everything.

I have defined enlightenment for purposes of the Instant Enlightenment (IE) technique. I’ve been told this is not the correct definition of enlightenment, but again, that assumes that there is a correct definition—and that’s a perspective that I don’t find useful.

A definition is given by an individual.

Can an individual be enlightened?

Many seem to believe this is so. I don’t.

Here’s why:

The IE definition of enlightenment is not something that happens TO someone.

It is an awareness of what is. A clarity in the moment. The seeing of what is without believing any stories.

I’m not surprised that some people reject the IE definition of enlightenment. It’s not very colorful. It’s actually quite simple and boring. Worse still, it has nothing to do with the individual. Enlightenment isn’t self-improvement where you become a better person (whatever that means).

So there’s a difference in the way I see things between enlightenment and someone being or becoming enlightened. Who is this person that is becoming enlightened? The person is a story of a body and thoughts and thought memories that arise in the present, but that claim a past and a future. All these attributes are transitory, whereas enlightenment, according to the IE technique, is not.

Enlightenment has nothing to do with the transitory individual. Enlightenment is the clarity in the moment, but that clarity doesn’t happen to anyone. It simply is.

I’m not saying that the IE definition is true. I don’t find the pursuit of truth with thought of any value. It isn’t helpful or useful.

That said, I do find the IE definition useful. And what’s useful to me may not be useful to you. Also what’s useful to me now may not be useful to me at some other moment. Again, the emphasis is on what is useful, and I don’t waste energy on what is true.

Here’s why I find the IE definition of enlightenment useful:

By seeing enlightenment not as some permanent state that can be attained, but rather a clarity that arises and happens to no one, seeking becomes futile. Seeking is dropped (the seeking of truth, the seeking of enlightenment, obviously I’m not talking about the seeking of a parking spot). What is the value of dropping seeking? Seeking perpetuates more seeking, because the seeker will always believe there is more than what is.

Seeking believes in a story of an imaginary future that could be better. One day, I’ll be enlightened, or more enlightened, or I’ll attain this state of enlightenment.

When seeking stops, you are left with what is.

While enlightenment has nothing to do with the individual or with self-improvement, it can affect the individual in that a huge load is lifted because the compulsion to long for something better than the present is gone.

Dec 12

Does Self-Help Ultimately Lead to Enlightenment?

By Warren Archer | Uncategorized

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.