We are already Enlightened
Being Awakened or Enlightened has nothing to do with paradise and being in a constant state of euphoria, bliss with spiritual power.
The central teaching of Zen is that we are all intrinsically awake that is, we can experience genuine reality at it is and not as the mind-made fictional one.
This is the opposite of being a daydreamer. I said we can experience, but, unfortunately, we don’t.
Awakening is the practice of having an open mind not a programmed one full of opinion and judgment that we download mostly under the control of our ego.
Experiencing genuine reality implies practicing mindful awareness and acceptance such as:
Being aware that everything is transient.
We do not control too much of our life.
We are all interconnected, and not indispensable.
Living in the moment since it is only in the Now that we are alive, only the present moment
Things, events, and people are what they are and not what we them to be.
Thoughts and feelings are the products of our minds but they are not you.
Practicing acceptance rather than resistance about self, others, events, and life in general.
Realizing that suffering is ego-driven from desire, hatred, and illusion.
Being conscious that happiness and serenity come from inside and not from outside.
Therefore, practicing with a constant awareness of these 9 realities will open the door to serenity
and, with serenity, Awakening will pop up to the surface.
Without serenity, Awakening requires learning how to control and clean our wandering mind from
its thoughts and feelings listed above and causing suffering.
If our mind’s nature were not already free that is enlightened, that would imply we could become enlightened only after hard work to acquire it, which is not so.
Here is a metaphor to help:
Consider a room that I call “awakened mind or Our True Nature”.
By definition, this room is naturally spacious.
However, during our life, we fill up that space with all kinds of furniture that I will call desires, hatred, delusions, thoughts, and feelings. Some are necessary but how many of them?
So: although we fill up the room with our desires, aversions, and delusions, our true nature that is the intrinsic spaciousness of the room is not affected by them because always there.
We are inherently free
Therefore, in the Zen tradition, the practice of mindfulness meditation is not about producing enlightenment because, like the room, it is already there.
Then, you may wonder: “Then, what am I doing here, practic¬ing?”
Because our meditation practice is helping us controlling our mind-made fictional world and cleaning up the “furniture” in the “room.”
By practicing non-not attachment to your desire, hatred, thoughts, and delusions, the room is clearing itself, so to speak. The room is not cluttered anymore but spacious like an “Awakened mind”
We are the materialization of something I.e. Universal Consciousness?, God,.....
Such materialization is designed to allow us to experience genuine Reality and Awakening created by such "Something".