Koan 23

“Enlightenment is like everyday consciousness, but two inches above the ground.” — D.T. Suzuki


Enlightenment is proverbially described as “being one with everything;” a state generally associated with the dissolution of the illusory self, resulting in transcending duality and the realization of our connectedness with the everything (the now and the space before and after the now).

Describing enlightenment as being two inches above the ground seems the antithesis of enlightenment, as it implies separation/duality. Yet, it also implies enlightenment is a state that is lighter than air, unaffected by fundamental rules of gravity (everyday reality), allowing us to rise above the material world.

In the context of meditation, Suzuki’s metaphor is like the space between breaths; when we are not engaged in the ever-changing now (breathing) and can observe the entire universe as it is.