Your brain is a great separator. It separates stuff into categories. It separates good from bad. It separates likes from dislikes and desires from repulsions. We need it to survive. We need the thinking mechanism of the brain tool to keep us well and safe and fulfilled. It is not however a good tool for waking up, enlightenment, satori, salvation, being born again or any other way of describing the experience of heaven on earth or nirvana. You can't discover ultimate truth with a conditioned brain.
From the contemplative point of view, being lost in thoughts of any kind, pleasant or unpleasant, is analogous to being asleep and dreaming. It’s a mode of not knowing what is actually happening in the present moment. It is essentially a form of psychosis. Thoughts themselves are not a problem, but being identified with thought is. Taking oneself to be the thinker of one’s thoughts—that is, not recognizing the present thought to be a transitory appearance in consciousness—is a delusion that produces nearly every species of human conflict and unhappiness. It doesn’t matter if your mind is wandering over current problems in set theory or cancer research; if you are thinking without knowing you are thinking, you are confused about who and what you are. “Waking Up” Sam Harris
To be awake is to be free of the dream. To be enlightened is to live as a transparent form emanating the eternal light from within. To be conscious is to be aware of the awareness you are. To be free is to no longer identify with ego and discover your true self. We use words like transcendence and transmutation and transfiguration to describe in concepts what is the emerging of the formless within the illusory world of form. We let go of our identity with form, ego, body, mind and the person. We wake up to see the form, body, mind and person as manifestations of our true self. Jesus described this awakening of consciousness as being born again. Isn't that description appropriate for waking up, being enlightened, becoming conscious and finding freedom? We are born again of water (entry into the physical realm) and spirit (awakening to the true self). Jesus described awakening as salvation. The word he used in its various forms was "sozo." This word means "to make whole."
When we think of the Thanksgiving holiday maybe we think of turkey and dressing and pies and pilgrims. Maybe we think of historical traditions and sharing meals with Native Americans on a cold day when food was scarce. Maybe our minds have those mindful thoughts, but deeper down we have a connection to the formless that bubbles up into our form. The structure of life is a manifestation of eternal life. The formless takes form so the formless can know the formless through form. Take our families as an example. The "warm feelings" of "graciousness" and "thanksgiving" are really the formless manifesting as form as a result of how the "world works" for the human form. We have parents and siblings and extended families. The warm feelings of the season are really something that we sense from beyond form. We have "blood connections" to our families. This may seem like a physical, scientific fact of human procreation but on a deeper level it is a sharing of like energies that take the form of procreation.
Life reveals contrast. Life brings us conflict. Life can be a struggle that we resist or an eternal life we live. We can flow with the river or be a rock eroded over time. Life is like our body when it is trying fight a virus, there is an internal struggle, a war really, that is taking place to bring harmony back to the body. The way of life is as it is so that consciousness can experience perceived separateness to know oneness. When we are presented with opportunities to flow with life we get to choose which path we will take. The path of resistance is struggle but eventually leads to surrender. Life can be a fire that burns away what is temporal, revealing what is eternal. The path of eternal life is living as a human form in harmony with life to enjoy the miracle of life. As eternal consciousness, we manifested as form to experience the formless.