What is Enlightenment?
Question from a reader:
Well obviously, as you pointed out, what enlightenment is really depends on who you ask. And I dare say that people in various stages of enlightenment may all give you a different answer, because they, themselves, are still experiencing what enlightenment is.
“What is enlightenment? How does achieving it changes your perception, energy, psychology and what is its exact mechanism? Basically talking about awakening/ascension/buddha’s enlightenment. I know it has to do with transcending ego consciousness, but some believe that just exploring realms out of body is ‘awakening’ – but i don’t believe that. In my case, I feel I know more that those who are capable of astral projection. But yet I feel neither I am enlightened, nor those who can travel out of the body. What is the absolute enlightenment if there is such a thing?”
My definition of enlightenment is that it is not a thing, or a state that we reach, but rather the process itself. It is the journey, not the destination.
You can reach a temporary enlightened state where you are completely in the present moment and glimpse the totality of what is, but we cannot permanently maintain such a state in our day-to-day lives.
What is its exact mechanism? I would say experience is the exact mechanism. Regardless of whether or not we are self-aware and reflective of ourselves in the spiritual sense, we will always learn from our experiences and know ourselves in relation to them, at least a little bit.
How does achieving enlightenment change our perceptions, energy, and psychology?
I think it changes our perceptions and beliefs and actions for the better. It allows us to see things not just from a positive or negative perspective, but a neutral one. It helps us become more aware of our personal power. As we shed old, narrow perspectives for more broad and encompassing ones, we will naturally begin to shed old limited beliefs. As we peel away the layers of those beliefs and biases, we will also naturally shed vibratory “weight” so to speak – the denseness of fear energy is no longer dragging you down, so you are, in effect “raising” your vibration (but actually, you’re returning to the original frequency from which you came, are, and always have been).
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi
As the quote above suggests, it’s not really about growing. It’s about stripping away all the things that you accepted as truth when you didn’t know who you were.
Unconditional love in every present moment is the absolute truth in my perspective– anything that is not based in unconditional love is a distortion of truth. Releasing the untruths built by fear leaves more room for your original light to shine, until you find that love is all that’s left.
Psychologically, it can create more inner-peace through greater understanding, healing through higher perspective, and embodying more of that universal love energy. You’ll have a better understanding of other people and why they are the way they are and your own intuition will naturally grow.
I believe it also requires us to take action in the world around us to ensure that all beings have access to the resources necessary for them to also pursue enlightenment. It’s a fallacy to believe that spirituality and the pursuit of enlightenment is an equal opportunity. Our access to resources and our ability to have our needs met directly affect our ability to experience “being in the present moment.”
A lot of people mistakenly believe that being enlightened means that you will never ever be sad again. I think the more enlightened you become, the less you experience negative emotions, but the more sensitive you are to them. That doesn’t mean you’re immune to them. You just have a greater emotional capacity to sit with your experiences and yourself better than your more reactive counterparts.
While developing psychic abilities and having out-of-body experiences can be naturally occur during the enlightenment process because you are expanding your awareness, they are not individually indicative that a person is enlightened, or at any level “higher” than anyone else. Those things occur naturally, even for the “unenlightened.” As I have mentioned before, my psychic development teacher used to say, “Just because someone is psychic, it doesn’t mean they are spiritual.”
Thanks for being here,
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Great article! I am noticing as I walk on my own path toward enlightenment, I have encountered both pain and joy as I examine truths about myself and others. I now have answers (well…some answers) and reasons for why I have reacted to certain things as a child up until now.