«Enlightenment is nothing you become - it’s something you practice» (@mostadjon)
I would wish I had a simple understanding of what it would say to be "enlightened". I have read many books on the subject and received many explanations. I have studied both religious, esoteric and scientific explanations and perhaps I have become wiser? I actually do not know. Therefore, let me try to reflect on the topic, regardless of other people's explanations, but preferably supported by them.
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Why am I writing about the topic?
I myself have formed the question, but I still allow myself to say that it is a good question (not bad?). Why care about a topic that may not occupy so many? I'll try to answer. On my way into the labyrinth of mysteries and phenomena of the spiritual world, I have visited many faiths, outstanding books, and sacred places. The notions that there is an insight that is greater than what man usually refers to, fascinate me. What can this notion be about? How can I gain access to such a kind of insight myself? Where is the path I must follow to arrive at a knowledge greater than the one I have access to? Such questions have been and are, driving forces in my quest.
Through my own development process, I realized that life is both mythical, coded and complicated. I was about halfway in my own life, when I had to settle for a self-righteous and material way of life. The change came because I was thrown into a physical and mental crisis that I can understand today from a spiritual existential perspective. By going to the heart of what life is about - namely, "breathing," that is, breathing as a spiritual realization, I gradually learned to recognize life from more dimensions than material. I can write my own text about this particular change and what I perceive as the reasons. However, this text is not a proper framework for such a recognition, but I use the situation as a starting point for my thoughts.
Throughout my life I have been attracted to the beauty of life, in a dimension that holds the material and therefor is more extended. That is, I have been searching for an understanding of life as a phenomenon, beyond what I can recognize with my physical senses. I have always thought - there must be something more. It is only in adulthood that I can put my life into perspective in this way and write about it. The insight came with the critical challenge. Today I can say for my own part that I, as a soul, have lived many lives and will live many more lives yet. The spirituality of the East that "everyone dies but no one is dead" is far from being a consolation for me; the words are deep insights and make great sense. Knowing that it is the body I am going to replace, and not life in itself, gives me a completely different starting point for living as I do today. In the outside, my life may not be very different from what it has been, but the performances and experiences are deeply different. The words of the Dalai Lama "get a bigger life", understood as "investing in the afterlife and the life that comes after," is a conception I follow. Therefore, I read and write, not to teach anyone, but to "get me" this greater life as the Dalai Lama points to.
"1001 Ways To Enlightenment"
On a study in California in 2008, I stayed a few weeks in the town of San Anselmo, some north of San Francisco. I participated in a program in communication in energies, at the Institute of Noetic Sciences in Petaluma. San Anselmo is a small town, very charming looking and full of exciting little book cafes and alternative therapists. On a visit to one of these picturesque shops I found the book "1001 Ways To Enlightenment". The book came home with me and from time to time I read it and reflect upon its quotes and sayings.
"We all seek enlightenment of one kind or another, whether to free ourselves from negative emotions or to find a meaning meaning in life," says the book in its afterword. Here is a hint that points to my understanding of the theme. Let's look closer.
You will find many books and articles on the subject and concept. Much of what is written and explained agrees well with my own experience. I can see that we have rich religious traditions to convey and explain "enlightenment" and the theme is further elucidated in mythical, esoteric and in theosophical literature. This text is not the frame where I give an explanation of their messages. However, I want to start somewhere else.
In the book that followed me from San Anselmo, I can read "Enlightenment is the harvest time of mind". Simple and beautiful. Is it so that all people can achieve "enlightenment" and that it is about the maturation of the mind? I don't know, but maybe I can decide the question for my own part and you for yours? Many people stand out with well-formulated messages based on religious and spiritual traditions. The development of social media means that virtually everyone can create their own platform for communication and teaching, as I do. Much that is conveyed carries great wisdom and humility. I also meet beliefs and teachings that do not hit me so well. Absolutely crucial to me is the energy that carries the message. If the teachings of others are purged of fixation on themselves and their excellence, deceit, and the need to make money, the message may feel erroneous to me. Much insight and wisdom never reaches wisdom because the driving force belongs to the ego and not to the soul of the communicator. The one who communicates from the soul conveys from the energy of humility. My body knows when.
«The sleeping secret of enlightenment lies within you, if only you can awaken it» (1001 Ways To Enlightenment).
Now I have two tracks I can follow. Enlightenment is perhaps about maturation, since it is linked to "harvest time of mind"? For something to be harvested, it must be sown and grown large. This fits well with the common sense of maturation that is often a phase late in life. In a previous text I have written about intuition as the highest (most abstract) form of human consciousness and reflected on how it builds on a 3D (physical) and a 4D (mental) notion of reality, which is released in a 5D (causal and therefore, intuitive) consciousness as the most abstract. Perhaps I can therefore say that enlightenment can follow maturity? For my part, maturation need not be linked to physical age. I experience mature people at a young age and the opposite. For me, maturation is linked to the maturation of the soul and thus to the number of experiences through reincarnations. Secondly, enlightenment is about "if only you can awaken it"? Enlightenment is something that is in us, to be sought and redeemed. Such a performance fits well with my own realization in life. Man is a soul in a physical experience, bearing on a purpose where the challenge is to understand and implement the purpose. But, how do I release awakening in my own life? You will find texts in my blog where I write about it. Your time for awakening comes to you if you listen to the signals of your body.
«The enlightened soul is fully awake to reality, in all its beauty and complexity, yet untouched by it» (ibid).
The enlightened practice
Through studies and academic work, I have been raised in the scientific virtue of "falsification". That is, all of our scientific discoveries are attempted to fail through a critical process. Science sees this as the only true way to exact knowledge. When a scientific assumption is no longer rejected, it is true recognition. Therefore, listening to old professors can be so good. The more they know, the more careful they are with their knowledge. The greatest professor is for me, the one who questions his own knowledge. Then I experience listening to great wisdom. Therefore, I am skeptical of many spiritual teachers' interpretations and ordinances of the path to enlightenment. If the teaching comes from the "head", that is, from a place of assertion, I become skeptical. If I know that the message comes as a guide from the "heart", that is, from a place of wonder, I am attracted. This is the way I experience the spiritual teaching and guidance in the theme of "enlightenment", it must come from humility and not from control.
I imagine that enlightenment comes to the one who has dissolved his ego, is humble in his own attitudes, listens globally to the other, and asks open questions both at his own point of view and the other's. Therefore, enlightenment for me becomes more a matter of the practice you seek, than the knowledge you have acquired.
That is why I read in my little book: "Enlightenment is not something we achieve, but something we can catch a glimpse of every day, until the time comes when we see the truth for more than just a moment".