If you’re lucky and the gods are gracious or if you are gifted with divine grace (use any theological expression you want), you might suddenly understand who “I” is, and you’ll never be the same again, never. Nothing will ever be able to touch you again and no one will ever be able to hurt you again. You will fear no one and you will fear nothing. Isn’t that extraordinary? You’ll live like a king, like a queen. This is what it means to live like royalty. Not rubbish like getting your picture in the newspapers or having a lot of money. That’s a lot of rot. You fear no one because you’re perfectly content to be nobody. You don’t give a damn about success or failure. They mean nothing. Honor, disgrace, they mean nothing either. Isn’t that a wonderful state to be in! – Anthony de Mello
This article is the third article of a series of article about Spiritual Enlightenment. Before reading this article I encourage you to read:
- What is the Ego?
- What is Spiritual Enlightenment? – Are You Seeing Reality as It is?
- What is Spiritual Enlightenment? – What is Preventing You from Seeing Reality?
As we have seen previously, spiritual enlightenment requires us to get rid of our ego which is not an easy task to do! Why should you work so hard to drop everything that you believe makes up for your identity? Your ego wants some benefits, it likes rewards and is asking “What’s in it for me?”. See, it is already trying to attach itself to this idea of spiritual enlightenment and create a new identity out of it. It would like to be able to say proudly “I am spiritually enlightened”. Watch out!
Do you want to know what enlightened people look like?
In this article, I would like to give you an overview of some of the benefits of spiritual enlightenment. Just for your information, unfortunately I’m not enlightened and haven’t direct experience of it :-p
A good way to start is to use the analogy previously mentioned of the movie and the light projecting on the screen. Imagine for a moment that you are the light projecting itself on the screen. Can the movie playing on the screen affect you? No, because you are not an actor in the movie, you are the movie! You are the light creating the movie. Everything that happens in the movie cannot affect or change you in any way. I hope this illustration gives you an idea of what it is like to be enlightened.
The End of Separation
I explained previously that enlightenment simply means that you are coming back to your natural state. I also mentioned awareness. So what is this awareness? Different people have different ways to call it. I like the word awareness but some people call it “god” or “consciousness” for instance. When people wake up, they realize that there is no separation in the world. Behind any single object or living being in the universe, there is this awareness. Awareness is one. Eckhart Tolle says that we are a drop in the ocean and at the same time we are the ocean itself. In reality, separation is created by our mind.
It doesn’t mean that physical objects or people don’t exist. Spiritually enlightened people still see people and objects the way we see them, but they realize and experience, in a way that they all qualify as indescribable, the oneness of Awareness behind everything they see.
All the world as we see it is awareness projecting itself to take the shape of people, things and any other elements that constitute the universe. Doesn’t it remind you of something? Personally, it reminds me of the Big Bang. If you believe the universe was created by a unique source of energy, then enlightenment doesn’t sound such a crazy thing to believe in anymore.
Spiritually Enlightened People Feel Complete
As you know, the ego always wants more and is never satisfied. One of the biggest benefits of being enlightened is that you don’t need anything anymore. You are complete and perfectly content with yourself. One thing that people have to understand is that pretty every much everything we are doing in our life is actually an attempt to reach this level of completeness. All our desires to be successful, to impress people, to be recognized and to be loved come from this underlying feeling of “not being complete”.
Enlightenment is simply the recognition that we are already complete and that we don’t need anything or anyone to make us happy. After all, apart from human being, what else in the universe is unhappy and feels incomplete? As the American spiritual teacher Adyashanti says: “You don’t find oak trees having existential crisis”. If our true essence is awareness and awareness is one, then the idea of incompleteness becomes totally irrelevant.
Spiritually Enlightened People Experience Lasting Happiness
Enlightened people experience lasting happiness. They don’t need to do anything in particular to be fulfilled. Happiness is their natural state. It is also our natural state but we simply don’t realize it because our ego stands in the way. Their happiness has nothing to do with the happiness we usually experience. It is not a happiness that comes from the mind. It is not a happiness that has different degrees like when you say “I’m quite happy” or “I’m really happy”. Its opposite is not sadness. There is no opposite.
Spiritually Enlightened People Are Never Upset
If I’m not a person, but the underlying awareness behind that person, how can you hurt me? If I think myself to be noboby and have no need to prove anything to anyone what can you do to me.? Can four-letter words affect awareness? Can a sword hurts the wind?
However, it doesn’t mean that they will never ever get angry. The spiritual teacher Mooji declares himself that he does sometimes get angry but it never lasts very long. Enlightened people don’t attach themselves to their thoughts and don’t dwell on the past. Thoughts and feelings are just clouds that disappear quickly.
Do enlightened people feel physical pain? Yes, physical pain still exists. However, the mental suffering that accompanies pain disappears. Pain comes and goes and lives no scars. There is no mental sufferings, no identification with pain. What does pain without mental suffering feels like. I don’t know!
Spiritually Enlightened People Love Everyone and Everything
Enlightened people claim they love everyone and everything. How can someone love a criminal for instance? I had a hard time understand that point but it is precisely because I was trying to understand it using my mind.
It is not like they are trying hard to love everyone or pretend to love everyone and everything. Love experienced by people after they wake up is unconditional love. This unconditional love is the by-product of awakening. It unfolds automatically once people experience their true essence and realize that there is no separation in the world. What most of us are calling love is in reality an attachment and a need for someone else, a desire for the other person to make us complete; NOT unconditional love. Here is a great analogy for unconditional love by Anthony de Mello:
Is it possible for the rose to say, “I will give my fragrance to the good people who smell me, but I will withhold it from the bad”? Or is it possible for the lamp to say, “I will give my light to the good people in this room, but I will withhold it from the evil people”? Or can a tree say, “I’ll give my shade the good people who rest under me, but I will withhold it from the bad”? These are images of what love is about.
Spiritually Enlightened People Experience the End of Time
For the ego to survive, it must make time – past and future – more important than the present moment. The ego cannot tolerate becoming friendly with the present moment, except briefly just after it got what it wanted. But nothing can satisfy the ego for long. As long as it runs your life, there are two ways of being unhappy. Not getting what you want is one. Getting what you want is the other. – Eckhart Tolle
Have you try to experience time directly? You will realize that you can’t! It is impossible for us to experience time directly. When we think about the past or the future it is always in the present moment. Surprisingly, the present moment is timeless!
Like separation, time is also a creation of the mind. To realize our true essence we must focus on the present moment. It is the only thing that is real and thus our only way to enlightenment.
Spiritually Enlightened People Are Fearless
People are not afraid of death, they are afraid of losing their ego. – Osho
Enlightened people are not afraid of death. If we are not the body-mind but just awareness how can we die? As the Indian spiritual teacher Maharaj said “Your idea that you were born and that you will die is absurd – both logic and experience contradict it”. Our identity created by our mind through our thoughts, that is, our ego, dies but not the essence of who we really are. That’s what people realize when they awaken.
These are a few benefits of being enlightened. Pretty cool, isn’t it? Are you ready to trade your ego for these benefits? Leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts on that.
In the next article we will explain why so few people are enlightened.
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