He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened. – Lao Tzu
The chances that you will wake up are in direct proportion to the amount of truth you can take without running away. – Anthony de Mello
What is spiritual enlightenment? In this series of article I would like to debunk the myth of spiritual enlightenment (also called spiritual awakening) and give you a clear definition of spiritual enlightenment without adding superficial and misleading information.
Let me warn you now. Learning about spiritual enlightenment will shatter all your beliefs about yourself and about the world beyond what you can ever imagine.
How much truth can you take without running away?
What is Spiritual Enlightenment?
When you hear about spiritual enlightenment, what comes to your mind? Is it the image of the Buddha in a lotus position meditating under a tree? Is it the image of an Indian guru living in a cave? In either case you probably imagine these people to be kind of disconnected from reality.
Spiritual enlightenment is one of the most fascinating topics that exist. I think everybody should know about it.
The greater mystery of all time is actually that so few people know about spiritual enlightenment and even less seek it. Personally, I had heard about it before, but it is only after several years of intense personal development work, a great sense of curiosity and a bit of luck that I started digging into that topic. And it’s not like it is something new. It has been around for thousands of years.
Let’s start by explaining what is enlightenment in a very simple way
Enlightenment is coming back to your true nature. It is getting rid of the clouds that are preventing the light within you to shine.
What is the true nature I am talking about here?
If you are like 99.999% of the population, you believe that you are a person right? But are you?
Spiritual enlightenment is the realization that the person we think we are is actually a mere projection of what we really are. The person is just the manifestation of our essence, which is, awareness. Our body and our mind are only media through which awareness manifests itself. We mistakenly believe we are in the movie while in reality we are simple the light that creates the movie by projecting itself to the screen. You are not a person!
That’s why enlightened people often refer to “normal” people as living in a dream state. That’s also why enlightenment is also called “awakening”. When you are in a dream, it seems so real that you don’t even realize that you are dreaming, do you? That’s exactly what is happening to you! While reading this article you are deeply asleep.
Why are we trapped in the dream state?
Let’s assume that you buy into that enlightenment “stuff”. Why are we trapped in the dream state then? Why can’t we wake up and simply come back to our true nature, to the essence of who we are? What are these dark clouds that won’t allow the light to pass through?
It is your ego that creates these clouds. (Read What is the ego?)
Let me refresh your mind by explaining briefly what the ego is. The ego is a mind-made entity that is only interested in its own survival. It constantly needs to strengthen its identity and is never satisfied. It is a mere creation of the mind that results from thinking.
Our compulsive thinking creates our personal story. Rather than living in the present we spend our time thinking about a past and the future. Our thoughts create then feelings of attachment to people, things, beliefs or our personal story. These thoughts create the illusion that we are our body and our mind. “I” becomes my body and my mind and “my” becomes a way to strengthen our identity by associating to things or people. It is my wife, my car, my house, my life, my story…
Does this selfish and never satisfied entity remind you of something? You probably! Aren’t you constantly in need for love, affection, approval, money, success, attention, fame or recognition? That’s the ego. Aren’t you taking things personally? That’s the ego. By definition, taking things personally means that you believe yourself to be a person!
Put it simply, ego = attachment
Indeed, our ego, in order to exist, must attach itself to something (material or immaterial)
That thing can be:
- Our body
- Our thoughts/beliefs
This attachment generated by our ego through thoughts, creates a filter that leads us to see the world in a different way that it really is. It sounds crazy, but, believe it or not, we are NOT seeing reality as it is!
How can we see reality then? We will talk about that in the next article 😉
See other articles from the series:
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The 5 Commandments of Personal Development