Enlightenment is and should be the ultimate goal of every spiritual seeker. If it is indeed considered the ultimate goal what is enlightenment all about?
While there was a philosophic movement in the 18th century that believed that science and logic did more good than tradition and religion and put enlightenment on par with reason and rationale, enlightenment as understood in the spiritual sense, is self-realisation and the pursuit of knowledge and understanding and living one’s life in the light of that.
Enlightenment is not one single light-bulb moment but an endless journey that transforms the individual over time. Remember that one is continuously challenged and constantly tested so the path is not always smooth but every step prepares one for the next and the next.
How does one become enlightened? As Shirdi Sai Baba said, “Ignorance is the source of maya. Remove maya and self-realisation will come naturally.”
Taking off from that very simple but pithy explanation, removal of maya can be achieved in various ways. By being aware of simple truths, that you are not the body, realising that the ego is a major stumbling block and that it must sublimated, being aware that the future is just an illusion and the past is over and done with, knowing that change is a constant and consciously controlling our responses to situations that arise in life, by remaining joyful and free from worry (in fact according to Buddhism it is the state of no desire or suffering) following your heart and overflowing in love. Staying in the higher realms and not getting bogged down by the material and the mundane is the way to go.
Some people mistakenly believe that enlightenment can be more easily attained by getting away from the world and retiring someplace that is cut off from mankind. Or that they will become transformed if only some other enlightened soul touched them with a magic wand.
It is not by escaping from the world that one realises oneself but by staying in it, charting one’s path and making the journey. Enlightenment is a very individual process since each one of us is unique and comes with his/her own baggage and beliefs and very unlike like a college or university degree where the stages and modules are defined to a large extent .
Dr Deepak Chopra said, “According to Vedanta there are two symptoms of enlightenment — just two indications that a transformation is taking place within you toward a higher consciousness. The first symptom is that you stop worrying. Things don’t bother you anymore. You become more light-hearted and full of joy. The second symptom is that you encounter more and more meaningful coincidences in your life, more and more synchronicities. And this accelerates to the point where you actually experience the miraculous.”
The writer is a Reiki channel, yoga practitioner and a spiritual seeker...