There are essential distinctions between enlightenment and enchantment. Find out where you are on this continuum of awareness.
The arena of spirituality can be confusing because Spirituality is a versatile term with a broad range of meanings and uses. The primary part of this term is the word spirit. It refers to the non-physical part of our mind.
Many people believe we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. At our core, we are Spirit. People think their religion is leading toward enlightenment. But if you look deeper, you will find religious faith is a form of self-hypnosis—belief in mythology results in a trace state of bewitchment.
Enlightenment and Enchantment
As far as opposites go, these two concepts couldn’t be further apart. However, the arena of spirituality and religion is famous for ascribing various meanings to terms. Some believe this is a blatant attempt to counterfeit or plagiarise. Regardless of the motives, it certainly is helpful to step back and review the real meaning and usage of the terms. So, let’s start by reviewing the most widely accepted definitions.
To be enchanted is to be in a “heightened state of euphoria or delight.” The dictionary goes so far as to say it’s as though one is under a spell. Perhaps rightly so, when one feels this type of euphoria, it suspends the mental processes responsible for common sense reasoning. It is identical to the effects of self-hypnosis and group hypnosis.
Self-hypnosis reduces peripheral awareness and conscious thought. This state enhances the capacity to respond to suggestions. Thus, it is a primary tool for those who what to reprogram thoughts, ideas, and values. So, they reject anything that threatens their enchanting state of euphoria.
This state can be voluntary or involuntary induced. When you are in this trance-like state, you are susceptible to the power of suggestion. It is a form of brainwashing (1). Brainwashing is a systematic indoctrination method. It can be employed overtly or covertly. Your susceptibility to this programming depends on the amount of exposure and indoctrination level. Propaganda is a form of covert brainwashing.
The outward manifestation of this state can take many forms. For example, we see people “fall under the spirit” when touched by a preacher. They fall to the floor in a trance induced by touch. It is a conditioned response that bolsters the cause-and-effect belief relationship between falling and the self-hypnotic state.
The intent of brainwashing is to implant thought patterns and values. These methods override the individual’s ability to use common sense and reasoning. Brainwashing enables a person to justify falling on the floor with the preacher touches them.
In contrast to enchantment, enlightenment is the continual expansion of awareness. It is not an experience. Enlightened people never stop gaining clarity, understanding, wisdom, learning, and knowledge. They frequently attain higher states of awareness and consciousness.
Those who achieve some enlightenment do so by engaging in practices that expand awareness. Enlightened people differentiate the watcher, observer, and mind’s dichotomy. They use processes to enter a higher state of consciousness.
An example of a higher state would be the 4th state of consciousness, transcendental consciousness.
This partition of awareness is most notable for its profound rest while the mind remains alert but without thought. Scholars from Joseph Campbell to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi call this state bliss consciousness because they are self-aware without having the typical inner dialogue. In this state, the practitioner’s awareness expands. The best way to reach this state of consciousness is Japa Meditation or a more commercial version of the branded version known as Transcendental Meditation.
Being Enchanted Differs from Enlightenment
So, we see there is a substantial difference between these two terms. Enchantment and enlightenment are opposite points on a continuum of awareness. Enchantment is the result of a hypnotic emotional state. In comparison, enlightenment is a tangible, measurable change in awareness, perception, and consciousness. Your task is to examine your paradigm find out where you are on this continuum. Are you living in a state of self-hypnosis or on the path of enlightenment?
On the continuum of awareness, enlightenment would be at the top, characterized by clarity of thought. At the bottom would be the experience of enchantment, a state of self-hypnosis. We find the emotional component of being enchanted relates to the belief in mythology and denial of facts. Thinking is overshadowed and clouded by religious, ethnic, and gender bias and prejudice.
Enlightenment and enchantment come from different points of perception. Organized religion drives the cultural narrative with superstition and mythology. It redefines the term enlightenment to skew its meaning to fit its paradigm. So people follow a religion, thinking it will make them enlightened. But, what they are doing is exposing themselves to group hypnosis and self-hypnosis manipulation. Religion becomes their identity, and they protect it with any means.
Identify Your State of Mind
Here are various quotes on the subject of enlightenment from Osho, Carl Gustav Jung, Thomas Paine, Immanuel Kant, Albert Einstein, Lao Tzu, and Ilchi Lee. These quotes will help you understand the difference and determine where you are on the continuum between enchantment and enlightenment.
Our first quote is from Osho, also known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. He was born Chandra Mohan Jain, December 11, 1931 — January 19, 1990. We know him for creating yogic and tantric practices, building upon Neo-Hinduism of the 1870s. This quote explains the growth of perception evolving into the sixth state of awareness known as Cosmic consciousness.
“I’m simply saying that there is a way to be sane. I’m saying that you can get rid of all this insanity created by the past in you. Just by being a simple witness of your thought processes. It is simply sitting silently, witnessing the thoughts, passing before you. Just witnessing, not interfering not even judging, because the moment you judge you have lost the pure witness. The moment you say “this is good, this is bad,” you have already jumped onto the thought process.
It takes a little time to create a gap between the witness and the mind. Once the gap is there, you are in for a great surprise, that you are not the mind, that you are the witness, a watcher. And this process of watching is the very alchemy of real religion. Because as you become more and more deeply rooted in witnessing, thoughts start disappearing. You are, but the mind is utterly empty.
That’s the moment of enlightenment. That is the moment that you become for the first time an unconditioned, sane, really free human being”. — Osho
Carl Gustav Jung
Our following quote is from noted Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung (26 July 26, 1875 — June 6, 1961). Many of his theories about personality are found based on modern psychiatry. He also worked with another influential psychiatrist, Sigmund Freud. This quote points out a common truth about the real inner work. It is painful.
The Ego struggles to maintain control because it is temporary. Exposing it as a process and its inherent weaknesses are painful because we are so fixated on it. The pain of separating ourselves from the mechanism is a startling revelation for most people. He describes the contrast between imaginary friends and exploring the shadow world of consciousness. It is how people often confuse enlightenment and enchantment.
“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” — C.G. Jung
Thomas Paine (January 29, 1737 — June 8, 1809) was a writer and philosopher famous for his writings on common sense. This quote emphasizes the point that enlightenment brings with it some unintended consequences. Once you are awake, you can’t go back to sleep. Once awakened, your conscience will force you to see the cultural narrative’s bias and prejudice.
“The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.” — Thomas Paine
This quote is about walking your path. It shows a significant contrast between enlightenment and enchantment. Immanuel Kant (April 22, 1724—February 12, 1804) a German philosopher who created transcendental idealism, also called formalistic idealism. The idea that the human self, ego, construct reality out of sense impressions and from universal ideas called categories it imposes upon them.
“Enlightenment is man’s release from his self-incurred tutelage. Tutelage is man’s inability to make use of his understanding without direction from another. Self-incurred is this tutelage when its cause lies not in lack of reason but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without direction from another. Sapere aude! ‘Have the courage to use your own reason!’- that is the motto of enlightenment.” — Immanuel Kant
We normally think of the field of physics when we hear the name, Albert Einstein. (March14, 1879—April 18,1955) However, his ideas about physics transcended many disciplines. He understood the value of inner work. He used his analytical skills to communicate what he learned by intuition. The self or Ego is not an enemy. It’s just a mechanism necessary to connect consciousness to our fragile nervous system. Liberation from the self is an ancient concept that is synonymous with an expansion of awareness or enlightenment.
“The true value of a human being can be found in the degree to which he has attained liberation from the self.” — Albert Einstein
Lao Tzu was a Chinese philosopher circa 375 CE, best known for Taoism, the Daodejing. There is some question about where or not he is an actual person or a pen name attributed to the work of several philosophers of the era. At any rate, this quote underscores the wisdom of understanding the Observer from the mechanisms doing the observation.
“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.” — Lao Tzu
Ilchi Lee (Lee Seung-Heun, born December 23, 1950) is a South Korean author and the founder of a variety of mind-body training methods, including Dahnhak. His quote explains how we are expressions of life, of consciousness. Enlightenment is not about the belief in imaginary friends or enemies. His quote challenges us to seek who is actually behind the act of breathing.
“Observe your own body. It breathes. You breathe when you are asleep when you are no longer conscious of your own ideas of self-identity. Who, then, is breathing? The collection of information that you mistakenly think it’s you is not the main protagonist in this drama called the breath. In fact, you are not breathing; breath is naturally happening to you. You can purposely end your own life, but you cannot purposely keep your own life going. The expression, “My life” is actually an oxymoron, a result of ignorance and mistaken assumption. You don’t possess life; life expresses itself through you. Your body is a flower that life let bloom, a phenomenon created by life.” — Ilchi Lee
The Continuum of Awareness
To summarize, enchantment is a conditioned emotional response. Enlightenment is a change in awareness, perception resulting in the transformation of consciousness. It makes you think about where you are on this continuum?
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(1) Brainwashing, Wikipedia
(2) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia