Enlightenment isn’t special; it’s the result of a natural process. We are supposed to grow and develop. And, there are many more enlightened beings alive today than you realize. See how you can become one too.
“Do not think that enlightenment is going to make you special — it’s not.” — Adyashanti
From Aware and Awake to Enlightened
Some say one must be awake first to become aware. Others say one needs to be aware enough to awaken. It’s like which came first, the chicken or the egg. For this discussion, it doesn’t matter which came first.
What matters is that some people are aware and awake enough to become wise, to attain the capacity to make enlightened decisions. We need more enlightened beings alive today in all areas. We need them to enter leadership positions in government, science, education, and healthcare. We even need those willing to enter the law enforcement and military services.
It would seem logical to assume that there would be more awake and enlightened people with more people living today than at any time. If you give weight to statistical probability, there should be more highly advanced intellectually and spiritually.
Unfortunately, the same statistical probability also indicates we need to expect more megalomaniacs, narcissists, and egomaniacs. It also explains why more people are willing to follow people like Donald Trump. More people are influenced by negative bias and prejudice.
“Culture is the greatest barrier to your enlightenment, your education, and your decency.” — Terence McKenna
To be enlightened is a term from the 18th Century that describes a person who uses reason to create a better world. Today we associate the word with those who attain higher levels of consciousness and wisdom.
Logic and rational thinking go hand-in-hand with wisdom and greater self and social awareness. Our consciousness is fluid, not static, and this fluid design enables it to grow and expand.
Where Are the Enlightened Beings Alive Today?
Our culture places a great deal of emphasis on being unique. But your uniqueness must be something the culture can use to make a profit. Because of this, it is easy to identify our growth as something out of the ordinary. Instead, we should focus on the new vantage point of observation.
Despite the power of the cultural narrative, some enlightened individuals come into the public eye. They don’t fit the mold we’ve been taught to expect, such as a wealthy business person. Some do reach a certain level of notoriety and fame because they occupy space in popular media such as Keanu Reeves. But others come from the counter-culture, including activists like Greta Thunberg and Jane Goodall.
“There is nobody who is so enlightened that they don’t need to work on themselves.” — Terence McKenna
Since the popular culture can’t profit from your internal growth, it will overlook it. Organized religion can’t bottle and sell it either because the tools for change don’t exist with mythology and superstition.
You may not become a well-known celebrity, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an immediate positive impact on those in your circle of influence.
How Enlightenment Isn’t Special
Awakening should be a universal occurrence, not a fluke. The real Eureka comes when you realize that it is a never-ending path, and this path will have its highs and lows. It will make you confront your fear of death, but it will lift you with eureka moments of great clarity. The path includes many types of experiences. Take both occasions in stride.
They wear their enlightenment on their sleeve like a badge of honor. They sit among friends and talk about how awake they are while sipping coffee at a cafe. — Adyashanti
When our spiritual awakening becomes a fixation, we lose what we gain. Pride is an emotional response of the Ego. In contrast, our awakening is the natural process of growth. It’s the real you, the Observer coming from behind the mask of the Ego.
The advertising profession of our modern culture knows well how to use pride as a tool to sell you things. Many people spend their lives buying the things advertisers present to satisfy the Ego. But, the Ego cannot be happy; that is how it stays in control.
Enlightened People are Authentic
So, if enlightenment isn’t special, what is it? Why isn’t it extraordinary?
“The funny thing about enlightenment is that when it is authentic, there is no one to claim it. It is very ordinary; it is nothing exceptional. Rather than making you more special, it is going to make you less special. It plants you right in the center of a wonderful humility and innocence.” — Adyashanti
Here, authenticity is your awareness that relates to a bigger picture. It is the realization that everyone and everything is extraordinary. Our existence is remarkable. “Enlightenment isn’t special.” It is the result of healthy growth.
It does not mean you will be happy all the time. You will probably feel the full range of your emotions more intensely. Showing emotions runs against our culture, which insists we be non-emotional.
“Everyone else may or may not call you enlightened, but when you are enlightened, the whole notion of enlightenment and someone who is enlightened is a big joke. I use the word all the time — not to point you toward it but to point you beyond it.” — Adyashanti
Side Effects of Spiritual Awakening
Join the ranks of those with their eyes and hearts open. It should be our natural state of awareness. There are, however, some unintended side effects. This state of awareness brings about a greater degree of clarity. It illuminates both internal and external issues.
Greater bandwidth of awareness means you’ll see your personality’s mechanisms more clearly. You won’t have any obstacles blocking the virtues of the spirit. As your awareness expands, you’ll see the social and economic disparity more clearly. You won’t be able to ignore environmental issues.
So, being enlightened also brings with it great responsibility. It can and should make you a better person if you follow through and correct the issues you find. It should drive you to engage in positive social and environmental changes.
“My idea of enlightenment is when ego and Tao are fused, and Tao is perceived as ego. Then everything happens with complete appropriateness.” — Terence McKenna
How to Become More Enlightened
Becoming more awake and aware is a destructive process where we dismantle old beliefs and values and install newer ways of thinking. It is all about the inner quest to be better today than you were yesterday. It’s about asking yourself hard questions about what you believe and why you believe them. There are a number of methods and processes to help us in this endeavor.
We look forward to those Eureka experiences when awareness grows in leaps and bounds. But these aren’t a common occurrence. Our growth is usually gradual. So, the path of enlightenment isn’t special, but It is a sign something positive is happening. We are supposed to grow. It’s supposed to occur. Our ultimate intellectual and spiritual goal is the journey from aware and awake to enlightened.
“If you feel special in any way, then enlightenment has not occurred. I meet a lot of people who think they are enlightened and awake simply because they have had a very moving spiritual experience.” — Adyashanti
Here again, we confuse self-esteem with self-compassion. Self-esteem is a by-product of the Ego, which distorts everything. On the other hand, self-compassion is the expression of the higher values of the human spirit. You immediately recognize someone in this original state of being. They exhibit the characteristics of being realistic and forgiving.
Self-esteem is all about bolstering the Ego, and it does not support The Ego does not support either of these virtues. The cultural narrative teaches that these are weaknesses and not strengths.
Awakening is just a first step. You finally stop sleeping and open your eyes. You realize that you are not supposed to live your whole life in the default mode.
“To awaken, one must realize that one is in a state of sleep, a state of self-hypnosis. And, in order to realize that one is indeed in a state of sleep, one must fully recognize and understand the nature of the forces, which operate to keep one in the state of sleep, or hypnosis. It is absurd to think that this can be done by seeking information from the very source in which you induce the hypnosis.” — George Ivanovich Gurdjieff
But, you probably won’t like what you see when you finally see everything as it really is. You may not like yourself, but accepting yourself as you are will give you the key to making the changes you want to make.
You’ll probably find some things wrong with the way things are going in the culture and the world. That’s what awakening is all about; it’s not that special; there are a lot of really great people out there trying to do the right thing.
Enlightenment isn’t special, but being awake is preferable to remaining asleep. Spiritual awakening is when you become awake and grow to be more aware. It’s not a destination but a road that brings new joys and challenges. The world needs more enlightened beings alive today because we have so many complex problems to solve.
Want to learn more about the tools to assist you in your journey toward enlightenment? Please don’t hesitate to contact us.