Amidst the chaos and confusion of our world today, it can be easy to feel lost and disconnected from our higher selves. However, enlightenment isn’t special; there are enlightened beings alive today who have found the light and are working to spread it to others. The many enlightened masters alive today are examples of what you can become.
We are supposed to grow and develop. And there are many more enlightened beings alive today than you realize. The path from aware and awake to enlightened isn’t just for those who devote their lives to the spiritual world. Enlightenment isn’t special; it’s the result of a natural process.
To be enlightened is an 18th Century term describing someone who uses reason and logic. 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, self, and social awareness. Our consciousness is fluid, not static, and this fluid design enables it to grow and expand.
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.
“Do not think that enlightenment is going to make you special — it’s not.” — Adyashanti
Modern culture portrays this state as something unattainable by the common person. It’s considered a state of higher consciousness only a select few can reach after years of meditation and practice. However, this perception is far from the truth. Everyone can grow and develop; they can become better than they were. So everyone can become more enlightened. Enlightenment isn’t special. It is only a matter of spiritual and intellectual development.
It would seem logical to assume that there would be more awake and enlightened beings living today, with more people living today than at any time in human history. If you give weight to statistical probability, more highly advanced intellectual and spiritual people should be around.
Unfortunately, the same statistical probability also indicates we can expect to find 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
Enlightened Masters Alive Today
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 living today in all areas of life. They are needed in government, science, education, and healthcare leadership positions. We even need those willing to enter law enforcement and military services.
It isn’t that hard to find enlightened masters alive today. Here are some examples.
1. Eckhart Tolle – Best known for his book “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth,” Eckhart Tolle is a spiritual teacher who has inspired millions of people to live in the present moment. His teachings have helped people connect with their inner selves and find peace in the midst of chaos.
2. Sadhguru – Sadhguru is an Indian spiritual leader who has created a global movement to promote inner transformation. He teaches the importance of balance and harmony in all aspects of life and has inspired millions to walk their path toward enlightenment.
3. Dandapani – Dandapani is a Hindu priest, entrepreneur, and speaker who teaches people to understand their mind and use it to create the life they want. He helps people develop focus, clarity, and direction in their lives.
4. Mooji – Mooji is a Jamaican spiritual teacher focusing on the importance of self-inquiry and meditation. He teaches people to look within themselves to find the answers they seek and to connect with their true nature. The goal is to move from aware and awake to enlightened.
5. Thich Nhat Hanh – Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, teacher, author, and peace activist who has dedicated his life to promoting mindfulness and peace. He has inspired millions to live in the present moment and practice loving kindness towards themselves and others.
Enlightened masters alive today remind us that the path to higher consciousness and inner peace is not easy, but it is a path worth pursuing. Their teachings offer hope and guidance to those seeking a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.
The question is, are you on the journey from aware and awake to enlightened? How do you know if you are on the path?
Enlightened Beings Living Today Are Examples
Our culture places a great deal of emphasis on being unique. But your uniqueness must be something the culture can use to 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 can reach a 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
Popular culture can’t profit from your internal growth, so it wants us to 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 lift you with eureka moments of great clarity. The path includes many types of experiences. Take both occasions in stride.
Spiritual and intellectual growth is a path available to everyone. It does not involve the belief in religious ideology. It involves a deep connection with oneself and the universe.
Spiritual growth requires a willingness to confront the self honestly, to develop compassion and empathy for others, and to cultivate a sense of purpose and fulfillment that transcends mere personal gain.
Intellectual growth is developed through regular intellectual pursuits such as reading, studying, and engaging in meaningful conversations. These activities help us develop a deeper understanding of the world and our place in it. They also help us to cultivate the critical thinking skills necessary to navigate complex ideas and concepts and to identify the truth in a world full of misinformation and half-truths.
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. This is an important step from aware and awake to enlightened.
The advertising profession of our modern culture knows well how to use pride to sell you things you don’t need. Many spend their lives buying the things advertisers present to satisfy their Egos. But, the Ego cannot be happy; that is how it stays in control.
Enlightened People are Authentic
So, enlightenment isn’t special; it is being authentic and present. To be enlightened is to be grounded in the present moment, freeing yourself from negative emotions and limiting beliefs that can hold you back from real growth. It is about connecting to your inner self and intuition to live a life that aligns with your true purpose and passions. It is not just a concept but a way of being that can improve your life.
“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 the 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. All the “enlightened masters alive today” share the characteristic of authenticity.
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. The path from aware and awake to enlightened isn’t a straight line.
“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. You’ll see the social and economic disparity more clearly as your awareness expands. 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 several methods and processes to help us in this endeavor. We call them spiritual technologies and divide them into four categories.
We look forward to those Eureka experiences when awareness grows in leaps and bounds. But these aren’t a common occurrence. Most of our growth is incremental and gradual. So, the path to enlightenment isn’t special, it is the dedication of our efforts to the goal of being a better person.
We are supposed to grow. Our ultimate intellectual and spiritual goal is the journey from aware and awake to enlightened. Remembering that our experience is not a measure of truth is important. Our experience of life is a product of the mind, not reality.
“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 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 is. You may not like yourself, but accepting yourself as you are will give you the key to making the changes you want.
You’ll probably find some things wrong with how things are going in the culture and the world. That’s what awakening is all about; it’s not that special; many great people are 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 living today because we have so many complex problems to solve.
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