What does it mean to become spiritually enlightened? Many it seems have differing definitions of spiritual enlightenment. I define spiritual enlightenment as an abiding, ongoing awakening to being consciously present to the moment. This means, the end of seeking for something that exists outside of this moment, and it means the end of getting lost and carried away by thought, to the degree that emotional suffering occurs. As I define spiritual enlightenment, it also means an absence of fixed identification with thoughts and the end of attachment and identification to an ongoing story of 'me.' That said, to become spiritually enlightened, does not mean an end to the experience of individuation, it simply means that all attachment to seeing oneself as being a set, fixed, particular 'someone' has fallen away in favor of an openness to all possibilities.
Many attach all sorts of mystical experiences to their definition of what it means to be spiritually enlightened. While spiritual enlightenment may involve mystical experiences, having these types of experiences are not a prerequisite for being enlightened in terms of awakening to the dream of life. Many people have peak, mystical experiences, yet go on to continue to live their life immersed within the drama of their own creation, oblivious to the fact that they are both the puppet and the puppeteer.
While there are indeed practices such as meditation, self inquiry and present moment mindfulness that can help pave the way for spiritual enlightenment or spiritual awakening to happen, ultimately, there is no single path or practice that can guarantee one will necessarily become spiritually enlightened.
I've found that practicing
present moment awareness,
really breaking things down into tiny segments where I choose to focus
my attention raptly, aids greatly to being conscious, aware and at peace.
is also a wonderful tool to help train the mind towards freedom from getting caught up and swept away by thought.
It would seem that an abiding state of spiritual enlightenment is quite a rare thing. Indeed, what is much more common, are moments of being awake, moments of being conscious, and then other moments of falling out of that and getting swept up and away by thoughts and feelings.
I liken this process of remembering ourselves to be unlimited and at one with the moment in it's entirety,
only to forget it moments later, to awakening during the night and then
falling back asleep, or perhaps more accurately as awakening within a
dream (becoming lucid)and then falling back into the drama of the dream
As I define it, actual spiritual enlightenment involves an abiding, ongoing state of being, seeing and experiencing, that encompasses an unwavering foundation of conscious awareness at all times. This could also be termed unwavering presence to the moment, or abiding at-one-ment with the moment.
It's important to note that the very fact of seeking or studying various teachings, and overtly trying to become spiritually enlightened, at least temporarily, while that sense of seeking is in place, holds us apart from actually 'being' enlightened. For in spiritual enlightenment, there is no longer any sense of seeking for or needing something in this moment to be any different.
This does not mean that all likes and dislikes cease, but it does mean that they no longer have the propensity to pull us out of peace. Desires take on more the flavor of preferences, and as such, no longer are based upon need or attachment.
It is the sense of needing things, circumstances and people, to be a certain way that results in an absence of peace, thus, when that need is absent, peace will prevail.
My best advice to those asking how do I become spiritually enlightened, would be; stop seeking for it and instead practice present moment awareness and self inquiry, absent of any sense of achieving or attaining something. Present moment awareness, even if it is fleeting, is it's own gift, and through this practice, over time, being at one with the moment, becomes habit forming. An ongoing habit of being present and consciously aware is not so very far off from actually being spiritually enlightened.
Becoming fully spiritually enlightened is certainly not a prerequisite for having a wonderful and satisfying life experience. I believe our movement towards enlightenment or spiritual awakening is inevitable. Much like we all awaken from our sleeping dreams eventually, in the morning to realize we were 'only dreaming, ' we are also moving, albeit, seemingly each of us at different paces, towards this realization in our waking lives as well.
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