Spiritual Enlightenment is a subject that is very open to personal interpretation. While many hold fast and firm to definitions set in place long ago by eastern religions, many of us continue to hone and mold this elusive state of being to suit their own personal experience and definition.
While certain aspects of the definition of what it means to be spiritually enlightened share a commonality, others differ widely. What does it actually mean to become spiritually enlightened or spiritually awakened? I personally believe it's up to each of us to define this for ourselves.
One facet that most accept when discussing the characteristics inherent within spiritual awakening is the absence of suffering. The majority agree that reaching a level of expanded awareness whereby one could accurately say, “I’ve experienced spiritual awakening or I’ve experienced spiritual enlightenment’ involves an ability to transcend the suffering that would otherwise accompany the physical experience. Other generally agreed upon hallmarks of this state include freedom from judgment and an ability to love without condition.
Therefore, it could be said that spiritual enlightenment encompasses an ability to transcend attachment.
My own definition of spiritual enlightenment or spiritual awakening is likely much more loose than most. In fact, I’m not too fond of using these terms as for most of us they come pre-loaded with all kinds of concepts and expectations. I rather see spiritual awakening (if I must use this term) as a process rather than a definite, verifiable, finite state of being.
As humans we operate within a paradox of sorts. While we can seemingly have a transcendent experience that allows us to connect with our greater spirit and the oneness of ALL, in the end, we must filter such an experience through our physical perceptions. As such, we can never fully ‘experience’ the vantage point of spirit from the position of being physical. All experience involves a filter through which we perceive.
Thus, I believe it is important along the path towards ever expanding consciousness and particularly when we encounter the transcendent experience to employ our critical mind, to question that which we think we currently know or believe.
While this may sound as though I'm somewhat of a nay-sayer here in terms of the transcendent experience, my position of 'question and question again that which I THINK I know' is one that is actually borne of my own personal, very compelling transcendental experiences.
I've been channeling for some time now and in 2005 following my brother's death, I began having direct communications with him. These communications continue to be as 'real' to me as anything in my daily physical life and many of these conversations have offered up physically verifiable 'proof' of their validity and truth.
While for me, these communications are real and 'true,’ I do understand how my 'truth' may not apply to all.
I very much see that these experiences are in part a reflection of my personal beliefs. Belief is the energy behind all experience. Beliefs create as they serve as the portal through which we have access to a particular experience. The transcendent experience hinges upon belief.
It was actually through these life after death communications and dialogues with my brother that I received the strongest advice to question everything (including these experiences) deeply; to accept the idea that even the most compelling of communications with spirit are occurring within the context of my physicality. So long as I'm having a physical experience, it can be no other way. The filter of physicality can indeed be peeled away, and seemingly minimized, but until we pass from physicality (even after to some extent) some amount of lens or filter will continue to exist.
Even an experience of what feels like spiritual enlightenment must be filtered in order for us to process the experience.
My brother regularly tells me that it is near impossible for him to accurately convey to me the details of the realm of the afterlife. (This said, he still tries and I believe I have a strong semblance of what he is conveying). It’s 'like explaining apples to someone who only knows oranges' he tells me... ‘physical mind simply does not provide the means to fully or accurately conceptualize that which is non-physical.’ Thus many of these life after death communications occur on the heart/feeling level and I can intuit the 'feeling place' or vibration of what he's attempting to convey far more than I can intellectually 'understand' it.
The moment we focus upon a transcendent experience, or an experience of spiritual enlightenment or spiritual awakening, it becomes colored by our perceptions. Our beliefs ABOUT a transcendent experience or about a spiritual awakening, will always be but a mere shadow of the actual experience itself, and yet, in order to incorporate a transcendent experience into our physical experience where it can expand our level of awareness, we must employ our perceptions. Therein lies the paradox.
Channeled message; "When we sit upon beliefs, holding firm to them, accepting them without question, we halt our expansion."
Most of us enter into the arena of spiritual pursuit and our quest for spiritual enlightenment with a myriad of concepts already firmly in place, generally because we've read and fully accepted the detailed experiences of other spiritual seekers. Descriptions of spiritual enlightenment abound but all are merely the individual experiences of another. While there surely will be similarities, the individual experience of spiritual enlightenment will always be unique.
Most of the concepts I began my own spiritual journey with have long ago fallen away and I can now see that holding expectations about anything regarding spirituality, particularly the idea of spiritual enlightenment, can be a hindrance in terms of 'seeing' clearly, (or what appears to be to ME to be, seeing clearly). I measure success in the spiritual arena in terms of the level of peace and unconditional love I experience in my day to day, moment to moment experience. Spiritual Enlightenment per se is not so much my goal as is a continued experience of expansion. Movement forward and change itself is the hallmark of the life experience. Without expansion, which in my opinion does not occur without questioning, expansion does not occur.
This said, the writings and teachings of others can indeed serve a purpose in pointing us in the direction of our own spiritual enlightenment or awakening process and/or towards our own transcendent experience.
Some of the best advice I've received from spirit is this; Take nothing for granted, keep an open mind and never be afraid to question long held belief systems. The reward is a never ending experience of expanding consciousness and greater and greater levels of inner peace.
Throughout my journey, I've done several 360 turns in terms of my beliefs and although it's never an easy process, the rewards of challenging one's own firmly held beliefs is one that creates incredible movement and expansion of consciousness. Doing so requires an ability to be brutally honest and to get comfortable with the feeling of being on 'shaky ground' sometimes.
My current position of knowing I may very well be wrong about everything I think I believe to be true, is liberating beyond description, and it matters not whether I've reached anyone elses defined version of spiritual enlightenment.
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