What Is Spiritual Enlightenment?

by guillermo
(malaga, spain)

Hi man,

Your analysis is limited, biased, and i think very conditioned on ideas of what enlightenment should look like, while at the same time claiming it doesn't exist as such.

Check out this very insightful text written by a commenter on another blog, I found it good:

"Jed. Jed. I first read his books in high school like 9 years ago. I loved them, they resonated for me, but I didn’t really get them. I worked with another spiritual teacher for quite a while, an off-the-radar enlightened woman who does not “teach” but instead does therapy, which I think is pretty appropriate really…anyway…several months ago I lost someone very close to me and it left me questioning everything that mattered to me…family, friends, interests, etc. I picked up his book again and it was like I was reading it for the first time.

I’ve spent over 9 years working through my shit. I’ve waded through my feelings, my thoughts…I’ve spent years trying to accept life, to meditate through my thoughts and to sit and fully experience my feelings, but I think that all of it was vital to reaching the point where I could hear Jed. Jed likes to say that everything that isn’t his “bolt of lightening” is worthless, probably because that’s how he experienced it and so he assumes that’s how it works. Where he would probably dismiss all those years of soul searching, it was vital for me to reach the point where I could even hear him.

I think his problem is that he’s not so good at expressing what you have to do to work through your crap. He just says it’s hellish, but anyone who’s ever seriously tried to burn through ANY of their ego will tell you it’s not fun. He’s not a terribly helpful teacher, but I think he’s right about what enlightenment is; a state in which you’re free from suffering brought on by your ego, but everything else is optional.

What I’m coming to realize, as a “student” that’s finally making it to the other side of “the exit of the theater,” is that people don’t become someone different when they reach enlightenment. They are free from their ego which means
that they don’t care what you think of them. Thank about that. If you always sounded arrogant before you were enlightened, there’s no reason why you would lose that tone unless you’re thinking in terms of the guru fantasy role of an all-loving soul…probably the only difference would be the motivation. Before, you might have been arrogant to make yourself feel better than others, when you really felt small and frightened. After, you have something that others want to find. Why wouldn’t you boast? The only real deterrent to not sounding like an asshole is the fear that someone (whether it’s a stranger or your mother) won’t like you. If you don’t have that fear then you’re free to do and say whatever you want. I’m guessing that’s the point Jed tries to make all throughout his books, by donning such an arrogant ‘my way or the highway’ tone; that just because you’re enlightened doesn’t mean you love everything and everyone.

But I think that if you’re a loving, compassionate person in the egoic sense of the word, you probably won’t lose that either. Unless your love of others is entirely ego-driven there’s no reason why you wouldn’t still love them when you reach the other side. I think whoever the real Jed is, he probably wasn’t the warmest guy to begin with. But I think he doesn’t want to say that kindof thing because he knows a lot of people will mishear him. They’ll hear ‘you’ll be compassionate and loving’ and think that’s the only option; it will reinforce their stereotypical guru image, when the truth is you might walk away from humanity and never give them another moment of your time.

By donning his image of an arrogant, truth-obsessed tough-guy he’s just saying, ‘this is a personal trip, and who you are doesn’t change, only the motivation, so you don’t have to spend your life trying to perfect yourself; figure out the truth and just be free.’ And that’s not a message you hear very often. I think Jed, or the persona of him, is a pretty cool dude with a good way of expressing that.

Or, of course, I could be totally wrong, ha ha."

hope that helps!

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Feb 02, 2011
Levels of Awakening?
by: Anonymous

Thanks again Guillermo for taking the time to comment....no doubt you have some great insights on this subject.

I am familiar with Adyashanti...I'm not sure if you're aware or not but many of Jed's readers speculate that Jed and Adyashanti may be the same person. I'm not buying it though. :)

I'm currently enjoying the process of writing about the process of spiritual awakening, enlightenment...whatever you want to call it, basically 'the process of becoming free from attachments that cause suffering...the process of realizing, accepting and being responsible for everything that shows up in my reality...the process of becoming free from limiting judgments and the fact that reaching this is really a very natural progression...that we do not 'need' to pursue anything in a grasping manner...that there is really NOTHING at stake. My views on this definitely are contrary to many that are popular.

I've had some great shifts in my level of awareness that have led to an experiential recognition that what I am at my core is so much more than the physical 'me' I experience.

I accept, recognize and own every creation that appears within my reality as the projection of consciousness that it is.

I prefer the term awakened compared to enlightened, as there is simply so much baggage and even differing definitions of the terms 'spiritually enlightened.'

Yes, I've reached a certain level of expansion of consciousness, or awareness or spiritual 'awakening' if you prefer.

I recently came across a woman who exlains my views on this subject beautifully (if interested Google; Jac Okeefe)...she explains how 'no self' cannot sustain physical experience. 'Some' identification with 'a self' or individuated consciousness must continue if we are to continue 'being' physical. This is a point I'll be focusing on in my future writings...I'm absolutely passionate about it.

Guillermo, I'd love to use our conversation as a jumping off point for my next article..hope that's okay...and THANKS so much for the inspiration!! Keep in touch!

Love and Peace,
Faye :)

Feb 02, 2011
2nd part adya and jed
by: Guillermo

They also both talk about this adult/enlightenement thing, with different words.
Apparently one thing is knowing the self, knowing the truth, seeing through the veil, whatever you want to call it. It sounds like once that is done, it's done. Nothing else to see. Only an unfolding of that same seeing in different forms and shapes and circumstances...
And then there's this other process, which Jed calls adulthood, and Adya calls moving from the segregated to the integrated state. That can be done independently from enlightenment, although it is quite a requisite for full embodied enlightenment.

What you talk about with a gradual expansion of awareness i think refers to adulthood, and i think what enlightenment truly is neither one of us will have a clue about until its what we are. We wont be an enlightened person obviously.. just enlightenment will be enlightened, in spite of the apparent person.

All i know is that englightenment has no context. We only can think and speak or perceive things from a context, but non dual abiding awareness is boundless, context less. How to try to understand that from our current context? Impossible.
Therefore, how can we decide what it should look like?

Sorry for the long rant! hehe
Hope to hear from you soon, take care

Feb 02, 2011
adya and jed
by: Guillermo

Hi Faye!

Thanks very much for taking the time to reply, it was a pleasure to read you..

I think we aught to be careful in contrasting expressions of awakening, such as Jed, if it is that "he" is awake, with our ideas of what it should look like.

Jed is clearly playful with the whole of life, and in that regard, appearing with the role of teacher, or potato farmer, I would expect makes little or no difference.

And yet, there is a preference for engaging in deeper matters, and so he shares what he believes is a no bs approach to finding out the truth.

Now, I admit that I have many moments of doubt regarding many opinions he expressed, so forcefully.

My reference for this has always been Adyashanti (if you don't know him, I"d check him out - awesome clarity). When ever I checked, Adya was in agreement with Jed but also, added a few other perspectives onto the mix, had a broader view of the issue.

This I attribute to the fact that Adya's been teaching much longer than Jed, and therefore has seen more.

Also, as mentioned before, I think Jed deliberately chooses the less pretty way because he regards the level of compromise necessary to get out of the delusion, as very high, and as a kind of self fulfilling net, wrote a book that will be fully grasped and considered by those already with that level of compromise, and willingness to look for themselves.

Even at the price of completely disagreeing with many things Jed says.
Another thing I've considered is that the heart part hasn't fully integrated with him, but I suspect it's not so much about this, but about his character before the awakening.

As you say, the I cannot be fully discarded, and as Jed, and Adya both say, once you're awake, you're naked of self, but you need to wear some kind of persona to appear on this show, you can't turn up naked, so you normally pick up the one you know best, your old self. Only you never let that persona distort your world view again, that is, in how you perceive. Yes, it distorts how you express, that is what the self is, a mode of expression.

(i've had to break the text in two, what a ramble!)

Feb 01, 2011
Re: Limited
by: Faye

Can we really ever, as physically based consciousness, be without bias, limits or conditioned ideas regarding anything?

Sure, we all have our own personal ideas of what it means to be enlightened...and I don't see that a concrete 'state' of enlightenment exists where we are one minute 'not enlightened' and the next minute 'enlightened.' Rather it is a graduated process of coming into greater levels of awareness or expanded consciousness.

Freedom from suffering works for me in terms of defining an overall life experience that is 'of the light.'

Some questions for Jed: If he really believes it's an 'inside job' why the heck is he designating himself as a teacher for others? If he understands that all of physical reality is self created..a projection, why has he created a reality for himself where he is the enlightened one who teaches others how to get up to speed?

In regards to the 'love' that Jed seems to be completely devoid of experiencing; How can I 'not' accept everyone and everything in my reality when I know fully that they only appear in my reality through the invitation of my own vibration? When the perfection of all appearances is seen clearly, it's pretty hard not to fall in love with every aspect of reality.

In terms of coming to consensus on precisely what the word 'enlightenment' refers to, I'm imagining that if you took a poll of 100 people, you'd get many varying answers on this one...dont' think there's a right or wrong answer here.

I do not believe we can ever completely transcend our sense of 'self' while physically based..and Jed's attitude and obvious contradictions prove that he has not reached the state that he describes..he has vastly overstated his experience of reality.

The individuated consciousness cannot be annihilated nor do I see any reason why it should be. The only reason one would desire to do such a thing is because of a very harsh and negative judgment ABOUT physical reality and physical beingness.

I see physical existence as a gift of sorts...a vehicle through which to experience.

We don't see eye to eye on this one, however, I DO appreciate your taking the time to respond to my article with comment...your views are very much appreciated and you make many great points!!


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