Enlightenment – The state in which desires and attachments are extinguished in the Joy of Truth.

The word ‘enlightenment’ came into popular use in the eighteenth century as the use of reason, the capacity for logical, rational, and analytic thought, to scrutinize previously accepted thinking and beliefs.

If you look up ‘enlightenment’ in a dictionary, you’ll find diverse definitions ranging from having knowledge or understanding about a subject or situation, to the state of having attained spiritual knowledge or insight. In most spiritual schools of thought and practice however, enlightenment has a more specific meaning. In some, enlightenment is liberation from the cycles of rebirth; in others, enlightenment is insight, wisdom, awakening, or even open-mindedness.

Considering all this, and everything in-between that hasn’t been mentioned, it would be fair to say that ‘enlightenment’ means different things to different people. For our purposes here, we will use the word ‘enlightenment’ to refer to the state in which desires and attachments are extinguished in the Joy of Truth.

Enlightenment – To make luminous, to shine or lighten.
Origin, Old English.

There are some who believe that enlightenment is either all or nothing—you’re either enlightened or you’re not, there’s no in-between about it. Others say that enlightenment unfolds by degrees. Can they both be correct?

Direct Experience

When one has had a direct experience, one has had an enlightenment experience. By direct, I do not mean having an intuitive ah-ha or being psychic, I mean the mind is not involved. There is no via, no means of reaching this state. It cannot be reached by the mind. The mind can know about direct experience, or remember a direct experience, but the mind is not only useless to direct experience itself, it is an obstacle. It is the Real You, which exists in the non-dual reality of the Absolute, who Knows. In this situation, the senses and the mind are irrelevant and effectively nonexistent.

It is tempting to assume that anyone who has had such an experience is an enlightened being. In a way, this is true, but it is only true in a limited context. An enlightenment experience occurs in a fraction of a second, and its effect will fade to some degree over time. Even so, one is changed by the experience. When one continues to have direct experiences until the effects become the norm rather than the exception, the term “enlightened” becomes the obvious descriptor.

Enlightenment – Direct experience, direct perception,
direct knowing.

In advanced stages, Truth shines of its own light. And I mean that literally. Unlike our situation here in this world, it does not require the reflection of light in order to be perceived, but shines of its own light—it is known, perceived, directly. The dual situation of reflected light and the darkness of shadow does not exist in the Absolute.

Ultimately, there is union with the Absolute; there is nothing (no thing) to experience or perceive. There is no sense of yourself knowing, perceiving, or experiencing anything. All there is is Joy.

Enlightenment – When the “you” that you think you are,
gives way to the “You” that you really are,
all knowing is direct.

Becoming Enlightened

So how do you become enlightened? Is there something you can do to have an enlightenment experience? Or does it just happen if you’re lucky or have enough good karma? Does enlightenment happen all at once or by degrees?

All of the above. There are no limits to the possibilities in this life, or to the potential in each of us. You can do techniques designed for the purpose, you can meditate, or you can just sit under a tree and hope for the best. Enlightenment can be attained through your own efforts or it can happen when you least expect it.

What you can do is set the stage and create conditions conducive to enlightenment. You can do this most effectively by establishing a meditation practice. When you’re not meditating, you can add knowledge and inspiration by reading the teachings of those who are enlightened or who have had enlightenment experiences.

However you go about it, keep in mind that having an enlightenment experience is not the end of the line, but the beginning of an amazing adventure into internal affairs.

Durga Ma

Go to the list of articles on Enlightenment.

Establish your meditation practice the easy way with my New Dawn online meditation courses, Successful Meditation Techniques, Non Technique Meditation, and Empowerment Meditation. Come away with knowledge, experience, empowerment, and the type of meditation that is most natural for you.

YouTube videos on Enlightenment:
Durga Ma – Guided Meditation for Self Realization
Nirmala Devi – Steps for Enlightenment or Self Realization

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