The Effects of Enlightenment

When you have directly experienced what you really are, you have had an enlightenment experience.

“Directly” means that the senses and the mind are not involved. You can think of this as the mind being by-passed—there is no figuring anything out, no reasoning or remembering. You simply know because the knower (you) and the known (you) are the same, and there is no awareness of anything else. This state of self-realization is referred to as a direct experience, direct perception, or direct knowing.

This enlightened state usually ends within less than a second, and you are back in your body sensing the call of maya (illusion) again. But you will have been affected by the experience and will always remember it. You may even be able to bring this state back by remembering it.

Does having an enlightenment experience mean that you have no ego?

While you were having the experience, during that fraction of a second, it is fair to say that you had no ego. But with the return to “normal”, the ego reasserts itself, and your enlightenment experience is now a memory.

The return to normal will probably not be total and instantaneous, but you are changed. You expect to remain changed, and to some extent you do, but maya’s influence is a powerful thing, and though you remember the experience, much of how things were before the Big Event slowly creep back into your consciousness and into your life. What you may have once believed would be something permanent and final in its effect, turns out not to be. A direct experience doesn’t leave us in an enlightened state that persists from that moment on, so it’s not really over yet.

Final Form Teachings

The expectation of finality is a result of “final form teachings“—we are taught something by being shown, or told, what the end result will look like. Once we have had an experience that seems to fit the picture, we assume that we have reached the final goal. We don’t realize that our minds have created erroneous preconceptions and expectations, and that the actual final form is down the road and we have only just begun.

Because of these expectations, it is easy to fall into thinking of enlightenment as an all-or-nothing situation. This is how most of humanity has been taught to think about everything in this age. But nothing in this life is all-or-nothing. Neither is enlightenment.

Enlightenment, for all but a very rare few (who probably had direct experiences at some earlier point in time), is an experience that passes but leaves its mark. We are affected by this experience in a positive way. Once experienced, it is almost impossible to leave it alone, and we continue to seek it again and again until we are able to remain in this state. We are driven to do what we must to get it back and to sustain it.

A permanent state of enlightenment
takes place by degrees.

So long as there is thought or form, there is ego. No one with a body, even a subtle body—astral, ethereal, or causal—is without some degree of ego.  So the next time someone calls you on the carpet for having an ego, thank them very much for sharing and go on with your day knowing that you can become enlightened, have a mind (your critic certainly does), and still function.

Go to the list of articles on Enlightenment.

Pursue Enlightenment

See Yoah’s videos on Enlightenment:
Enlightenment in a Weekend
Enlightenment Intensives, a two-part documentary.

Find an Enlightenment Intensive: has a list of Enlightenment Intensives and Intensive websites.

Read Yoah’s article:
Kundalini and Enlightenment

Begin or augment your meditation practice:
Online Meditation Courses. Yes, there really is something to learn about meditation and enlightenment.

Apply for shaktipat and Surrender Meditation:
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Read my early experiences with Surrender Meditation:
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Durga Ma

Go to the list of articles on Enlightenment.

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The Mind and How It Works – Part 3, Mental Activity and Inactivity

Mental Activity and Inactivity

Ripples, Waves and Whirlpools (Vrittis) 

The waves of thought in the mind-stuff are called vrittis (literally, “whirlpools”). Ripples, waves and whirlpools arise in the mind-stuff due to external stimuli constantly being ingested by means of the senses and the thought processes associated with them. We cannot see what is behind all of this, we only see the objects presented by the senses. It is like not being able to see the bottom of a perfectly clear lake because its surface is covered with ripples, waves and whirlpools, and why it is said that this must cease in order to catch a glimpse of what lies beneath the surface—the clear, pristine Truth.

Various Forms of Vrittis

The ripples, waves and whirlpools of the mind-stuff manifest as scattering, lethargic, gathering, one-pointed and concentrated. The scattering form is activity that tends toward pleasure or pain. The lethargic form tends toward ignorance of Reality. The gathering form functions when the mind-stuff is drawing itself inward to become concentrated, and the one-pointed form when it is concentrated. The concentrated form of mind-stuff leads to samadhi.


There is no English word synonymous with samadhi. Technically, samadhi is a uniform state of mind, or equilibrium. However, once having achieved it, this definition seems cold and dry. 

Through meditation, with the advent of advanced stages of samadhi, the knower, the process of knowing, and the object of knowledge, merge and disappear into the Absolute. Though the individual that you are remains forever what it is, there is no sense of self, no viewpoint, no sense of experiencing, no mind (as we know it). All desires are obliterated in this ocean of rolling bliss. It is through this samadhi that we acquire the desireless state naturally. (What could be left to desire?) Ultimately, as a result of this samadhi, we go home to ever new joy, the end of all sorrows, and final liberation—the Ultimate Fulfillment.


At its highest, yoga is the cessation of the ripples, waves and whirlpools in the mind-stuff. In the following sutra, yoga is found to be synonymous with samadhi:

yogas chitta vritti nirodhah — Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, I:2

Yoga is (yogas) the cessation (nirodhah) of the activities (vritti)
of the mind-stuff (chitta).

The word “yoga” means union. Yoga is both union and the means of attaining union. Yoga is sun-moon union (hatha yoga) until it becomes royal union (raja yoga), union with the Ultimate, Absolute God. The attainment of this highest union through the equanimity of a uniform state of mind is the ultimate fulfillment. Once having reached it, one never deviates from the means of attaining it: yoga.


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These three issues on The Mind and How It Works, is in the service of setting you up for the next roll of Ancient Mystical Writings on the subject of Raja Yoga (royal union). See you then.

Durga Ma

Shaktipat Intensive, September 15-16
Meditation Teacher Training & Certification
Online Meditation Courses

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The Mind and How It Works – Part 2, The Individual Mind

The Individual Mind  

Mind-Stuff (Chitta)  

The powerful force generated by your consciousness of what is other-than-You, from the view-point of You, is energy. This combination of consciousness and energy is the substance of the mind, or mind-stuff.

If you look up the word chitta, it covers just about everything—mind, memory, intelligence, reason, consciousness, imagining, thinking, noticing, and so on. The list is long. The reason for this is that mind-stuff gets defined along with its functions. Mind-stuff exists because you became conscious of another—the original, perfect, all-knowing and all-powerful You, exercised the ability to be conscious in order to perceive.

There are three processes of the mind-stuff, chitta: manas, buddhi and ahamkara.

The Thinking Mind (Manas)

The word manas is usually defined as “mind,” probably because it gathers data and thinks. Manas is the function of the mind-stuff that flows out to receive impressions of things—images, sounds and so on. We think of this function as our attention, or a flow of consciousness. Once an impression is obtained and determined, manas stores it (memory) for use in thinking, reasoning and figuring things out.

The Determinative Faculty (Buddhi) 

The duality inherent in the relationship between self and other-than-self naturally creates a determinative faculty called buddhi. It is this determinative faculty that receives the impressions brought in by the mind (manas) and determines the nature of the impressions received. Because of this, buddhi is often defined as judgement or discrimination. It is buddhi that sorts things out. Buddhi knows the difference between things. Buddhi knows what’s what.

The Doer (Ahamkara)

When the determinative faculty does its job, the function of the mind-stuff known as “ego” is also activated. Knowing yourself to exist (“I am”), and having become conscious of something from the point of view of you (“I perceive”), you sense yourself as having acted independently (“I do”). The word ahamkara is commonly translated as “ego” but literally means, “I-doer” (i.e., “I am the doer”) and lies at the very core of the mind as a whole.

At the core of this core, is atman, usually translated as soul, self, or “I”.

“I Am”
From this “I” there arises the sense of self, asmita (“I am”). It is from here that you perceive. It is from here that you are conscious of anything that is other than you. This is your your viewpoint, the place you perceive from. 

I Do”
Perceiving seems to be doing something, but who or what is doing it? Enter ahamkara, or ego, the sense of separate self as the doer of action—the perceiver, the seer, the experiencer, the desirer, the knower (”I do”).

NOTE: Keep in mind that the word “ego” as it is used here, is not necessarily consistent with the definition of ego as used in the fields of mental health.


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In the next installment, we will conclude with Part Three on the subject of Mental Activity and Inactivity, next week.

Durga Ma

Shaktipat Intensive, September 15-16
Meditation Teacher Training & Certification
Online Meditation Courses

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