Why Enlightenment?

sit in med boy

Why would anyone want to be enlightened?

The ultimate goal of enlightenment is to attain a lasting peace of mind and happiness. It is an attempt to fill the ‘void’. A desire to transcend the pain, the suffering embedded in the human condition.

Why is it that mystics always advise against chasing after enlightenment?

It is because the more you pursue it, the more elusive it becomes.

In the past, spiritual seekers spent lifetimes meditating in caves, or in the mountains, or facing blank walls in cell-like abodes. They tried too hard. I wonder what percentage of them got enlightened  in the end.

It does not seem that such long and seemingly severe process is necessary now. Just my opinion. It is all up to how one chooses to have a go at it.

It is still the most prevalent notion that meditation is the best way to get enlightened. It may be true. Some people meditate a lot, for long hours, for a lifetime; and for sure, they become more peaceful, more loving and more compassionate as a result of quieting their minds and withdrawing from external distractions. But they may never attain the enlightened state they are wanting to reach.

This is because enlightenment is not something to reach out for. Enlightenment, like happiness, like God, is not an object out there that is separate from one’s be-ing. So the harder you strive to reach out for it, the more you are distancing yourself from it because you are perceiving it as something outside yourself.

Do not meditate with the expectation to get enlightened. Meditate to refresh your mind, to ward off stress, to feel more peaceful, contented and connected.

It is, however, possible that through meditation, one may have a glimpse of the Infinite which may ultimately lead to enlightenment. Hence, meditation as one of the potent tools towards Illumination, cannot be  discounted.

Enlightenment is not attained after a long hard work, or through a tensed struggle to finally ‘get there’. What I mean is, it does not come by subjecting oneself to self-flagellation-like rigid disciplines.

It is not handed to the aspirant by somebody else, say, a guru.

It is a realization. No, it is even easier than that – it is revealed when you relax and let go of the tightness.

It is something already existing in you, but you are just not consciously aware of it.

True enlightenment is not something given or transferred from one person to another as this would be like saying that one person has God in him while the other has not.

Nobody can give you what you already possess. But if it is in your belief system that you do not have it, and that you then have to ‘obtain’ it from another, you will manifest the reality where you create a middleman/woman to hand enlightenment, or God to you. It is not wrong; it is just a long, indirect process where there is a huge possibility to get lost in translation.

All a good teacher can do is to activate some vibrations or frequency within you that may facilitate your own enlightenment.

By using the metaphor of awakening from sleep to refer to enlightenment, many spiritual teachers talk about the experience of awakening from a deep slumber to be like the experience of spiritual enlightenment. Because when you are sleeping, you are not aware. When you awaken, you become aware.

You become aware of what?

You become aware of your true self. You become aware of the true nature of  reality.

And so?

And so, as the awakened ones have said, this awareness brings lasting happiness and an imperturbable inner peace. And, indeed, who does not want these?

The question remains, how to get there from there?

Really, don’t try too hard. “Just be.”

It is hard to say more without going deep into metaphysics. But most of the time, metaphysics, instead of making it clearer, muddles it more. So we leave it at this, for now.

“Just Be.”

5 thoughts on “Why Enlightenment?

  1. I guess enlightenment comes from within than outside. As meditation is best way to examine inner self and get inner peace many people in the past meditated in the caves for long time. Why we need enlightenment ? Is it because of the peace it spreads across the world?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Allu,

    “It does not seem that such long and seemingly severe process is necessary now. Just my opinion.”

    I’m glad you added the proviso. No harm in speculating, but I would say the best advice would be not to imagine you know how to get there until you’ve arrived. It would be frighteningly dangerous to form strong opinions beforehand. It’s a funny thing about sudden realisation and grace, that they seem to favour the consistent practitioner.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter J,

      Thank you for your thoughts. I think my opinion is formed both by experience and observation. As we see these days, the younger generation comes with “knowing.” They know more than that of the older generation knew when the latter came into the physical world. A new generation came already knowing high technology, among other things. Many of them come with “knowing” that God is within, this is why most of them have no interest in joining religions compared to the older generation.

      With regards to enlightenment, have you heard of a Zen Buddhist story about a notorious criminal who just came out of prison and got instant enlightenment upon hearing a Koan? A pious monk asked the Master for an explanation to this, for it indeed appears very unfair that a murderer gets instant enlightenment while he and the other monks have been righteous, following the rules, meditating everyday for many long hours yet enlightenment eludes them. The Master’s answer is because the criminal had earned it in his past lives, and in this current life, just at that moment, he freed himself from all the constructs of the mind and he just “got it.”

      So, if you are one who thinks in linear terms and believe in reincarnation, an explanation is that the younger generation now who comes with the “knowing,” and some even come already enlightened, is because they have been those monks and spiritual seekers in the past who spent a long time meditating in caves and mountains and facing blank walls.

      So there is really no unfairness in it all. And if you are one who is practicing consistently and you do not get it now, there is always a “next time.” And you’ll be the younger generation in that next lifetime who comes with the knowledge, and it may even be greater knowledge than what we currently have now.

      Hence, you can never really tell who gets enlightened and not just by outward appearances 🙂


        • No probs, 🙂 I’m not against your comment at all, for how can I be? It is all perspective, all Storytelling as I always say. If you’ve read my earlier posts on ‘What is Enlightenment’ and ‘How Do We Know if Someone is Enlightened’. Cheers!

          Liked by 1 person

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