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, 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.