Is Spiritual Enlightenment Earned?

In my perspective, the answer is no.

To be enlightened, all an aspirant has to have is a pure desire to be enlightened. Desire is the key. Without the desire for anything, that desired thing does not occur in one’s reality. Hence, I found it ironic that Buddhism shuns desire when it is the very act of desiring that summons experience, that summons life. And to determinedly rebuff having a desire is itself an intense and arduous desire. Perhaps Buddha was misunderstood.

Spiritual enlightenment is not earned. That is, if ‘earn’ entails doing some specific steps, processes, or special actions to earn points and merits to make enlightenment happen.

When I was little, my catechist Catholic mother and Baptist brother passionately discussed whether the grace or the mercy of God is acquired through good works. The Bible stated that the grace of God is not acquired through good works, but through faith – and faith alone. I found this to be true in the case of spiritual enlightenment.

Amidst all the unfairness, injustices, strife and tragedies we see around us, it seems to me that the fair, merciful, and just Creator made sure that the Kingdom of God is accessible to everyone, regardless of who they are and what they do, or not do.


If spiritual enlightenment is attained only by doing certain good works or any of the so-called preconditions to enlightenment, it would be unfair since not everyone is in the position to act in certain ways to get enlightened.

For example, some people can’t afford to attend spiritual talks and seminars, buy certain books, or travel long distances to meet a certain guru. Does it mean then that these people are unfortunate (have bad karma) and are farther from being enlightened (or are more distant from the Kingdom of God) than those who are in the position to do one or all of these things?

Those who dress in certain ways, eat only certain “spiritual” foods, speak softly and calculatedly, offer money and incense to a deity, live in an ashram with a guru, meditate long hours, chant mantras – are they any closer to God than those regular-looking people in the street?

Third Dimensional tools and processes do not guarantee that one gets closer to the truth, or to God. Tools could be helpful up to a certain point, and then if one clings to them, like most seekers do, they become the trap of the seeker.

So what to do then?

There is no one right or even wrong path to God. There is no secret method available only to a chosen few. There are no specific steps, procedures, or hallowed practices that one must strictly adhere to in order to get closer to God.

But in every thing desired, whether it be spiritual awakening or any other wanted thing or experience, all one needs is a burning desire that is so pure and focused. This intense desire itself is what summons the means for one to access all that one uniquely requires for his or her journey towards enlightenment. If one needs to meet a certain teacher, or to travel to a certain place to get to the goal, what is needed to do all these things will be provided for, in expected and unexpected ways.

However, if the means towards what is wanted does not show-up, do not despair. This only means that you do not really need what your physical mind thinks you need in order to be what you want to be or where you want to be.

After all, if it is God you seek, if it is the Truth you seek – know that It is within. And the one who looks inward, rather than outward, is the one who will find It.

The Kingdom of God is very much open for those who seek it. There is not even a gate or a heavy door to push open in one specific fashion or another in order to get in.

Just enter.


11 thoughts on “Is Spiritual Enlightenment Earned?

  1. Is so rare that it is easy to feel as though it is only for the chosen or the special. Having gone through it myself I have come to see that it is simply a latent state of being that every single soul on the planet could experience were we to have the right type of culture to support it

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    • Yes, that’s what I’ve found out too. Enlightenment is accessible, here and now, to everyone if it’s what they truly want to experience in this lifetime. Many may say that they truly want it, but why is it not happening to them in spite of all their yearning and efforts? My observation is that it is because the path is very tricky. Humanity is riddled with dense constructs and confusing belief systems about what enlightenment is all about, or how an enlightened being must conduct himself or herself to show that he or she is indeed enlightened. Those looking from the outside (those who have not yet pierced through the veil) tend to say that enlightenment is only for the special. It is because that is what they’ve been told to believe. And as they cling to that belief, it would be very difficult for them to enter because such belief obstructs their very entrance.

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  2. I’m working on developing a system for this…the old methods can work, but the Indian and the Chinese (Taoist) methods are missing an important element. I think it’s a natural state that’s been blocked due to cultural beliefs and ignorance.It involves using somatics as well as a release method for clearing the path. The golden flower is an important one, which is roughly similar to vipisana…yet all seem to lack a bridging element, almost as though each method is simply waiting to be bridged…or integrated into a larger, perhaps (?) more complete method.

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    • Yes, enlightenment is our natural organic state that has been tampered with by ignorance and flowery storytelling. If you sift through the dense Indian and Chinese literature, however, you may actually find the missing element you are looking for. I found that the complexity and richness of these cultural spiritual traditions has unwittingly also become their burden when it comes to going straight, directly, to the point or to the “core element”. This is why, in my own method, I chose to do away with established paths or methods followed by the many. I don’t even use culture specific jargons such as vipasana or ‘golden flower’. I’m not deeply familiar with such terms although I have an idea what they are. The knowledge of those concepts had not been necessary in my transition. The moment you borrow a term from a certain tradition, in order to be understood by someone who is not immersed in that tradition, you have to fully explain the concept in context. That method, for me, is a complicated method which does not jive well with my natural inclination to be fluid and simple all the way.

      Good luck on the system you are working on. Just see to it that it does not become so systematized and rigid and dogmatic that it ends up like how the old methods have now become 🙂 . . . I am sure that the many, who are looking precisely for what you have to offer, will find it; it will greatly benefit them in their journeys. Involving the somatic does indeed need emphasis at these times, especially that we have fragmented ourselves for so long and have relegated the somatic aspect as less important in the spiritual journey.


      • I awoke with no method or path…pathless since a teen. Having said that, I was able to see what did it for me, the trigger (s). What’s curious was when I tried to find evidence of my condition in others, I found it in gnostic texts. They were on to it. But there are others who were on to it, too, but they emphasize some things over others and it seems like a partial piece to me-partial because of belief and bias. I never knew about golden flower either, but when I read through, I saw the one shining kernel. But then all this other stuff.

        You don’t need to know these traditions. I didn’t. But in reading some, I see what hits the nail on the head and what’s less important. More than that, all these pieces can all be spoken about in simple terms, no dogma necessary….brought together in a whole using the best of them without any isms. This can be told so anyone can understand. It’s precisely because I have followed my own inner prompting to resist any method or school of thought that the good in all can be seen. When there is no side, there is clarity and simplicity.

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        • You describe, what for me is, an ‘ideal path’, if there is such a thing – the pathless path. It maintains the freedom and self-reliance that had been lost in many religious and spiritual groupings. I always feel amused when someone says no one could reach the Divine without a guru, or without belonging to a group. What a farce!

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          • I know, right? I have had very polite gentlemen of the Indian persuasion write me explaining how I have not achieved kundalini because a guru must do that or, “Only possible through diksha” they say. I of course have to look up what that word even means…This happens when people marinate in a system of one kind or another…and become brittle and closed. And we all get captured by this if we aren’t careful, fully believing in it…. because. It’s a new day. I’ll take the best and leave the rest, says this kundalini cowboy. Glad there are others of similar resourcefulness and mind!

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            • Hahaha :D. Those are the well-intended kinds (maybe) who would send me running in the opposite direction! Yeah, it’s a new day! The earth has shifted many times already and yet many are still stuck with the old energy. And they go round and round and round – not that it is wrong, it just bores me. 🙂


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