What Is It Like To Become Enlightened? A Personal Journey
*This article first appeared on the Spiritual Media Blog with Matthew Welsh. Please visit their site.
What Is It Like To Become Enlightened?
Spiritual enlightenment is not hocus pocus, witchcraft-type stuff. It is real. It is the reality found by Jesus, Buddha, Socrates, and other legendary people, but it has also been experienced by many ordinary people like you.
Indeed, enlightenment can be experienced by logical, rational people. It is a transcendent consciousness that anyone can experience. It is not contradicted by logic, yet is not restrained by logic.
Just Because You Haven’t Yet Experienced Something, Does Not Mean It Doesn’t Exist
How do I know what it is like to become enlightened? I have lived it.
It was in the middle of the night in 1969, a day or two after I had gone caroling, when it happened. I was studying for an upcoming exam with my soul still buoyed by the joyous loving spirit of Christmas.
It struck me with no warning what Christ meant when he said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
I Am Within You and You Are Within Me
At our cores, we are one. We are connected through human love. That is why I am happy when I make others happy, and I am unhappy when I make them unhappy. When I first recognized this, it was a simple, yet profound, realization. Later, through subsequent revelations, it was to become more and more profound.
My Continuing Path to Enlightenment
About a year after this first revelation, I met a man who would become my first spiritual mentor. Every night people gathered around him and had discussions about spirituality, life, meaning, and the very nature of understanding. It was at that time that a revelatory feeling came to me.
It was a feeling of being at one with all living things, with the entire universe. Pure infinite awareness. With it came an innate understanding of why people are what they are. It was not an understanding in the nature of an intellectual understanding, but more of a transcendental spiritual awareness.
I was entirely in that Nirvana experience for about three weeks. I developed a philosophy of life during that time that has kept evolving over the years, although it is probably wrong to call it a philosophy. A philosophy tends to be intellectual and is described with words. Although those discussions in his home were comprised of words, those words were an attempt to describe a feeling, an existence, an essence that went far beyond the power of words to describe.
Those words catapulted me to a level of understanding beyond words.
I understood others so completely, and through that understanding of others, I gained a greater understanding of myself. I realized that the human spirit is eternal, that there is a purpose and direction to the universe, and that it is good. I also realized that there is a purpose to life. That, in fact, life is just too profound to be meaningless.
I learned that life’s substance is love, that love is the answer to all, and that Absolute Love is the true reality. I learned that when within Absolute Love, all is automatically known and there is no doubt. With it came the realization that such awareness has always been within me, within all people, and that all one has to do is open to the spirituality within.
Even though such a revelation cannot last indefinitely in this imperfect lifetime on earth, it cannot be forgotten or doubted. It changes one’s life.
The Meeting of Logic and Spirt
I am a creature of logic, as well as of spirit. If I am to believe something, it must not be contrary to my life experience. In my college days and beyond, until my own spiritual awakening, I considered myself an atheist. Now I know that spiritual enlightenment is that Universal Consciousness known by many as God and Nirvana.
I now believe in God, but have not changed my requirement that God not contradict science, history, and life’s experience. What I have learned through hindsight is that my problem with religion was that I had accepted the definition of God taught to me by others, and therefore was forced to either reject such a god or suspend experience.
What I now know is the Word of God is not a booming voice dictating from on high but is really a profound feeling you experience while you are within the Oneness that connects you with all. Perhaps this concept of God will let you see those old religious teachings with new eyes.
The Oneness Within
You can experience spiritual enlightenment with its total understanding and total clarity when you have such a profound innate love and understanding of the universe and its beings that you literally, naturally, automatically, understand others to the core, and see the often-hidden goodness within them. Absolute Love is the essence of existence and the only true reality. When experiencing Absolute Love all is known; there is no desire and no need. It has always been within us and can be found by opening oneself up to it.
This love allows you to connect with others in spite of the differences you may have with them. You recognize yourself in them. After all, you, yourself, are not always the best person you can be, but hopefully, others will still accept you and like you.
This concept has been known since before recorded time and has been proposed by enlightened people of every culture and age.
Here is the best analogy I have ever encountered comparing the Oneness within us to our self-concept as an individual: “The wave awakens to the awareness that it is water; its true origin. Water raises the waves and goes over them at the same time. There are many different kinds of waves, different forms, but water has neither form nor difference; water is homogeneous and formless, and yet the origin of waves of all forms. Waves form and vanish, but water is eternal and indestructible, and it remains so even when it appears and disappears.”
At the heart of all waves is water. Water is the oneness that is common to and connects all waves.
When you can have such a relationship, you are on the path to Oneness. The more that you can have such a relationship with greater and greater circles of beings, the closer you come to the essence of The One –spiritual enlightenment, Nirvana, God.
Coming to Enlightenment
We are all in this together. Your life has no limits and no boundaries. You are a part of everyone else. The idea that you are separate and that you gain at someone else’s loss is merely an illusion. It is the illusion born of matter, but as matter has evolved into a human being, with the capability to conceptualize of life beyond its mere physical body, we can break through the barrier encompassing that illusion of separateness.
When we take that step beyond the reality of the physical to the reality of the spiritual, the dimension where there are no boundaries, where there are no relativities, we come to enlightenment.
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