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The following was a question received from Mary which is wonderful and brings a lot of common ideas out into the open:

Question: I’ve come across the topic of enlightenment so often lately that I’d like a clear perspective on it. I find the idea confusing because it seems to be a worthy aim for the spiritually focused, yet it is said that those who say they are enlightened are not, and others say that it is better to work for personal maturity rather than enlightenment. Others say that it’s no fun being enlightened, while others say it’s pure bliss. So what is it really? How to get there, what does an enlightened life look like in our here and now life?

The concept of enlightenment, I find with some humor, is one which is filled with much non-enlightened thought: that is, thought based in separation and ‘ego’. Firstly, the concept is a label for an experience decidedly without labels. It is an experience of utter freedom â???? but whatever thought you have of what enlightenment is will always be accumulated from others. It is again, something someone else tells you is a better way.

Second, in most people’s thoughts it implies an end to growth, conflict, and issues. Once this magical state is achieved then there is nothing more to learn; one can live in bliss. It is thus a more new age equivalent to the concept of heaven.

Lastly, there is the assumption that enlightenment is ‘better’ than what you are experiencing at this very moment, in the Now. It is separate from what you are in this instant. It is somewhere you have to get to.

Some others’ references to enlightenment:

  • In Hinduism, it is moksha, a final release from one’s worldly conception of ‘self’.
  • In Buddhism, it is the end of suffering. The mind is free from craving, anger, and other afflictive states.
  • In David Hawkins’ levels of consciousness in Power versus Force, it is the level at which non-duality is perceived.

It is the latter which seems to describe it for me, but there is of course value in all of them. When reading, it is always easy to intellectualize the concepts, which is very hazardous when dealing with something beyond the intellect. The key is the usage of perception in the description. It is not something you take a pill for, to transmute “bad” energies into “good” ones.

Channeling

To give the perspective from the “other side”, we asked about enlightenment when channeling :

We find no particular merit to the term ‘enlightenment’ other than in acknowledging for you the possibility for greater awareness of Love. You are already complete simply as you are. By this, we mean that you are All That Is, and nothing less.

Within this completeness, of course, is a universe of range for experience and perception. You can experience complete separateness and disunity. You can never actually be less than All That Is, but within your entire being you can experience extremely limited perceptions.

The perception that most people would call ‘enlightenment’ is simply an awareness of the fundamental interconnection of All That Is. Because it is a perception, from this state there is nothing that happens to you (an external force operating upon you) but rather simply experiences of you meeting your Self. Externally this looks identical.

There is thus no true need to transform negative emotions or thoughts, because you are All That Is, which includes them. Having different perceptions of what these energies are leads to radically different experiences. It is hard to see the interconnection and oneness of All That Is while disowning parts of yourself, but it is still possible to choose this. Indeed, while having expanded perception you see the beauty and wonder of all choices.

This perception is of course not an end, but rather a beginning. Greater perceptual awareness will always lead to more energy, more growth, more freedom, and more possibility. The perception of oneness is not the same as the experience of it, which is what the soul craves; to know Self through experience. This you are already doing.

And so, we wish you to understand that you are already engaged in the process of knowing and loving your Self, whatever you may be doing. Enjoy your process. It is the process that is important, not the “result”. From here comes the old adage: you are already enlightened, but you simply do not perceive Who You Are.

Those who advertise

It is of course true that those who advertise their state as enlightenment as ‘better’ are not likely to be in this state, for then they would not see it as ‘better’. It may be there are those who perceive true oneness are in a state of pain. Ramana Maharishi had painful cancer in the final year of his life, but was said to be peaceful and serene through the pain. Again, it is the Zen koan: “Zen is like a finger pointing at the Moon”. It is much more helpful to know the moon: point towards your Self.

And so if you perceive Who You Are, are you really any different? Is it any better? Again, that is your choice. There is nothing lost and nothing gained, for you are always Who You Are.