If you are coming from an atheist, highly intellectual culture, like I do, where science and facts are given the uttermost emphasis, you might find it hard or ridiculous to even consider thinking about or discussing something that could be labeled as “Spiritual Enlightenment”.
So did I, because through family values, my upbringing, education and things I learned at university I was never seriously confronted with such a concept.
Today however, after many experiences, traveling, reading, interacting with the world around me, I’ve come to find a technique and understanding of what I might call “enlightenment”. There might be other words to describe that experience, but lets stick with this term for now.
The idea of enlightenment, as I understand it has nothing to do with magic or god or religion or any other kind of abracadabra that might sound ridiculous to you. I simply view enlightenment as just another tool in the human intellectual toolbox. Very much like logical reasoning, reading or writing. Albeit it is a powerful and eventually even dangerous tool.
But then again, think about how the skill of reading and writing was once a jealously guarded secret by those who considered themselves to be higher up and in control. And even today, the written word is feared and restricted by certain authorities.
Enlightenment can give you a level of freedom, that you might not be aware exists, but don’t think it might make your life any easier or less complicated, rather the opposite. And I am sure there are people that might fear the prospect of widespread adoption of this knowledge, because it questions and undermines their positions of power. They might ridicule and even fight it.
However, like you were able to learn how to read and write, you can learn to enlighten yourself. And it is not much of a secret either, there are plenty of people who learned to do this, and there are many books and lots of information readily available.
Learning about enlightenment will mainly be helpful to you when you are somehow stuck in your life, when you have desires and wishes that you find unable to fulfill, be it financially, socially, romantically or intellectually. But it is not a shortcut and it does not mean that things will magically fall into place. It is just another tool that can show you the light at the end of the tunnel, and how to get there.
And it is also not a skill that can be learned in a day, or that I can fully explain in this short blog posting. Like learning how to read and write, it might take you a year or two to gain an understanding, and a lifetime to master it. But you will likely experience a number of “aha” effects and significant progress throughout the process.
While you go through this process, you can expect to experience the following sensations. You will become much more aware of your feelings and instincts and you will start to rely upon them to guide you. So for example a lot of the current industry is geared around selling you some stuff that promises to fulfill some desire. However, quite often you’ll fail to get the level of satisfaction and happiness that you desired so much. You will learn to let go of physical things and learn to go for the feeling you want directly.
You will gain an increased sense of your own power over yourself, your surroundings and others, and you will gain an insight into why it is unnecessary and even counter-productive to abuse that power over others to do harm.
You will also find that some goals you expected to be hard, almost impossible to reach, to be suddenly in sight and attainable. You will develop a much deeper understanding of human nature, how people interact, and why things are the way they are, how to change them, and why this is often not even necessary.
Lots of these things are happening with body language, the words we choose to express ourselves with, and also about cultural habits, fears, expectations, etc. In short everything that is characteristic of human nature can be used as a starting point. And conveniently enough, many of these things can be observed, explained and understood scientifically too, if desired. But the goal for enlightenment is not to understand things in a intellectual/scientific way, but rather to develop an additional intuitive understanding that results from “real” and practical interaction with actual people.
So as a first step for learning about enlightenment, you can read about something, and then go out and interact with human beings, observe what you feel, and why, learn what makes you happy, angry, what frightens you, and how the people around you might feel about a situation. Ask them if necessary. 😉
You see, there is nothing magic or mysterious about enlightenment. You just have to continue looking, and learning. See enlightenment as a way of understanding theoretical knowledge in practical human interaction.