What is enlightenment?
Some of us know what it meant in the ancient times and perhaps in the eastern world and traditions. Some of us are not even clear on that.
Milarepa, a high level spiritual being sat in a cave for twenty-five years to become enlightened. Sakyamuni Buddha sat in a forest, tortured himself with ascetic practices for five years and almost died, then sat under the Bodhi tree for forty-nine days until he became enlightened.
So enlightenment traditionally is related to meditation practices, spiritual practice and a life of extreme simplicity and purity and having no desires, no attachment and like having no belongings, or more in a physical life, and separating oneself from rest of humanity.
Many people seek enlightenment in today’s day and age and world but not in these traditional ways. Many people seek something different, something more, something bigger, something better, something different. We look for the expanded awareness and consciousness. This is why we have many dating, dancing, many activities that are called Conscious Dating, Conscious Dancing and so forth.
We talk about a moment of enlightenment when we have an ‘aha’ moment, when we have an insight, awareness of something we have done, something we need to do, something what we realised to be true that is different from what we have perceived or done, perhaps before.
“Not creating delusions is enlightenment.“ ~ Bodhidharma
These are moments of expanded awareness and consciousness but these are not necessarily equivalent to enlightenment. What if there is a different level of enlightenment? What if there was enlightenment of the soul, enlightenment of the heart, enlightenment of the mind and enlightenment of the body?
If you are a spiritual seeker and a spiritual reader you may know of ancient text, stories, writings of those who were illuminated, who were simply just the radiance of light in a physical body. Some people think that spirituality and enlightenment mean that you can see with your 3rd eye with open spiritual channels. Many people are psychic and it doesn’t mean that they are necessarily spiritual. Some of us have this misconception that psychic means spiritual. It can be and it’s not necessarily so.
Dr and Master Zhi Gang Sha teaches that enlightenment is to uplift your soul standing in Heaven. He teaches that our beloved body soul sits in a chakra in a body and those who are enlightened, their souls sit in their heart chakra which is the soul enlightenment centre in the body. Those who are not enlightened, their souls sits in the lower chakras. The souls can achieve greater and greater levels of upliftment and sit even in the higher chakras in the body, and to even be above the crown.
Enlightenment is to purify our soul heart mind and body. What does it mean to purify? Purify means to completely let go of selfishness, self focus, focusing on ourselves, our own needs, our own wants, our own goals, aims etc. It doesn’t mean that we completely abandon ourselves and have no aspirations and aims in life, quite on the contrary. Yet it does mean that we focus on making others happier and healthier. This is called service. When we focus what can I do for others and what can I do for many, many people, not just one person in making them happier and healthier. This increases our level of service to others.
Selfless service or unconditional service is nowadays being taught by many teachers as a key. Adam Markel talks in a book, Soul over Matter, that as a business owner, how about if you focus on the success of your competitors as opposed to worrying about your competition and worrying about what they are doing and what you need to do – in other words, focusing on the competition is focusing on yourself.
This is a very advanced perspective that most business owners, big or small, or companies still are very, very far away from, if I may say so. I mean to offend no one. If you are a business owner, a company owner, you can pause to look at this. You can read his wisdom yourself. How would it be? How different would it be if we focus on other people’s success in business?
Most of us know the common saying, “what goes around comes around”. So if we focus on other people’s business success, wouldn’t we receive that also? It just would come in a different way that have us worrying about. How to achieve? How to accomplish? How to have more customers? How to have more income? How to have more this and that?
You could see that this would be the enlightened way of doing business. What about the enlightened way of having relationships? Most of us come completely stuck in relationships at one point or another. We focus on the lack, what is missing, what is not how we would like it to be, and what we would like to change in the other person.
This is a self-centred way of focus. The way we would serve the other person in the relationship would be to focus on how can I make them happier and healthier. What can I do differently? Many people are not able to do this because it comes with the perception that if I do something more for the other person I would lose something in the process. Remember what goes around comes around!
“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment. “ ~ Lao Tzu
What is required is trust and complete surrender and letting go of how things come to us and what comes to us. This requires surrender which is very, very important and some find it very, very difficult to do because we want to know what is going to happen. We want to know the outcome – if I do ‘A’, what will happen. If I do ‘B’, what will happen. We find it difficult to surrender and let go, open, receive and just trust in today’s day and age. Yet these are some of the answers and solutions of how to live life differently, how to have more purpose, meaning, contentment and fulfilment.
“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one's family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one's own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him." ~ Buddha
Enlightenment requires more being than doing. The famous being like Sakyamuni Buddha who reached enlightenment did let go of the earthly life and focus on meditation so as to reach enlightenment. So how much of our day to day do we spend in one form or another in spiritual practice, whether that spiritual practice is chanting, meditation, healing or serving others? All are included.
But most of us find it difficult to perceive to give even 15 minutes, to give half an hour, let alone an hour for spiritual practice, to change our lives, to change the quality of life for us and those around us. To offer unconditional love, to offer unconditional forgiveness is one of the greatest service to others. Yet therein lies the greatest difficulty because we find it difficult to love without conditions because we desire something. If only they did something differently, if only they said something differently, whether that’s the boss at work or the colleague or partner, or the husband, wife, mother, son, daughter.
We find it difficult to forgive. We find it difficult to say, ‘it’s okay, they made a mistake, they are human just like I am’. We find it difficult to position ourselves in the place of the person making the mistake, and realising that could be ourselves also.
What if we just practice unconditional love for a week, for a month no matter what, regardless of what is being said or not, irrespective of what is being done or not. What if we practice unconditional forgiveness exactly the same way? How different could life be?
These are some of the baby steps on the journey of enlightenment. But what if these were the solutions to world peace. What if these were the solution for all of humanity to have inner peace, contentment, perfect health and complete happiness? What if it started with me?
This month I invite you on this journey of contemplating enlightenment, contemplating on how to become more the person who just offers love, who is love, who just offers forgiveness, who just is and embodies forgiveness.
I love my heart and soul.
I love all humanity.
Join hearts and souls together.
Bring love peace and harmony.
Bring love peace and harmony.
With love and light,