In this third and final installment, we will continue to discuss some of the most common reasons people fear enlightenment, as well as the antidote to these inaccurate belief systems.
Reason #4. I will spend all of my time in some meditative state and/or in non-dual awareness, and I really am not interested in that type of existence.
I am not really interested in that type of existence either, even though I am very intent on going deeper and deeper into enlightenment. Contrary to what many students and teachers of Eastern Spirituality believe, enlightenment is not about obtaining and permanently resting in the alternate reality of non-dual awareness, but rather it is in part about obtaining a full range of motion of consciousness, so that we have the ability to follow and embody our Highest Self in each and every moment, no matter where it takes us. Quoting my first book, Reinventing Truth,
“Sometimes, Divine Will for your life may be to be in a transcendent reality at peace with all the ‘bad’ things going on around you, feeling blissed out knowing that all is well and as it should be. Other times, Divine Will for your life might be for you to be down in the trenches in the physical world and in a ‘less enlightened’ place, seeing that the bad things are bad, and taking action fueled by your anger at the injustice you see around you, battling for good, right here, right now, with your bare feet and your hands in the dirt.”
Achieving moments of transcendence and shifting into non-dual, absolute reality is certainly part of the path of enlightenment, but it is near the beginning of the path, not the end.
Reason #5. We can’t be fully enlightened in physical form; it’s not possible anyway.
It would be easy for us to believe this to be true because we don’t see too many fully enlightened humans running around, and also because Buddhist teachings explicitly support this inaccurate belief system. Buddhists believe that we achieve full enlightenment by destroying the ego and exiting cyclic existence, ending the cycle of rebirth. The fact is there is no end to cyclic existence, and part of our path of enlightenment is healing our wounded ego, not destroying it.
Rather than annihilation of self, enlightenment entails developing a perfectly clear mind, a perfectly open and loving and powerful heart, and bringing all of our other energy and intelligence centers into perfect alignment with our Highest Self, getting every aspect of our Self (including our ego) to a place where they, and hence we, are totally healed and whole. This is possible in human form; we can be fully enlightened for this stage in human development.
As our species continues to evolve biologically and spiritually, a fully enlightened human 10,000 years from now is likely to be more enlightened than a fully enlightened human today, but this difference in degree is not about different levels of healing and perfection – it is about biological and spiritual capacity to embody and channel light, a capacity which grows over time as a natural result of evolution.
As such, enlightenment itself is not a static endpoint, a fixed light at the end of a fixed tunnel. It is instead the point of pure light at each cycle around the spiral staircase. Our journey towards higher and higher levels of enlightenment is never-ending, but this does not mean we cannot reach full enlightenment on each journey around the wheel, each revolution up the upward spiral. We can, which means “I’m only human” is no longer a good excuse for being less than you can be.
In closing, with some of these misconceptions out of the way, perhaps you are ready to deepen your commitment to attaining enlightenment for the benefit of yourself and all sentient beings? If so, you only need to do one thing – surrender to your Highest Self, your Most Fully Conscious and Enlightened Self, and in that surrender process, I recommend you ask God or the Universe or your Highest Self for ever-increasing discernment and faith.
That’s it; just one step and you are on your way. Get ready to spread your wings and fly. Enjoy the journey.
What are the other reasons you or people you know reject enlightenment? I invite your comments.