I recently had a conversation with a friend concerning another’s opinion of me which centered around the observation of my state of enlightenment or more precisely my lack there of. Although I disagree with the general assessment and personal bias the individual held against me, it did motivate a personal introspection and consideration of what I defined as enlightenment. What was my definition of the word? And how did my comprehension align or misalign with others’ perception? Where did I get to this understanding from? Was it my own or did I adopt it from another source?
When researching enlightenment I began with finding the basic definition. The word literally means illumination or spiritual awakening. This is what I understand the basic concept of enlightenment to mean. When an individual is awakened and realizes the truth of the greater reality that most others on the planet Earth do not perceive, they have become enlightened. Individuals with knowledge of this may have reached this point of their personal soul evolvement, however it is not the sole determinator. Neither is having visions or other supernatural experiences nor is living in a perpetual state of ‘bliss’. Being truly enlightened is about more than all that. It is the complete and perfect realization of the state of one’s true self or nature, stripped of all social conditioning that we acquired as we lived on this physical plane of existence. It is the ability to view and comprehend the limitless transcendental reality of all that was, is and ever will be with the understanding that the individual known as ‘I’ is just a speck in the vast web of the universe.
An individual who is fully enlightened has gained insight into the human mind, which has the distinct ability to keep us trapped within a purely physical reality. When the state of enlightenment is reached all obstacles and limitations have been removed and the enlightened individual understands the positive influence that all human beings have over their own life experience. When In this state there is infinite compassion, wisdom and love for all beings.
This is what I believe the state of enlightenment consists of and these ideas aligned with the majority of information I gathered when researching the concept. My thoughts about enlightenment have changed over time as I evolved spiritually and at this point in my spiritual evolvement I find that my beliefs are more aligned with Buddhism than with other spiritual path. My definition and understanding is more in depth than that which I was given by the observer of my behavior. It was their opinion that enlightenment consisted of being open-minded and of knowing that there were many paths that lead to the same conclusion. While I agree that this is part of the process to enlightenment it is not the whole entirety of it. Enlightenment is greater than a general understanding of religion or spirituality. It is a state of being.
For the individual who has attained perfect enlightenment, it is nothing and everything.