Image source – Pixabay
Spiritual awakening and spiritual enlightenment are often used synonymously or linked with each other. One reason for this could be that the terms spiritual awakening and spiritual enlightenment have been used in describing several things. Not only that, both spiritual awakening or enlightenment differs from person to person and is a very complex experience. This makes it even more difficult to understand enlightened definition clearly.
Most of the enlightened definition is too specific. Separating yourself from life or creating a new identity without any ego is one of the definitions which has very little scope and sets the bar too high for everyone. If this enlightened definition is taken as the only definition, it means that none of us can actually qualify as an enlightened being.
Going back to history, the first and the oldest concept of enlightenment comes from India and its spiritual culture. The enlightened definition can be traced to Buddhism, Hinduism as well as yoga. Hindu yogis and Buddhist monks are said to have given the earliest enlightened definition and the term was used to refer to the highest form of spiritual attainment.
Again, different schools of thought have different versions of enlightened definition. Most of these traditions seem to be different in their own way, however they do reach consensus in some points which are:
· Spiritual enlightenment is permanent so once you have reached that stage you won’t lose it.
· You need to cut off ego to reach self-realization.
· You reach emotional maturity and is able to leave all kinds of sufferings behind.
In addition to Hinduism and Buddhism, this concept of spiritual enlightenment is also found in Christianity. Here, it is called salvation or uniting with god. Sufiism is also another culture that has a similar concept in it.
So how does spiritual enlightenment help you? If you have achieved enlightenment already, you are able to understand the world, yourself as well as the people around you even better. As mentioned before, this experience is unique to each individual. Therefore, this is an unexpected experience that cannot be defined in a specific way. However, one thing is quite clear, to achieve spiritual awakening or enlightenment, you don’t have to be religious at all.
Achieving spiritual enlightenment – the stages of it
It is a unique experience but different cultures mention some stages or steps that are involved in achieving enlightenment.
Having a thorough understanding of your surroundings as well as the people around you kickstarts this process of enlightenment. You are no longer clinging to your past and you find yourself optimistic about the present. People also tend to feel happier and calm in this stage.
In the next stage, you feel an intense connection with everything- be it animals or trees. One way to describe this experience is the merging of your soul with that of the universe. In other words, you have started to find satisfaction and happiness in every little thing, found in this world.
The last stage is where it hits you that it is not a connection with the universe you are experiencing. What you finally understand is that you are a part of everything.
Signs of enlightenment in an individual
Childhood memories and relationship with family
Sometimes people on the path to enlightenment do tend to think about their childhood memories. This is because a lot of them have experienced some kind of trauma when they were children. To attain self-realization, it is essential to heal these.
Our perspective of the surroundings around us and who we are is based on these memories of childhood. It then becomes necessary to revisit these memories to heal and fix them before going ahead.
Even more important is having a healthy relationship with our families, especially parents. They are the ones who have been quite a significant part of our life. To reach emotional maturity and mental strength, you have to heal old wounds. Therefore, on the path to spiritual enlightenment, this process is important.
Coming out of your comfort zone
Most people throughout their life live in a bubble full of unrealistic expectations. This can be incredibly dangerous to be in such a comfort bubble, as it takes away from what reality is. You have to be courageous enough to explore and take risks. Maybe even go into the unknown to find yourselves.
It is only when we walk away from this safety bubble, that we evolve and begin to learn. Only by accepting reality and exploring the world can we understand our purpose in life better. Therefore, this step becomes necessary to take in order to continue our path to enlightenment.
Cutting ties with dysfunctional relationships
Some people will stay in relationships which are one-sided and unhealthy, even thought they know it won’t work out. Such people find it difficult to walk off from damaging relationships and often try to defend their decisions. In this situation, you fool yourself into thinking things will get better eventually and therefore you succumb to an illusion.
Doing this prevents you from growing as a person in this world. Negativity always hampers one’s growth and you need to have positive relationships or positive influences in your life to evolve.
When you are on the path to spiritual enlightenment, you have to walk away from toxic relationships. One way to do this is using spiritual knowledge and saying goodbye to such relationships. This can push you even closer to spiritual awakening.
Physical health is equally important
Physical and mental health are equally important yet some people on the spiritual path think that only mental heath matters. This might be because spirituality has everything to do with controlling your mind and thus everyone tends to forget the importance of good physical health.
In today’s hectic life, it becomes important to take care of your body. People knowing the importance of health tend to follow a strict diet and exercise regularly to keep the body fit. Such people, however, are in a minority. Therefore, conversations should take place around physical health to motivate people to exercise.
Always ready to learn
The hunger for knowledge for new things and exploring life is something that only few people have. Such people are always trying to explain this complex world. All these people tend to energetic and adapting and learning new things gives them immense pleasure.
Human nature is to learn as much as possible and evolve with each step. Those who tend to be eager when it comes to learning always are much closer to achieving spiritual enlightenment or awakening. People like these follow their passion and create their own version of reality.
Being optimistic and positive
Most people don’t realize their true potential and end up underestimating themselves. They don’t believe in their abilities which again hampers their growth. A major step on the path to enlightenment is to be aware of your emotions or thoughts and the power they hold.
People who constantly think negative thoughts or are around negative people remain unhappy and dissatisfied with life. Therefore, it is necessary to find happiness in little things that the world has to offer and have an optimistic view of life. Only then can you achieve enlightenment.
Knowledge about life and its importance
In today’s fast paced world, most people have 9-5 jobs which takes over half their time. When you ask them what they love about their work, most of them tend to answer that they hate it.
Working under pressure and deadlines tend to make people unhappy and deprives them of their creativity. Thus, the only motivation to work then becomes monetary compensation.
Money is certainly important but working solely for it may give you wealth but not satisfaction. People should understand that they get only one precious life so why waste doing something that you are not passionate about.
When you do something that you enjoy, money and success are sure to follow. Individuals on the path to enlightenment will have self-awareness about what they want. They focus more on their spiritual growth and are ready to follow their passion- wherever it might take them. This understanding only inches them closer to their goal – spiritual enlightenment.
We have so many diverse cultures, traditions, languages and religions. As a result, people’s opinion differs from place to place. Individuals living in Asia might understand things in a certain way while those staying in USA may have a different understanding.
However, spiritual enlightenment and enlightened definition is something all cultures have something in common. The constant search to reach the highest potential of human beings is something everyone can agree upon. The concept of spiritual enlightenment and enlightened definition is very wide and gives you the freedom to pursue in a way that is comfortable for you.
Therefore, enlightened definition means a time for spiritual growth. Spiritual enlightenment is the key to understanding ourselves and a phenomenon that pushes us towards the world of spirituality.