Are you trying to achieve enlightenment? What is enlightenment anyway? Enlightenment is defined as being free from ignorance and misinformation. Let’s take a moment to explore this idea as well as the search or quest for enlightenment that is talked about so much. What does it really mean to be enlightened?
Spiritual seekers have been searching for enlightenment for eons and everyone has a different idea of what enlightenment means. For some, in the East, it is the belief of becoming present, all the time. Some other schools of thought believe that it is about following certain steps of ideologies and principles. Still others believe that it is about repenting. Each one of these things says if you follow XYZ you will become enlightened. To expand on that, it’s if you follow XYZ you will be free from ignorance.
My question is are you EVER free from ignorance? We go through life and we experience new challenges, new struggles, new joys, new hopes, and new parts of ourselves all the time. We can do all that we can, with what we have right now, to be enlightened, to avoid ignorance, to learn, to educate ourselves, but it is not possible to reach a final state of enlightenment where we say, “OK, I’m good, I’m not ignorant anymore.” Who can really know everything in this life? None of us know everything there is to know in this life. We would not be here if we did. When you search for enlightenment what are you searching for?
People want to have a clear simple formula that will assure them peace. But is there one? As we move through life there are constantly going to be new things coming up, and it does not matter how much you learn and how much you grow life will present you with new opportunities to learn and grow, new challenges, and new triumphs. A truer realization of enlightenment is; doing the best that you can with what you have now to learn and grow, and in the next moment doing what you can in that moment to learn and grow. This rather than the check box method of following a list of procedures – “If I complete these steps in this order, I will become enlightened.” - “If I’m present all the time, I will be enlightened.” IF - IF - IF Who the hell is present all the time? I have never met a single person who is. However, I have met people, every single day, just like you who are doing their best and have always done their best with what and where they were at the time.
What does enlightenment mean to you and how would it feel to take an approach of, “I’m going to take the whole of life, and I’m going to give it my all with what I have to learn and grow?
That is enlightened!
Heather Hans, LCSW, MSW, MBA, CPIC, is a Visionary, Healer & Teacher, and the author of The Heart of Self-Love: How to Radiate with Confidence. It is Heather's firm belief that loving oneself is necessary to have fulfilling relationships and a successful life.