What we call “enlightenment” is in basically a realisation of truth and the subsequent transformation to consciously live life as human+being. For a while now I have the sense we have to redefine our understanding of the spiritual path or it will be like trying to play an mp3 file on a CD player.
An evolution has happened and the starting point has changed.
Previously enlightenment was for the very few. Those who felt they wanted to walk the spiritual path found a teacher, or joined a monastery and then it was many, many hours of sitting and practice and obedience, reading scripture, practicing devotion and humbleness. And those hours turned into days, weeks, months, years. Enlightenment and a spiritual path was nothing for the masses. In fact, the masses probably knew nothing about it and the teachings were kept secret, only shared with a selected few, deemed to be ready by their masters.
But now, as we are able to buy the most secret teaching in the bookstore around the corner or download the audio-version to listen on the ipod, things have definitely changed. The words awareness, consciousness and spirituality have become mainstream. But not only the concepts – also the practice can be found everywhere. Breathing exercise, yoga, presence, awareness practices requiring visualisation, sound, light, touch or movement of energy. There is what seems to be a terrible hodgepodge of the highest teachings, holy symbols, sacred items, esoteric secrets, mystic truths, adorned by candles, incense, mantras, surrounded by angels, spirits, saints, spheres and what not.
But it just means that everyone has access to the teachings nowadays, in any form or in words or a practice they can truly understand. There are true teachers, gurus and charlatans everywhere, formal or informal, it really does not matter. It often feels to me like a self-directed mass-movement. a wave towards awakening of human kind.
So the old does not apply anymore. It is no longer the hours spent in meditation or in service until a flash of insight reveals the mystery to the adept. Humankind is ready – all it takes is to remove the barriers to live a life in openness and being whole again.
It is no longer about seeking enlightenment – we are enlightened, we just have to realise it. And we do realise it, once the clouds are dispersed. How much, how soon and to what extent is personal and based on individual readiness – or willingness to see what is there to see. Personally I have come to the insight that we are getting exactly the experience we want and also go as far as we feel ready to.
Yes, there is the mystery, the absolute, the emptiness and the ecstasy of the mystic – but being a true mystic, dedicated to the inner life, may be for the very few. What is for the rest of us is a simple understanding that everything is connected. That all is the One and that we are not who we think we are.
We can find this insight when we go deeply within, but we can also see it just observing the leaves on the trees, the grass below our feet , or the sky above us. The mystery is in plain sight and it is always ready to teach us, the moment we are ready to see it.
All it takes is a practice of ceasing judgement and a dedication to observation and enquiry of our own thinking and sense perception. Enlightenment is about total sense perception – it is like being blind and finding our way around using the other senses. So we go above thinking and allow the senses to guide us through life. Everyone can learn that – to be in the present moment and to practice bringing presence to everything that arises. I have been teaching this to many people, with amazing results. Nowadays we are so close to the light of consciousness, it is only thinly veiled and it does not need much explanation. All it needs is some guidance.
What we need is simple, practical advise. Help people to get out of the blame game and start with themselves. Those who suffer are in general more receptive than those who live in imagined stable conditions. But everyone I meet nowadays is ready to some degree – in some it is just a tiny crack, others are wide open.
What they need are teachers and guides so they can make sense of it and stop the confusion and the struggle. Start living their lives suspended upside down, moving forward in their own time and their own pace, safely guarded by those who walked before those who follow.
What I see is a breathtaking evolution happening in front of our very eyes. How fast it will go, I don’t know – I just realise the changes in myself and I marvel at the enormous pace and impact of change. It is a miracle, a total transformation and it constitutes a great responsibility to be of service.
Not to be a sage in a cave, but to transform one’s life and that of those around us.