This article is also available in: German
Enjoy this all-encompassing article on enlightenment. The words in the article are based on an experiential journey into dimensions beyond physical reality. Together, we ask whether it is desirable to achieve enlightenment in today’s society.
A completely different question we could ask ourselves: Aren’t we all already enlightened? Is enlightenment a delusion? I would like to briefly address this as well.
What is Enlightenment?
Enlightenment is still a very undiscovered area of experience for Western cultures. We are mainly familiar with enlightenment from the mystical and esoteric teachings from the East.
With this article, we enter a field beyond logic because we cannot understand enlightenment with logic.
The word “enlightenment” provides a deep insight into these mystical teachings. On the one hand, enlightenment means that we illuminate, experience, and transcend our limited, conditioned identity. But, on the other hand, enlightenment means that in most cases, we no longer maintain a fixed new identity.
After we attain enlightenment, all the karmic connections we have given ourselves for this life dissolve into thin air as we let go of our identity.
At the same time, it also means that we renew old and new karma faster and more diversely based on our actions. So, karma may or may not work in our favor.
The reality is this: Most people with spontaneous enlightenment experiences have difficulty integrating this into their daily lives because there is absolutely nothing left to do through their “new” eyes or is there something left to do?
Osho, one of the great Indian spiritual teachers said the following about enlightenment.
Everyone is enlightened because enlightenment is the essence of our being. How can we be considered not enlightened when it is our essence? From that perspective, we are always enlightened.
Then what do we want to achieve and find when we talk about attaining enlightenment?
We want to access our true self, to feel our divine essence. Perhaps it is similar to the fish in the water or the bird in the wind. For both fish and birds, water and air are like breathing and thinking for us humans. It is normal, so normal that fish and birds don’t even realize they are in the water or air!
Maybe being enlightened is also as normal as air is for the bird and water is for the fish. So normal that we humans have even forgotten how much the enlightenment state is our essence that we live out in everyday life.
“…the past gives you an identity and the future holds the promise of salvation, of fulfillment in whatever form. Both are illusions.”– Eckhart Tolle
Is there a psychological explanation for enlightenment? The field of enlightenment is full of myths and legends. Psychology deals with the psyche of human beings. Enlightenment is an experience of non-physical reality that can severely affect our physical reality.
Since I am not a scientist nor a psychologist, I and can only speak from my experience of exploring consciousness, I do not wish to draw any definitive conclusions. Likewise, the subject of enlightenment is also not meant to draw “final conclusions.” Think of it like a cloud that comes and goes. Every cloud is unique, and so is every enlightenment experience unique in its existence.
What is clear is that such an experience shapes us throughout our lives, including psychologically. Neural structures change permanently and connect in a new way. As a result, thoughts, feelings, and emotions are perceived entirely differently.
Ecstasy may or may not be perceived much more intensely, just like grief or sorrow. This is the paradox of being enlightened.
From a scientific perspective, during an enlightenment experience, all our cells renew at a rate unknown to us. However, there are no measurements for this, as enlightenment is more of an anomaly in this day and age.
The physical, emotional, and mental body is unconsciously prepared for this enlightenment event since and even before birth. So, either people are prepared or unprepared. There is no in-between here.
If we are prepared, we can integrate this experience into our daily lives. We quickly reach our physical, emotional, and mental limits if we are unprepared.
The preparation determines whether we develop resilience after attaining enlightenment from the perspective of psychology or not.
Achieving enlightenment from the religious perspective deals with belief rather than science. Therefore, depending on religious background and beliefs, people perceive an enlightenment experience differently.
It also depends on whether we partially reintegrate karma and identity after such an experience or not.
When people achieve enlightenment, it can also lead them to no longer belong to any religion or suddenly join a religion. All this develops based on the personality of the person.
“Enlightenment means dissolving your limited personality. No persona means a limitless Presence.”Sadhguru
What is Enlightenment in Buddhism?
We can best illuminate enlightenment in Buddhism through Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha we are familiar with. Osho once told the enlightenment story of Buddha. According to his stories, Buddha was the prince of a royal family who was not enlightened from birth but attained enlightenment later in life.
Then, after he became enlightened, Buddha changed the royal clothes for down-to-earth and poor clothes. When Buddha shared this indescribable enlightenment experience with his royal father, the king became angry and upset. “I don’t recognize my son!” So Gautama was to immediately reappear in royal splendor as his father had raised him.
Gautama then said. “Father, you have never known me and have never been interested in knowing me.”
Buddha gracefully refused this request to appear again in the royal splendor.
Even Buddha experienced familial rejection from his father after his enlightenment experience.
Does Enlightenment Really Exist?
Either you experience enlightenment, or you don’t. There is no logic to enlightenment. However, many charlatans are convinced that they are enlightened. Please do not believe that I am enlightened either. It has no demonstrable relevance. The only thing that has relevance for me is that I have not been the same since my personal experience a single day, even though many around me still perceive me as my former self.
Visualize the fish and bird example again. Both animals do not know that they swim in water and fly in air. If as Osho told at one point, enlightenment is our essence – we cannot “experience” it because we have always been, always are, and always will be enlightenment.
In this perspective there is no enlightenment to attain, we can only experience it from within. Like a shell that has hidden its pearl inside, we would hide our inner sun within.
Scientifically proven, there is no such thing as enlightenment. From a religious belief, there is also no enlightenment. Anything subject to a belief or logic can never be compared to enlightenment.
Some things in life we have to experience, and even then, most of the time, we have to submit to the limited logical human communication that wants to understand such an experience.
If the subject of enlightenment interests you, it may or may not have relevance to you. Welcome to the world of enlightenment.
Stages of Enlightenment
For me, there is no stage of enlightenment. Either people are enlightened or not, either people are awake or not.
Some people can feel something serious changing in their lives weeks or months before this event.
Enlightenment Symptoms – How do you feel after enlightenment?
Possible symptoms are so varied that there is no point philosophizing about them. Just as we can experience many physical symptoms such as fever, itching, or relaxation, there are also symptoms after and before enlightenment.
This depends on, among other things, what you identify with, what kind of environment you live in, what your physical, emotional, and mental state is like, whether you have an enlightened master around you, and much more.
At least there is no enlightenment doctor you can go to quickly. And there will be no one to give you a certificate of enlightenment – LAUGHING.
If you look at books and videos of enlightened experiences, you will realize how different all these enlightened people are. Most of them, like Sadhguru, have a personal story that everyone knows. In Sadhguru’s case, according to his stories, it was a meditation experience that felt like it lasted only an hour, and when he stopped meditating, 14 days had passed without him being aware of it.
Also, Osho told again and again about his memorable experience of presence, compared with the experience of Eckhart Tolle, one of the few recognized enlightened people from the West, after the publication of the book “NOW.”
The Life of an Enlightened Man
Most enlightened people live inconspicuously in everyday life without other people ever noticing. Often these enlightened people have never heard of “enlightenment” and do not care.
Many people live after enlightenment as they did before enlightenment with the difference that they perceive all activities from a different perspective.
Depending on the quality of consciousness of the enlightened person, some also decide to be successful or accompany people in everyday life. But, of course, all this is highly individual, as in every area of life.
Enlightened People – Who Became Enlightened?
We are entering a highly speculative subject. We are all always full of curiosity! Is this person enlightened? Yes or no! How do we recognize an enlightened person?
For one thing, our limited conditioning usually plays tricks on us. For another, only an enlightened person will recognize an enlightened person.
I can’t give a personal list of myself here, but only tell you about people convinced that they are enlightened. And since it is almost taboo to talk about it in the West, we have to look to the Eastern spiritual countries like India.
Here are a few enlightened candidates: Sadhguru, Moojiji, Osho, Dalai Lama, Thích Nhất Hạnh
How Do You Achieve Enlightenment?
Not at all. Those who have enlightenment as a goal will never achieve it. The likelihood of it being just another selfish goal is too great. Enlightenment is selfless, uncomfortable, and free of any morality.
Of all the experiences I am aware of, it was never a conscious goal to achieve but always a spontaneous event.
Today, however, we live in a time when many people want to achieve enlightenment. Most people are not aware of what it would mean to be enlightened. Many believe that after enlightenment, they would only live a peaceful, harmonious, and loving life. They forget that it depends on what karma they have brought with them, what their environment is like, and what they have given themselves as a life mission for this stage of their life.
Even if the whole identity dissolves after enlightenment, the immediate environment does not necessarily change or certain conditioned tendencies that we live out.
We need to ask ourselves whether being enlightened increases our quality of life. To do that, we should know what quality of life is for us and what we hope to gain from that enlightenment.
You probably agree that spiritual experiences are often different from what we first imagined. This is because we have to experience enlightenment, peace, and unconditional love. We have never tasted these fruits, and our intellect wants to compare experiences with what is known to us. Our intellect wants to rationalize these experiences and compare them with other people and their experiences. Therefore, we should strive to increase our quality of life, not be enlightened.
“Enlightenment is the ultimate self-realization.”