I stumbled upon this write-up in my archives.
This word: “Enlightenment” has always intimidated me…it has given me visions of rising up into a different world, a sphere beyond my reach and therefore I have been trying to understand it for many years now.
Buddhist interpretation of the word… “the awakening to ultimate truth by which man is freed from the endless cycle of personal reincarnations to which all men are otherwise subject” is quite overwhelming.
Then I read about self-awakening: the truth that lies within us, the emotions that guide us toward our goals, that define the purpose of our life. And I arrived at some conclusions.
Enlightenment is not just spiritual, not just a state of transcendent divine experience, which aims at liberation from self, craving, suffering and rebirth. It is the ability to comprehend ourselves, it is the power to peer into our hearts and minds and reach that state of spiritual bliss, which may or may not lead us to salvation. Within us lies a light, a light of thoughts, a light of sanity, of ethereal happiness the light that liberates, which may become divine at some point of time, if we make an effort.
Enlightenment is self-realization…knowing your true self, which may be different from the self you have been portraying to the world.
“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment” –Laozi.
How much you know about yourself? It takes us almost whole of our life to know what lies in our heart and mind; as it keeps on changing.
There are stages when we don’t know what we want. If we are smart enough to figure out, one fine day we realize that our passion is not what we have been pursuing. What we like as teenagers, we may not feel comfortable with, as we grow up.
Our taste for food, our aesthetic sense, our likes and dislikes, our friends, our perspective on life changes and we move beyond the world of appearances. We feel enlightened when our intuition starts guiding us, when we can take mature decisions, when we take pride in our achievements.
So enlightenment begins with plunging into our hearts, analyzing our thoughts and reflecting on the kind of life we have been leading.
Slowly we realize we need another kind of enlightenment: Enlightenment is to know and understand people around us.
How little we know about people around us! This culture of adopting a non-interfering attitude makes us strangers to each other, getting immersed in the sea of our own plans and pains.
Is spiritual enlightenment of any use in such a scenario? Aren’t we too selfish to crave for it?
Can we really attain it if we are oblivious of the suffering around us?
To my mind, real enlightenment comes from helping mankind, from wiping out abuse, discrimination, violence and exploitation around us. Enlightenment doesn’t make us a better person if we seek it just for us. It doesn’t erase our desires or may put an end to our own suffering. In fact it is the suffering that ennobles us.
“Enlightenment, joy and peace can never be given to you by another. The well is inside you.” – Thich Nhat Hanh.
Is enlightenment beyond the reach of common man? I don’t think so.
Would you like to be enlightened in the real sense of the word? I would love to hear from your side.
© Balroop Singh
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