Across the globe, it’s very common for spiritual seekers of all types to believe that enlightenment is something that you find through painstaking searching and sacrifice.
Tales of magicians and gurus in distant lands such as Tibet and India entice aspirants to travel abroad for a glimpse of enlightenment.
These beliefs appear to have formed largely due to what we believe to be a corruption of mysticism, an unhealthy emphasis on escapism and fantasy instead of authentic spirituality.
Contrary to popular New Age thought, our findings show that becoming enlightened mostly involves giving up suffering, though not how you may think.
Surrender your need to be attached to your conscious mind–your non-stop thinking mind. The root of your misery is the attachment to the collection of all your fears, defenses, expectations, ego-self demands, worries, dramas, and other mental constructs.
Seekers are dismayed they don’t find enlightenment in exotic locals and they may be shocked to realize that it can be found in their own living-room, sitting quietly by themselves.
They may be even more shocked that some of the most enlightened people they will ever find are not in the New Age movement. They are the everyday types you find in all walks of life: taxi drivers, wait-staff, artists, business owners, construction workers, pilots, housekeepers, and others (but usually not politicians!)
Enlightenment is simply absolute detachment from your conscious mind, accessing your higher-self (or “God-self,”or “God,” etc.). Therefore, enlightenment doesn’t really exist. It’s an absence, not something to acquire.
It’s the opposite of monkey-mind, when your mind is racing and obsessing over things, and a peaceful state of mind seems light-years away.
Meditation is one way to “become enlightened.” We can assure you, if you haven’t already found out, that meditation takes practice and discipline and you won’t get the hang of it or in the healthy habit of doing it regularly after just a few sessions. Your subconscious mind will resist it at every turn in the beginning. It’s your mind’s way of attempting to maintain control, to keep you in the monkey-mind mode. But once you get in the habit of regular mediation, detaching from mind-chatter becomes easier.
Directing your focus toward one single thing exclusively for at least 20 minutes (much easier said than done), such as your breathing, or the terrain in front of you as you walk, instead of your thoughts, is what meditation is all about. It is also, with practice, one sure way to become enlightened. The more detached you are from your mundane mind, the closer you are to your true spiritual self.
By the way, one sure way you can tell if you are still chained to your thoughts is if you are actively passing judgment–judging your experience (instead of simply experiencing it), yourself, or other people, for example.
We also believe that the closer you are to a consistent state of enlightenment, the more you realize that you can’t avoid negative thoughts, such as annoyance at a rude individual sitting next to you on an airplane, but you certainly can detach from those types of thoughts on your way to a more blissful mindset. Your mind will react the way it will react and the best you can do is acknowledge it, while distancing yourself from it.
It’s okay to have believed the falsehood about enlightenment being something that you discover, like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. But now you should act on the truth–that enlightenment is simply a lack of attachment to the constant dialog in your mind. Start detaching from your mind now to improve your life.
Copyright © 2013 Scott Petullo, Stephen Petullo