What does enlightenment look and feel like?
People get all weird around religion and spirituality. If somebody told you about reaching a state of enlightenment, what would you think about that?
Well, for me, the pursuit of higher understanding outweighs the pressure to shut up and conform. Even if there’s a chance I’m completely crazy in my belief systems and perspective on life, it’s infinitely worse to hide my truths than to share them.
So: what does enlightenment look like? Ultimately, it’s the prize you get if you hunt for life’s meaning.
I suspect the journey is highly subjective. In my understanding, throughout your life, you’re throwing information into networks of knowledge you have. You can perhaps think of your body of understanding like our planet Earth. There are islands and continents of knowledge and understanding that grow. Over time, the bodies of land (interconnected understanding) grow into each other. And when they do, they can really inform one another. Like 2 separate civilizations encountering each other for the first time and sharing in knowledge and skills. Or imagine learning chemistry with a physics background. When the moment comes when you can bridge the two and think of them together — you’ve grown your understanding by orders of magnitude more than learning each one on its’ own.
That’s just a note about the journey to enlightenment you are undertaking without thinking about it. Your experiences and understandings of the world are a body of work, if you let them be. Many don’t trust themselves to do this work, so they don’t grow in this way and live completely blissfully happy lives conforming to social systems put in place to “catch” them. But you’ll never know how happy you could be. Happiness spreads across dimensions of Life as you pursue meaning, and can give Herculean strength as the spirit grows deeper and deeper.
The key here is a keen focus on truth. As you become more and more honest with yourself, you’ll be able to build that trust.
There’s an entire process I really want to get into detail in another post. It’s the “awakening” phase, where threads pull on each other and bring you deeper down rabbit holes of interconnected understanding. Basically the more “base knowledge” you open your mind to, the more you can keep informing lines of thinking. Then there’s a line “straight from heaven to hell”. When you stumble upon this line (of perspective, is probably the best way to put it), you’ll know. Things will open up to you. You’ll never see the world the same again. And it really doesn’t end there. But at this point, I really started to understand the depth of wisdom in the Bible, I started reading into things much differently than before. And things just made sense. Like experiencing a revelation, then cross-referencing the Bible.
All this build-up, but I really haven’t spoken about the feeling of enlightenment. It feels like pure bliss. It’s stronger than any drug you can take. It really does change you, and why I think if people understood just what this journey is, human civilization would self-actualize by many degrees. Let me explain why the journey to enlightenment feels blissful. As you get closer and closer, you shed beliefs you’ve discovered to be not completely accurate, and strengthen and build upon the beliefs you find to be true. Every step of your thought process, you change how you see your entire subjective experience (life) towards a greater understanding. Each discovery “blows your mind” more and more.
So, imagine getting yourself stuck in a loop that brings all of life, the universe and everything, into more and more crisp focus. And with each adjustment to the focus, you bring yourself higher and higher.
It’ll become harder and harder to keep trusting yourself as you keep going because your “Truth” backbone goes only so deep, but if you’re careful enough, you can get very far.
On another note, you can perhaps lean towards inciting an ego death in this process too, at least I thought it useful for me to not let “self” get in the way of understanding and see what happens to my perspective when “I” am out of the picture. Careful here, you might not be ready to do “normal” things until you put an ego back in its’ place. There’s a reason its there, but hopefully by this point you have a “birds eye view” of your ego and you manage it, not the other way around.
At the peak of my meditation and integration of newfound knowledge, I couldn’t stop smiling. Everything was a celebration of “Life”. Everything. And let me tell you… it’s one big party.