What is enlightenment & why everyone has the ability to attain it
Enlightenment is often termed as a mysterious concept by some religions and people who do not truly understand the essence of enlightenment.
Simply put, enlightenment is a constant state of bliss. The key word here is “constant”. This means that when you are an enlightened person, you would not be affected by anything happening outside at all. You are always in a constant state of bliss (perfect happiness), no matter what happens, you are neither too excited nor sad (as you are not affected at all), you are always in oneness with your soul, you are always joyous, always at peace with yourself and every moment of your life, you are in perfect harmony with yourself and the Universe.
Now it is actually not very difficult to gain glimpses of enlightenment. This feeling could happen when you are really accessing the power of NOW, that is,you are fully in the PRESENT, deeply connecting with your consciousness and inner-self and your mind is at an empty state. This could happen after a deep long session of meditation, or taking drugs (such as LSD –disclaimer -I haven’t done it personally but I’ve read enough to know) or having intense thoughtless sexual act. [Probably explain why there are so many drug addicts & why people love sex so much :P]
The last two options mentioned above are quite short-lived and you can’t really experience much of enlightenment from that as the after-effect fades away quickly and you get even more upset after the effect has faded away as you would probably like to have more all the time, you might even become deeply attached (probably why some people are so attached to drugs and/or sex).
Through meditation, however, is much easier as it is a healthier option and you don’t really need anyone for that,there is no external attachment for anything. All you need is yourself and the ability to access the POWER OF NOW. When I say“accessing the power of now” I mean to empty your mind and only be with your consciousness (soul), i.e. your mind is not thinking about the past or the future or anything. There is no mind, you are only living in the PRESENT, that present is your consciousness, your being, your existence.
Simple 3 steps for meditation:
1) Try to calm your mind and empty your thoughts (you can use numerous techniques for this, whatever works for you, there is really no one size fits all as we are all different. You can focus on your breathing or you can chant a mantra –the purpose is really to take away the focus of your mind on something else; for me, I could just empty my mind quickly without those tricks after practising for 1.5 years);
2) Once you have reached the meditative state (the mindless state), stay there for as long as possible (I recommend 20 minutes everyday);
3) Hopefully, you can experience the joyous and peaceful feeling afterwards (glimpses of enlightenment) –this feeling could vary and sometimes it can be very intense yet calm and peaceful, you feel that the Divine energy is showering upon you.You are so joyous that words simply cannot explain. You realise that you are in oneness with the God within you, you are the Divine.
Once you’ve been there, there is no going back as it is really the most peaceful, joyous and pure feeling one could ever experience. That is why there are more and more spiritual seekers and monks all over the world, trying to attain the state of enlightenment.
As you can see, it is not too difficult to gain glimpses of enlightenment, however, the difficult part is to keep it in a constant state as we are so easily disturbed by the outer world.
To attain enlightenment or almost enlightenment, it would require a lot of practice and dedication into spiritual growth to raise our consciousness (so you know how to control the mind), and to become a more compassionate, loving and simple human being. It also requires that our actions to be completely aligned with our belief, if not you (your consciousness) will always be in conflicts with your mind, thus hindering your spiritual growth.
Also, another way to accelerate spiritual growth is to find a spiritual teacher. And if it is your goal to become enlightened (or self-realisation or God-realisation) in this life but also you do not want to renounce the modern life (this is also not necessary contrary to some people’s belief), you can find a spiritual partner who is also on the same path and share the same belief.
In my view, enlightenment should really be the ultimate goal for the entire human race. Just imagine if the world is full of enlightened or almost enlightened people, who are compassionate, loving, selfless, calm and peaceful, then there would be no wars, no conflicts, no arguments, no trouble, no suffering. As Buddha puts it simply, enlightenment is the end of suffering.
PS. I have personally been very lucky to be awakened spiritually by my guru in India (1.5 year ago) and before that I had been practising yoga for 2 years (so spiritually I was ready when I went to India). and since then, I have also been reading a lot of spiritual scriptures and related books from different spiritual masters such as the Bhagavad-gita (the Indian bible for Yoga), Osho, Autobiography of a Yogi, BeHere Now by Ram Dass, the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle etc. I will write another article about my path to spirituality and how I’ve finally found my life purpose recently (i.e. the answers to Who I am, Why I am here, Where I am going etc.)
I am still at my baby steps on the path of enlightenment, as my mind is also very strong sometimes and my consciousness needs to constantly remind my mind to “BE HERE NOW”.
Conversation between my mind & consciousness:
My mind: Hopefully I will reach the constant state or almost constant state one day;
My consciousness: Let's not hope for the future, let's just BE IN THE MOMENT, as the PRESENT IS ALL WE HAVE and that's why it's called the present :D