By George A. Boyd © 2017
Q: What is enlightenment? It seems every group has their own description of what enlightenment means, and it is confusing.
A: There are many definitions of enlightenment. It may be helpful for us to break enlightenment down into its component parts, so you can understand what it happening.
- Enlightenment is a state experienced in the Superconscious mind. In it, you transcend the personality and your attention becomes completely absorbed in a spiritual essence. In Mudrashram® we look to your union with your ensouling entity at the cutting edge of spirituality as the natural nexus of enlightenment; in other groups, they may define this enlightened essence as a nucleus of identity, spirit, or ensouling entity outside the cutting edge of awareness.
- In enlightenment, you experience Gnosis. This is a state of identification when the God Atom in the core of the Soul awakens, and you identify as that inner Divinity. You are conscious that you are one with the God Immanent, the Presence of God within your Soul (Atma Samadhi). In groups that teach you to identify with another spiritual essence, you experience a similar state of Gnosis for that spiritual essence.
- In the ecstatic state of enlightenment, your illumined mind (Buddhi) turns on so that it reveals every level of your Superconscious, Metaconscious, Subconscious, and Conscious mind. It reveals the seed atom in which your Soul is reflected and all of the content at each level of the mind. In groups that lead your attention to focus on another spiritual essence, there is a similar multi-dimensional insight that is kindled.
- In this state, the highest octave of will within you is switched on, and you become aware of all of the latent powers of your Soul. If you are meditating on another spiritual essence, you will experience the abilities (siddhis) that are anchored on that part of the Continuum.
- In enlightenment, you experience the relative omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence that are present in your God Atom—or in another spiritual essence that other Paths use for contemplation. This is a state beyond time and space, beyond body and universe—you feel a sense of ecstatic god-likeness.
- In the enlightened state, your ego boundaries temporarily dissolve and you experience yourself as the God Atom within your Soul. You may feel that a veil has been rent, and you are finally at one with the true core of you—your ego and personality are revealed to be vehicles for the Soul’s expression—and you break your identification with these personal integration centers for the period you are in the state of enlightenment.
- For many people, the Kundalini Shakti will be fully raised into the God Atom with in the Soul in the state of enlightenment. When this occurs, the personality shuts down and you experience the Soul in its primordial light. When Kundalini drives enlightenment, you experience is an ineffable state; you are unable to speak. It lifts you into a mystic state, which dwells far beyond the ability of reason or intellect to penetrate. It grants you ecstasy, conveying the highest bliss and joy. [The awakening of the Kundalini is not required to experience enlightenment, but when your enlightenment experience combines Kundalini awakening with attentional union and identification, it is much more profound.] In other Paths, Kundalini is raised to activate other spiritual essences, which similarly intensifies the experience.
There are a number of misconceptions of enlightenment, which we would like to briefly address.
- Enlightenment requires that you transform a spiritual essence to a particular state on the Path. For example, some traditions teach that attainment of the 7th chakra on a Supracosmic Path or awakening of the brain chakra in the First Cosmic Initiation convey enlightenment. Actually, you can experience enlightenment at any stage along the Path on which your spiritual essence unfolds.
- Enlightenment occurs after only years of meditation. You can experience the enlightened state relatively early in your meditation career if you use selected meditation tools effectively. There are teachers who specialize in training you how to enter the state of enlightenment—they report even novice meditators are able to enter this state.
- Once you become enlightened, it is permanent. It is only permanent if you do not ever separate your attention from the Divine Atom within you—most people who experience the enlightened state of mind spend time in this ecstatic state, but return to normal awareness again.
- The awakening of the Kundalini is required for enlightenment. As we have said before, if you reach the state of enlightenment and your Kundalini concurrently awakens, you will have a much more powerful experience, but it is not required.
- Enlightenment means realizing you are Brahman. In Vedanta and Advaita Jnana Yoga traditions, enlightenment is defined as identifying with Brahman. We suggest that this is an enlightened state, a state of Samadhi, but enlightenment is normally associated with the God Atom within the Soul or other spiritual essence—the God Immanent—rather than the Soul of the Universe, or God Transcendent, like Brahman.
- You cannot attain enlightenment unless you maintain the highest standards of virtue and purity. Keeping the heart, mind, and body pure will certainly help your meditation, but it does not guarantee enlightenment. We suggest facility with meditation combined with the Grace of God and the Masters plays a greater role in attaining enlightenment than holiness—spiritual literature abounds with stories of rakes and scoundrels who had an enlightenment experience despite being sinners. Indeed, the enlightenment experience inspired them to change their behavior and dedicate themselves to God, which ultimately transformed them into saints.
- You can only become enlightened if you receive an attunement from a Master. The granting of Light Immersion or Shaktipat can trigger enlightenment, but many people experience the enlightened state without this Omnific Attunement.
- Taking a psychedelic drug can make you enlightened. Some people, in the proper setting, have touched the state of enlightenment during their drug experience. People have reported these experiences with LSD, peyote, mescaline, psilocybin, ayahuasca, and other hallucinogenic drugs. These drugs take you on a passive astral journey, where you have little control over the depth to which you travel in your mind or the locations you visit, so while some individuals have had enlightenment experiences with these substances, the vast majority of people do not.
- Once you attain enlightenment, you have completed your spiritual journey—there is no higher state to attain. When you become enlightened, you gain the relative enlightenment available in the nodal point where your Soul dwells. The Soul—or other spiritual essence—still must complete the remainder of its spiritual development to rise to Mastery and Liberation. Many misguided individuals, having an enlightenment experience, have concluded they were Buddha or Jesus Christ. We point out that Buddha and Jesus transformed their spiritual essences to the highest state of development on many bands of the Continuum. Look in the Hierarchy—they are there. Look at the stage of Perfect Master or Sat Guru on Transcendental Paths—they are lineage holders among the long line of Masters who bring the Light anew to those of each generation.
- Only my Master is enlightened. Enlightenment experiences can be had at each level of the Continuum—Subtle, Planetary, Transplanetary, Cosmic, Supracosmic, and Transcendental. They can be had on each of the active Supracosmic Paths and on each of the Transcendental Path. They are not the exclusive province of any Path or lineage.
- When you become enlightened, you become an empowered teacher. Empowerment means that the Divine anoints you to minister, guide, teach, and initiate at some level of Mastery on the Continuum. Some rare individuals have become enlightened concurrently when they were anointed, but most individuals have an enlightenment experience way before they ever ascend into the presence of the Divine and they are empowered to operate as an Initiate or Master.
- Enlightenment ends the necessity to reincarnate. Freedom from birth and death occurs when you complete your spiritual development, not when you discover the God Atom within the Soul. The necessity from physical embodiment is attained upon union of the Soul with the Monad after completing spiritual work at the Subtle and Planetary bands of the Continuum (the state of the Planetary Adept); from astral embodiment, with the liberation of the Astral Soul in the Brahma Jyoti after completing both the Transplanetary and Cosmic legs of the spiritual evolutionary journey; and from causal embodiment, at the Mahatma stage on the Bridge Path.
We invite aspirants and disciples—from whatever spiritual tradition you adhere—to contemplate these benchmarks that are required to enter the state of enlightenment. We also encourage you to examine whether you may be clinging to some of these misguided notions, and to jettison them.