“Enlightenment is permanent because we have not produced it; we have merely discovered it.” – Chogyam Trungpa, Buddhist meditation master, scholar, teacher, poet and artist (1939-1987)
What is enlightenment? How do you know if you have it? Can you learn to be enlightened? These are questions that have some merit and we might even ask ourselves them from time to time. Most of us, however, are too busy with the business of life to spend much time thinking about whether or not we’re enlightened.
Maybe the concept is so profound that it’s beyond our grasp. On the other hand, maybe it’s so basic and permanent simply because it is so very much a human condition. Still, enlightenment, once we know we’ve achieved it, is much more a discovery than anything else. We know, for example, that we didn’t create or produce it. We don’t arrive at enlightenment as a result of striving to achieve this desired state. Enlightenment exists in a rare plane, a place where we might visit but often don’t appreciate when we’re there.
That’s a shame, since everyone can use a healthy dose of enlightenment. But, back to the questions of how you know if you’re enlightened and can you learn to be? Interestingly, you can study enlightenment, learn the signs of enlightenment and read from the masters on how to achieve it. This leads us to believe that you can, indeed, learn to be enlightened. Here are some tips from experts on the subject.
- Still the incessant chatter of the mind.
- Acknowledge, embrace and release all fears.
- Let go of physical, emotional and mental attachments as well as aversions, hates and dislikes.
- Release long-held myths and self-destructive beliefs.
- Stop thinking that thinking will solve all life’s problems.
- Release yourself from the feeling you need to be right all the time.
- Instead of hiding from your true self, embrace your true self.
- Become responsible for your thoughts and create more embracing and empowering ones.
- Choose to be conscious, awake and aware of life.
- Embrace the spirituality that resides within you.
Even when you accept that enlightenment is a positive and life-affirming state, do your best to appreciate, recognize and achieve it, expect that the journey will be a learning process and that it will take time. Remember that nothing worthwhile in life – including achieving enlightenment – ever comes without personal effort, determination and an abiding desire to be more of our better selves. We are so much more than we know. We do have that power. Resting inside each of us is the spiritual awareness and rich appreciation of all that is good and life-affirming. It is called enlightenment and it is achievable. Best of all, enlightenment is permanent. It won’t go away. It will simply wait for us to discover it – or rediscover it if we have gone astray for a while.