February 12, 2015

The Brutal Truth about Enlightenment.


Enlightenment often conjures up images of yogis on lotus flowers hovering in serene stillness.

An enlightened state of mind where one feels light and free and flowing; a state free of compulsions, every day attachments, and difficult emotions or people.

But the truth is that enlightenment hurts.

I like the idea of enlightenment as:

  • Being able to accept life in its entirety.
  • Being able to surrender to the difficult truth that pain and sadness are as much a part of the bigger whole as happiness and joy.
  • Knowing that happiness is not our only goal on this planet.
  • Looking within into our most disturbing experiences so as to feel deeply the interconnectedness of everything and relish in the beautiful mysteries of life.
  • Refusing to blame the external factors of our lives for the reasons we are miserable.
  • Saying yes instead of saying no, or being totally aware of the reasons why we made the choice that we did.
  • Trusting in love and goodness.
  • Making choices about how we react and perceive our life circumstances.
  • Finding freedom even in a prison.
  • Being able to hold and see and feel your pain so that we can make peace with it.

With this perspective, we can move beyond the expectations we have that things will or should be any different from how they are now. Only then can we truly surrender and hold that knowledge in loving awareness.

Enlightenment is painful because life is painful.  When we can accept that, it can set us free.  We no longer have to be dominated by our jealousy, fear, anger, loneliness, or judgments because they are all expressions of our pain, and pain is a part of life that we can’t avoid.

Rather, let your pain be the thing that brings you deeper into contact with life and the world. You’ll be amazed at what you find.

“If your everyday practice is to open to all your emotions, to all the people you meet, to all the situations you encounter, without closing down, trusting that you can do that—then that will take you as far as you can go.  And then you’ll understand all the teachings that anyone has ever taught.” ~ Pema Chödrön


Author: Sophie Frost

Editor: Caroline Beaton

Photo: elephant archives

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Dylan Oct 24, 2015 5:33pm

To be enlighten is what in essence to see the light not meaning the light of the teaching but to see the light in your daily practice

1. You will understand the all the great teachings of vedas , sutras etc.

2. You will have more compassion and love for people but won’t sink and be so absorbed by the drama of situation of things

3. Life will be easier for u and things will be smoother yes there will be days that u won’t be able to bear it and other days it will be a breeze

3. By sitting in meditation once the so called ( enlightened stage ) u benefit all of humanity as lao tzu said mixing with the dust of the world and not been the dry dust on the shelf

4. Wei wu wei doing with doing will happen and u feel that nothing matters anymore and that the universe will sing in u as u have entered source of all things and that you are taken care of

5. U find that people will be attracted to you and it will be a lonely path as well where u will be despised at times and hated

6. But to put into a nut shell the so called enlightenment is rewarding as when u practice u have a refuge as where people that or ignorant of the truth haven’t discovered there sourse is where true compassion comes form

Just form my own understanding and experience and understanding of my own so called enlightenment if I am to start with

Tiago Oct 24, 2015 2:52pm

The enlightmenment is beyond any concept and can not be described with words. What the author wrote is just an opinion and does not reflect the ultimate truth.

Nina Apr 5, 2015 9:21am

Everyone is at a different stage in their curve of learning in this life; to belittle any input from anybody on this journey is extremely saddening. It seems many people mix up what enlightenment actually is, and are still hindered by old ways. It's not a competition. Life is not a competition. There is no need for hurtful words. Keep persevering, if it is enlightenment one seeks, there is no reason you will not find the truth one day 🙂

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Sophie Frost

Sophie Frost is an experienced and caring psychotherapist In Berlin, Germany with years of organizational and private practice experience as a psychotherapist, group facilitator, clinical coordinator, consultant and project manager.

In addition to her clinical experience and training, Sophie has lived and travelled extensively, including the USA, where she lived for 13 years and attended UCLA, Bahia, Brazil and Mexico City, where she completed an internship for an organization dedicated to the human rights of immigrants.

She is currently based in Berlin with her own private practice called The Primrose Practice.