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August 4, 2020

What is enlightenment and why should we seek to achieve it?

I absolutely love this question for so many reasons.

Firstly because, it’s one that gets asked so many times and elicits so many different answers. 

Secondly, it seems as though we all want to understand what it is, is it possible to attain, who’s got it, how did they get there, can I get there too and what will happen once I’ve reached it?

It’s a pretty loaded question that I can only offer my opinion on and to do that, I need to reframe the question. 

And that is what I’ll do here.

A reframing of that question which I believe helps bring the idea of enlightenment (as I believe it to be an idea) and its value into perspective is to ask a yes or no type of question.

I do this because without considering context, perspective, and relevance the question almost becomes a trick question like:

Is “green” true or false – wanting to know if it is one thing or another. The problem is without context (or perspective) it’s difficult to make sense because “green” by nature is neither true nor false making the question largely irrelevant. 

A reframing of the question above that elicits a more relevant and useful response would sound more like this: “Is this pen green, true or false?”  This type of question now allows us to start to give an answer that may lie somewhere in between what is green and what is not green as the pen may be light green or a bluish green or may sometimes be green and other times yellow, etc. 

This reframing gives us some idea, perspective or an assumption of what green might be and its varying degrees. And I am of the opinion that reframing the question in this manner will assist in giving us a greater understanding of what “enlightenment” is or could be.

So I have reframed the question in this way:

If you understood that you could reach a state or level in which you no longer cared or were concerned with what enlightenment is or it’s purpose and whether or not it’s relevant to you would you care to reach this state…yes or no?

If your answer to this question is no (or I don’t know)…then don’t worry about it!

Spend your time on other things you find relevant as they warrant more of your attention. 

Now, If you find this to be an unsatisfactory answer to the question, take this as an opportunity to ask yourself: “How does my reaction reflect my current idea of enlightenment?” Use that as a starting place to bring more context about what enlightenment is or could be. Then, consider if it is worth seeking.

If you answered yes…then, in my opinion, I believe that’s one of the signs that you are headed in the direction of enlightenment!

Furthermore, if you are able to both understand, and demonstrate the idea that you are no more or less significant than anything else in the universe because you are indeed that something else (and that something else is you) this is my definition of enlightenment. Or in other words, enlightenment is the experience of universality (everything that there is, seen and unseen) and individuality (the experience you are having as a human living in the realm of the relative) occurring simultaneously. Another way to put it is – individuality expressing its universality.

In my opinion, we are all at different levels of this, oftentimes vacillating through varying degrees, and I believe the path that perpetually brings you closer and closer to this ideal is also enlightenment. 

So for me, enlightenment includes not only the path that leads you there but also includes the destination along with the process of becoming enlightened.

I hope that this information has been helpful and that it has enlightened your understanding of enlightenment.

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