Enlightment: An Awareness and Understanding

Knowing others is wisdom;
Knowing the self is enlightenment;
Mastering others requires force;
Mastering the self needs strength.

- Lao Tzu

What does Enlightenment mean to you? One of the Enlightenment is well known philosophical movement of the 18th century that emphasized the use of reason to scrutinize previously accepted doctrines and traditions and that brought about many humanitarian reforms. See here, Age of Enlightenment for more details.

When we say “enlightenment” most of us means, enlightenment as in being aware or understand the subject. It is just like light bulb switching on, but in our mind and soul. In Hinduism and Buddhism, enlightenment means – A blessed state in which the individual transcends desire and suffering and attains Nirvana.

This article is my contribution to Eric’s Personal Development Campfire and my version of enlightenment in spiritual and religious sense and what it is to be enlightened and how we may achieve the enlightenment in our life.

I decided to write a small poem, haiku or whatever you may want to call it, here is an Ode to enlightenment!

Everyone of us united together some ways
Not surprisingly as we are same species
Loving and learning as we move along
Intuitions and gut feelings from within our heart
Guiding light that lead us in our path
Heart and mind being in
harmony
Tomorrow will be better than today
Engaging us to better ourselves
New discoveries to find contentment
Meditating and calming our inner overwhelm
Enlightening our spiritual soul
Now to alleviate our mind from pain and suffering
Today is the best day to start!

In simple words, The enlightenment is the condition of being informed spiritually: edification, illumination. Enlightenment has its roots in various religions and spiritual sense as well.

Siddhattha Gautam was a prince who became a spiritual teacher from ancient India who founded Buddhism. He gave up all wealth, kingdom, his wife and child to find enlightenment to end pain and suffering he saw around him. After many years of searching for answers, he tried to find enlightenment through near total deprivation of worldly goods, including food, practicing self-mortification at point of near starving himself to death.

Once he was sitting under a pipal tree, now known as the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, India, Gautam Buddha vowed never to arise until he had found the Truth. After 49 days meditating, at the age of 35, he attained Enlightenment; Gautama, from then on, was known as the Buddha or “Awakened One.” Buddha is also sometimes translated as “The Enlightened One.”

Siddharth Gautam, commonly known as the Buddha, is said to have achieved full enlightenment, known as perfect Buddhahood. You can find more about Buddhahood click here . In many Buddhist traditions, reaching full enlightenment is equivalent in meaning to reaching Nirvana.

According to Wikipedia, In Theravada Buddhism, enlightenment refers to a unique experience which wholly transforms the enlightened individual from their previous condition in life. The Buddha, is said to have achieved enlightenment, as are others reputed to have attained Buddhahood.

In the Zen Buddhist tradition, anyone is capable of achieving enlightenment. In Japanese, kensho is the name for an enlightenment experience where one realizes the non-duality of the observer and the observed, while satori is the term for a flash of sudden understanding or awareness. These are experiences along the path to full enlightenment.

Mahayana Buddhists equate enlightenment with discovery of one’s Buddha nature. It is a state of complete emptiness, a passage beyond the material world into a thought-transcending realm of non-duality and unconditioned-ness. It is a state where the ego and self have been transcended.

In Hinduism the word moksha is similar to enlightenment and Nirvana. Moksha means “release” or the liberation from life and suffering involved in being subject to the cycle of repeated death and rebirth (reincarnation). Hindus believe that many of us are reborn as a various animals, humans and insects until we gain moksha, the final stage after being enlightened.

The word ‘enlightenment’ also has parallels in the Abrahamic religions: in the Kabbalah tradition in Judaism, in Christian mysticism, particularly in Gnosticism, and in the Sufi tradition of Islam.

How do we find enlightenment in our own life right now?

While there are no simple and clear cut ways to attain the enlightenment, here are a few ways that will help us guide in the right direction to  be enlightened in our lives.

  • You can not look for enlightenment, it comes to you when you are ready.
  • There are no specific ways that works for everyone, there are many ways.
  • Meditation, Breathing rituals can sure help start in right direction.
  • Practice being in conscious state or being aware of our surrounding and lives.
  • Try to be free from material world as much as possible.
  • One does not need to suffer in order to find enlightenment but for a few pain and suffering has made them more conscious.
  • Give love unconditionally, when your heart and mind are in harmony.
  • Let go of fear and possessions in your life.
  • Relax and achieve cosmic awareness of mind at your speed, when you are ready. Enlightenment will come you.

Check out other related articles:
Giving Thanks: How Gratitude can Improve your life
101 changes: Change 8: Stretch you comfort Zone
Preeti AKA Zengirl


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Image Source: sacredsites.com

About Author: This post is written by Preeti who writes under name of Zengirl on Heart and Mind Blog. She writes articles about self improvement, stress free and slow living and believes in slow blogging.

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I am stay at home with 2 kids, married to my best friend zenguy. I am in to simplifying, slow and sustainable living, I am frugal, love reading, writing and watching romantic movies. I believe in family, friendship and community.

44 comments

  1. Eric | Eden Journal says:

    Preeti, This is a beautiful post. You covered many views of enlightenment and did it with style and a great poem. I find it very interesting that so many religions have their own versions of enlightenment and that they have similar views on this topic.

    I very much like they way you end this post, sharing ways to find enlightenment right now. I believe we can all achieve enlightenment, and you give some great tips to start the process.

    Thanks for participating in the Personal Development Campfire, I sincerely appreciate your support.

  2. Sibyl - alternaview says:

    Preeti: What a great post and an interesting conversation on enlightenment. I really loved your list at the end and what stuck out to me was the need to harmonize our lives by filling ourselves with love. I think love is definitely one of the key factors to enlightenment and once we can tap into love continually and understand the full magnitude of what it really means, we are in a much better position to evolve and experience enlightenment at some point. Great post.

  3. Anirudh Kumar Satsangi says:

    Congratulations for an excellent and wonderful post. You have very well defined wisdom and enlightenment. I want to add some of my views. Hope you will enjoy to read it.

    Anirudh

    Steven J Rosen writes in The Reincarnation Controversy, Uncovering the Truth in World Religions (New Age Books) that belief in reincarnation allows us to see ourselves as architects of our own future. Rosen raises certain queries,‘ what is it that reincarnates from one body to another? Is it the soul? the mind? the intellect? To understand this we should suggest answer to these questions. We all know that there are four fundamental forces in the universe viz., gravitation force, electromagnetic force, weak nuclear force and strong nuclear force. I have written a paper entitled ‘Gravitation Force is the Ultimate Creator’ and presented it at the 1st International Conference on Revival of Traditional Yoga held in Lonavla Yoga Institute, Lonavla in January 2006. In this paper I have defined soul (individual consciousness), mind and body. According to this every point of action of Gravitational Force Field is individual consciousness or soul, electromagnetic force as the force of mind and weak and strong nuclear force as the gross material force which constitute physical frame of body.
    Consciousness is All Intelligent and pervades everywhere. Although all other remaining three forces are also intelligent but they are subordinate to Gravitational Force. THIS DESCRIPTION WILL HELP TO UNDERSTAND ‘WHAT IS IT THAT REINCARNATES FROM ONE BODY TO ANOTHER.
    According to Buddhism this is not the supreme atman or soul that ties one life to another, instead it talks about past lives as evolvement of consciousness, emergence of a new personality from the same stream of consciousness.
    Unaccomplished activities of past lives are also one of the causes for reincarnation. Some of us reincarnate to complete the unfinished tasks of previous birth. The is evident from my own story of reincarnation:
    “My most Revered Guru of my previous life His Holiness Maharaj Sahab, 3rd Spiritual Head of Radhasoami Faith had revealed this secret to me during trance like state of mine. This was sort of REVELATION.
    HE told me, “Tum Sarkar Sahab Ho” (You are Sarkar Sahab). Sarkar Sahab was one of the most beloved disciple of His Holiness Maharj Sahab. Sarkar Sahab later on became Fourth of Spiritual Head Radhasoami Faith.
    Since I don’t have any direct realization of it so I can not claim the extent of its correctness. But it seems to be correct. During my previous birth I wanted to sing the song of ‘Infinite’ (Agam Geet yeh gawan chahoon tumhri mauj nihara, mauj hoi to satguru soami karoon supanth vichara) but I could not do so then since I had to leave the mortal frame at a very early age. But through the unbounded Grace and Mercy of my most Revered Guru that desire of my past birth is being fulfilled now.”
    I am one the chief expounder and supporter of Gravitation Force Theory of God. This is most scientific and secular theory of God. This is the Theory of Universal Religion. I have given Higher Theory of Everything. Sometimes back I posted this as comments to a blog on:
    ‘Fighting of the Cause of Allah by Governing a Smart Mathematics Based on Islamic Teology’
    By Rohedi of Rohedi Laboratories, Indonesia. Rohedi termed my higher theory of everything more wonderful than which has been developed by Stephen Hawking. Some details are quoted below:
    rohedi
    @anirudh kumar satsangi
    Congratulation you have develop the higher theory of everything more wonderful than which has been developed by Stephen Hawking. Hopefully your some views for being considered for Unified Field Theory are recognized by International Science Community, hence I soon read the fundamental aspect proposed by you.
    I have posted my comments to the Blog of Syed K. Mirza on Evolutionary Science vs. Creation Theory, and Intellectual Hypocrisy. Syed Mirza seems to be a very liberal muslim. He responded to my comments as mentioned below.
    “Many thanks for your very high thought explanations of God.
    You said:
    “Hence it can be assumed that the Current of Chaitanya (Consciousness) and Gravitational Wave are the two names of the same Supreme Essence (Seed) which has brought forth the entire creation. Hence it can be assumed that the source of current of consciousness and gravitational wave is the same i.e. God or ultimate creator.
    (i) Gravitation Force is the Ultimate Creator, Source of Gravitational Wave is God”
    Whatever you call it, God is no living God of any religion. Yes, when I call it “Mother Nature” is the God generated from all Natural forces and Gravitational force is the nucleus of all forces or we can presume that Gravitation is the ultimate guiding principle of this Mother Nature we call it non-living God unlike living personal God of religions. I can not believe any personal God would do so much misery created for its creation. Hence, only non-living natural God can explain everything in the Universe. When we think of any living personal God, things do not ad up!”
    I have also discovered the mathematical expression for emotional quotient (E.Q.) and for spiritual quotient (S.Q.).
    Austrian Scientist Rudolf Steiner says,
    “Just as an age was once ready to receive the Copernican theory of the universe, so is our age ready for the idea of reincarnation to be brought into the general consciousness of humanity”.

  4. Pingback: Understanding Enlightenment | Heart and Mind | Gautam Buddha
  5. Kamal says:

    Simple Bliss!

    Yep that is what I feel after reading this enlightening post. The poetic meaning of Enlightenment is very sweet and peaceful.

    I view “Enlightenment” as a state of mind where we are always in peace with ourselves. Nothing can disturb the peace. Your 101 change on smile when you wake up, is a first step to enlightenment.

    I also believe that meditation does help. I have tried various techniques. The best that I have realized is to sit in absolute Silence and dwell deep into your own thoughts. Pick them apart and see what you feel. Keep doing this until all thoughts vanish! Aah and that is Peace.

    As the last T in enlightenment says. “Today is a good day to start”.

    Kamal

  6. Alien Ghost says:

    Hi Preeti,

    This is a very complete description of enlightenment! Outstanding work you did!

    Love the poem and the suggestions to start in the right direction :)

    Raul

  7. ZenGirl says:

    Eric,

    Thank you, for campfire and wonderful topic suggestion. I have thought and talked about enlightenment before, but never thought of sharing it here on a blog. I am so glad I did.

    Enlightenment has many religious and spiritual connections and it is a process where everything is learned and mind and soul are at peace.

  8. ZenGirl says:

    Sibyl,

    Love is everywhere, if we see it. Many of us forgotten it in lieu of work, stress and life’s many many chores that we must do. Enlightenment is process where we understand ourselves and I am still working on mine. Thank you for your comment as always.

  9. ZenGirl says:

    Annirudh,

    Thank you for lengthy discussion on enlightenment subject! I think Rosen might be mistaken as there are no controversy in re-carnation. Either people believe in it or do not. Hinduism and Buddhism both have deep roots in enlightenment or moksha for many centuries.

  10. ZenGirl says:

    Kamal,

    Thank you for the heartfelt comment. Yes, I agree smiling as we wake up is a first step indeed. I find pin drop silence so sweet, refreshing and relaxing. It is almost like a mini meditation.

    I think you seem to be right track to find your own enlightenment! Good for you and thanks again for continued support here.

  11. ZenGirl says:

    Raul,

    Thank you. I am glad you liked it. I am no expert on enlightenment but this is something I care a lot about. I also got a chance to be creative and write an impromptu poem too!

  12. ZenGirl says:

    Ali,

    Thank you for liking my impromptu poem. Yes I write poems, short stories and novel (unfinished), none of them have been published. My non fiction work has been published before here in US and my mother and grandfather were published authors so it might have rubbed off on me. My younger brother is also great at writing!

    Thank you for sharing this journey of enlightenment.

  13. rob white says:

    Hi Preeti,
    That is some great info on enlightenment… I enjoyed reading about the different sects. I like to think of enlightenment as doing the dishes and being bedazzled by the experience. Doing a simple chore and being totally aware can be an enlightening experience.

    Great poem too… :)

  14. ZenGirl says:

    Rob,

    Thank you, enlightenment has roots in spiritual and religious roots both. Like you often say, if it is not spiritual, it ain’t practical!

    If you find enlightenment doing dishes, you are always welcome at our place to be enlightened! Anytime :-)

  15. Marion Anderson says:

    Wow Preeti

    The poem is wonderful and the information you gave about enlightenment was excellent.

    Well done.

  16. Katie says:

    Preeti, I particularly love this approach “Relax and achieve cosmic awareness of mind at your speed, when you are ready.” I am practicing this daily and finding great peace and awareness in going with my own flow. Thank you for a great post.

  17. Clearly Composed says:

    This is such a great post in that you share with such passion for the topic and from such a clear place of knowing how to present the material in an engaging way. I enjoyed it very much. :)

  18. Meredith says:

    Hi, Preeti. I really enjoyed this post, and your lovely poem. I felt peace reading it. :)

    As for enlightenment, itself, I’ve found myself experiencing presence/awareness with more and more regularity over the years. There was one particular time in my life, about 4 years ago, when I experienced what I would call “total mystical union,” a feeling of deep connection and peace and oneness with the Divine and all that is, for a period of several days, without interruption. I did normal things, like making meals and doing laundry, but I was… well, it’s hard to describe. I’d had many moments of satori before then, but I continue to be grateful for this profound experience of Reality. I know what is possible now.

    After that, I returned to my “regular life,” somehow changed forever. I think I’m supposed to learn how to integrate my spiritual experience within the normal everyday interactions between me and other people now, especially when drama and high emotion are involved.

  19. ZenGirl says:

    Katie,

    I know you are doing and living life with wild abandon as well. That is simply the best way to live. Living with peace and awareness, I still have to work at it and everyday is improvement.

  20. ZenGirl says:

    Aileen,

    I am glad you liked the poem, I do write stories and poems and painting but have never showcased my work here before. I am glad you liked it.

  21. ZenGirl says:

    Emma,

    I am glad you enjoyed it. This is one of the subject I am passionate about along with many other ones, I am Gemini with many interests and passion which is not always a good thing! :-) Thank you!

  22. ZenGirl says:

    Meredith,

    Welcome and thanks for thoughtful and engaging comment.

    I love the way you described the enlightenment experience.I have come close to it, so I can imagine the feeling of it, which can be hard to describe.

    Many people think enlightenment is simple bliss, but it is lot more. We are often too busy, rushed and hurried in our daily life to slow down and enjoy it! Thank you for sharing your thoughts here, and happy to know you.

  23. Vaishali says:

    What a nice essay on enlightenment, Preeti, and about one of my favorite people, the Buddha. I think being conscious about everything we do– and contemplating the results of our actions before we act– can set us on the path to enlightenment. It’s a difficult standard to achieve in our world, but one to always strive for nonetheless.

  24. ayo says:

    hi preeti
    how are you?
    thanks for sharing this post. it was very informative and i added a few things to my memory bank because i never knew in the past. I also loved the poem.
    anyway, i strongly believe that enlightenment takes us down the path of true authenticity.
    take care of yourself and enjoy the rest of the day.

  25. Betsy Bargain says:

    Preeti,

    You have shown us yet another talent. Who knew you were such a gifted poet! Thank you for this post. The subject is completely foreign to me, and therefore fascinating!

  26. jonathanfigaro says:

    Enlightenment is the start of all conscious awareness. It’s about learning from each other and silencing the mind. Those who believe they know everything never understand, enlightenment is an on going process. It will never end. It starts with an open mind that is teachable. When you are teachable and your mind is open, you can achieve more, run longer and faster across the field of ignorance. And ignorance is not bliss folks, it’s mental torture.

  27. ZenGirl says:

    Vaishali,

    Thank you for liking the post. Yes Gautam Buddha is favorite among many people, including myself.

    Enlightenment means different to different people. Although many of us busy like you said we should strive for it!

  28. ZenGirl says:

    Ayo,

    I am glad you liked this post and poem. I agree that whatever our definition of enlightenment is, it can make sure more authentic self. That is something always good to strive for.

    I hope you have a great day also!

  29. ZenGirl says:

    Betsy,

    Thank you for liking the poem. I like many things and I know I am not good at everything I try. I am glad you got to know about new subject.

  30. ZenGirl says:

    Jonathan,

    I think you said it perfect way! Maybe you should write a post on the subject and link here with linky tools right below the post you see! Hope you can join the enlightenment sharing.

  31. Evelyn says:

    Hi Preeti,

    I didn’t know much about enlightenment until I read your post. It is very informative and eye opening. I especially like that you added a list of ways we can obtain enlightenment. Giving unconditional love is something that I need to work on.

    Nice poetry! I like that you told us what enlightenment is in this poem and you did it in a soft and easy way.

    Take care,
    Evelyn

  32. ZenGirl says:

    Evelyn,

    I joined Eric and Ali’s with writing about enlightenment subject! It was fun to research and write on subject I care about! I had not written poetry on this blog before so I was not sure how will it come out. Thank you for liking it!

    Giving unconditional love to your own kids comes much easily compared to your friend or spouse! I am working on it myself :-) Thanks for stopping by. It is always lovely to see you.

  33. ZenGirl says:

    Marko,

    I like the sentence you wrote! It is so powerful. Enlightenment means different to different people, some are light hearted and other are deep rooted, nevertheless it is good to feel enlightened sometimes! Don’t you think?

  34. Andrea DeBell - britetalk says:

    Hi Preeti! I love your bullet list at the end. This list pretty much sums up my views on the subject. One of my favorite points is – “There are no specific ways that works for everyone, there are many ways.” I’d like to think that each of us will eventually find our own path towards ourselves. I believe that my preferred route is the “sunshine path” :).

    May we all find our way “home” in one way or another. Loving blessings!

  35. ZenGirl says:

    Andrea,

    Enlightenment means different thing to different people, hence there will be many ways to achieve it. There are unique ways as unique as we are, and most important thing is it comes to us when we are ready. Sunshine path sounds great way to get there. I hope we all achieve our own way to enlightenment, where ever we are!

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