Every few years, humanity produces a new batch of spiritual acolytes that are fresh off the boat and ready for bear. Due to some random circumstances they each have had a unique yet not dissimilar taste of expanded awareness and are eager to acquire more knowledge of the who, what, why’s and where’s of mystical phenomena. Flower children and the like will attribute it no doubt to an alignment of the stars or some other such nonsense. Don’t believe a word of it. However there does seem to be a correlation with spiritual awakenings and springtime, which I suspect has more to do with being cooped up all winter than anything else. After all, few things compare to the first taste of a warm spring breeze after six months of winter.
Cabin fever takes no prisoners, infecting even the most die-hard fans of wintertime activities. It’s like a load that you’re never able to set down, gaining in weight day by day until it takes on a dimension of its own whose gravitational pull endeavors to extinguish all joy. Shadows of madness seep in to fill the vacuum. Perhaps you are standing on a frozen lake, or perhaps you are the lake, whose dreams are so entangled in its frosty crown that it must daydream of what it’s like to be human in order to ward off an urge to cascade over a cliff and put an end to its misery. Then at last the ice cracks, springtime springs and the mind snaps back into place with an ecstasy akin to the thunderous refrains of an Ode to Joy.
So what are these spiritual awakenings or mystical phenomena that nudge people toward the path of seeking? To answer that let’s begin with what they are not. Awakenings are never what can be put into words. By that I mean that people often describe their experience as a realization that everything in the universe is connected. However this realization is a result of your intellect trying to make sense of the experience and is therefore a byproduct of the experience occurring after the fact. The experience itself is a sensation, not a realization. No intellectual processes are involved at all. Because the experience occurs in this state of no mind, it is impossible to improve your odds of attaining it. When and where a mystical experience manifests is random and unpredictable.
All of that seems counter-intuitive at first because our subjective reasoning is always flawed to some degree by the biochemistry of the brain. Try to remember that our minds are not hard drives but fleshy things swimming in fluid. Perception of reality is therefore skewed by such things as hormones and the readiness potential of pleasure receptors. And if we are to be honest with ourselves, a great many of us are mentally unstable at the best of times. If you are suddenly accidentally engaged in expanded awareness but are ignorant of such mystical phenomena, your imagination will scramble to fill in the blanks left by your intellect. This is unfortunate for people that are predisposed to being receptive of mythological based archetypes because they may waste years venturing down rabbit holes that only obfuscate the development of authenticity.
It is not merely the ignorant and gullible who are at risk of obfuscation. Even highly learned individuals who have devoted their lives to such matters can fall short of their aspirations. The reason for this is that they dared to dream in the first place. Such endeavors are inseparable from anxiety and therefore ultimately self-defeating in nature. Yet even those who should know better persist in their folly generation after generation. The reasons for this are complicated and intertwined with ancient history.
One must remember that ancient cultures did not thrive due to the emergence of iconic individuals alone. Kings, warriors and holy men were the embodiment of institutions maintained by their followers. In this way a person could project their ideals onto an idol of flesh or stone that represented a higher purpose within reach. However in the case of spirituality the institution and its methods are too often misinterpreted as being the method for attaining the mystical experiences of the institutions founders. This confusion is so prevalent that enlightened masters must waste a great deal of exhaustive time and effort explaining the difference to their followers. Being enlightened does not equate to having endless patience and energy, so it’s high time people started figuring things out on their own.
Why is there still confusion? Well, there’s always an abundance of con-artists around that love to prey on the weakness of others. The other problem is that religions and philosophical practices of the East and West are not only alien to each other but evolved by incorporating older religions steeped in superstition. The Western tradition of learning is for the teacher to provide answers to the students based on the current understanding of things. The Eastern tradition of learning is to present ways in which the students can come up with the answers on their own. Each way is acceptable when it comes to things such as mathematics but for the study of mystical awareness both ways are unavoidably biased and therefore flawed. One constant is the limitations of language to describe things as well as the mistranslation of other languages and regional dialects.
Other ways in which a spiritual guide may fail his students are that the teacher may have misunderstood things when he was a student. Or in the case of an older spiritual guide that has taught for many years, he may have grown frustrated with his students’ inability to grasp the concepts and so changed his teachings to some variation of: just try to be a good person. What’s important to remember is that whichever method or religious practice you choose to supplement your mental health and overall well-being, it should be practiced for those reasons alone. In my opinion one of the best examples of how to do this is by studying Taoist philosophy and Tai Chi. Yet unless you are retired or plan on becoming a Taoist master yourself, you should be cautious that the Taoist methods do not interfere with you career. Family and security must always come first.
The sensation of spiritual awakening is similar to a sexual orgasm. But unlike an orgasm the sensation of awakening, which centers around the pineal gland, may last minutes, months or years and is not physically draining but energizing. If you’ve ever had a chance to experience it even briefly you likely felt transcended for a while, although there are some that find it disturbing. A person that manages to maintain the sensation of spiritual awakening full-time is an enlightened being.
If it’s just a sensation then what makes such people so enlightened? The reason is that the sensation does not originate from the body. You cannot stroke a pineal gland to the point of climax. The sensation is integral to the workings of the nervous system, but it originates from external vibrations in the fine scale fabric of reality. We are not solid beings but anomalies of waves floating in a sea of waves that can be separated into the layers that form the cosmos. Therefore there is no such thing as empty space. Within the ocean of the quantum realm there are vibrations that result in compositions that operate like software to give structure to the reality we perceive. An enlightened being is perpetually tuned-in to the software of the universe, also known as cosmic consciousness. This does not give him a direct link to some external divine knowledge, but instead augments receptors in the brain such as microtubules which facilitate access to a level of consciousness we are not normally privy to. This means that enlightened beings are the exception because of abnormal brain activity. Such people have a higher likelihood of providing sound spiritual guidance because their intuition is enhanced. Their brains are perpetually rewarded with pleasant sensations as long as their thoughts and actions continue to resonate with the frequencies that maintain order within the quantum realm.
If mystical experiences are so similar in nature and relatively widespread, why are enlightened beings so rare? Well I’ve already explained that it’s an abnormality but without doubt many enlightened beings were never recognized throughout the ages. Such people would have faced wars, starvation, plagues, insane asylums, torture, burning at the stake, crucifixions and the like. There were undoubtedly some that preferred to keep it to themselves for various reasons. It takes a very special set of circumstances for an authentic enlightened being to become a teacher let alone an icon from which a new religion is born.
Among the most famous and influential enlightened beings was Siddhartha Gautama, better known as the Buddha. What helped to set him apart was that he came from wealth and so would have been educated. Beyond that he most likely just got lucky, being in the right place at the right time. He would have experienced luxuries in his youth which were balanced out by his years of aestheticism, neither of which resulted in his enlightenment. When it finally did occur at random there would have been a period in which his elevated state of consciousness was undeniable to the people he interacted with. Only then would he have been compelled enough to take on the burden of bringing about positive change in the world. Knowing that there is no tried and true method for attaining enlightenment the Buddha instead instructed his disciples in the ways to live that best resonated with his enhanced intuition. And we see this same repeated pattern of attainment leading to subsequent instruction in enlightened masters throughout history.
Bodhidharma, who is credited as being the founder of the Zen branch of Mahayana Buddhism, is said to have experienced an early life that was very similar to Siddhartha Gautama. Too much of his biography is wrapped up in legend to know anything for sure. However, legend or not, Bodhidharma made a lasting impact on Buddhism. Tales of him staring at a cave wall for nine years certainly add fascination to the practice of zazen. This sitting form of meditation must have been a welcome respite to samurais weary from training. Yet now zazen is popular in an age where the average participant is not daily physically weary to the point of exhaustion. Therefore it would be wise for Zen masters to revisit history and realize that in times of plenty the more traditional way to have an authentic experience was by going on a pilgrimage. This involved walking and just basic all around motion. Which is why I think Tai Chi may be a more productive way of maintaining health and mental well-being.
So where can I find one of these enlightened beings now, and how will I be able to tell him apart from the others? The first thing you should do is listen to a master lecturing that you are unfamiliar with, and if you are not inspired I recommend that you move on. The inspiration you feel should be undeniable. But be careful, because the higher your desire to meet an authentic enlightened being is, the higher the chance you may see things in them that do not exist. When Steve Jobs was a young man he flew to India to meet Haidakhan Babaji and I can’t think of a better example of a delusional American projecting his fantasies onto an ignorant peasant just because a few ignorant villagers claimed he was a reincarnation that appeared magically in a cave. What a load of crap.
Then there are and were those special few people of immensely high character which were cultivated from an early age to be spiritual guides. They walk the walk and talk the talk but ultimately do not possess an equal ability to inspire followers the way an enlightened being can. Of course one must mention Jiddu Krishnamurti, who was heralded around the globe as the next biggest thing to come. That is until he came of age and gave up everything in favor of gallivanting about in sports cars. His persona was very much that of a kindly prince and he was applauded later in life for the choices he had made. Yet despite his obvious insights into consciousness and mystical experiences he lacked the ability to inspire.
From there one can turn their focus to the Dalai Lama himself. Unwavering in the face of adversity the Dalai Lama has endured with a smile. He has lived up to all expectations and more as a holy leader. But a holy leader is not automatically an enlightened being, and no matter how much I listen to his lectures I have never felt inspired by them. The people that surround him certainly look enamored with him but then so do most people when they meet anybody famous.
The only authentic enlightened being that I’m aware of at the moment is Jaggi Vasudev Sadhguru. His enlightenment happened accidentally one day while he was supposed to be picking up materials for a building project but decided to take a break instead and sat down on a rock on a hill where the locals like to go. He is Hindu and although he is knowledgeable about his religion he never attempts to make his lectures about religion. He doesn’t promise anything and he isn’t for sale. Sadhguru volunteers his time to make the world a better place by promoting conservation and the planting of trees. He also has a large following of volunteers that are involved with improving health and well-being through healthy diet, guided meditation and yoga. To hear him lecture is to be inspired. When he is asked questions about nearly anything and everything he never hesitates and almost always provides unique insight. Indian culture is very old and alien to the West. Sadhguru is very aware of this and has traveled the world for many years at his own expense to promote peace, prosperity and healthy habits that are easily adaptable to all cultures.
I hope this article helps to clarify what enlightenment is.
Conan De Moe 2/7/2020