Spiritual Not Religious: The Delusion of Enlightenment

Sacred Tools for Modern Times #7 — Personal development is a moment to moment process of Awakening

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This is part of a series of stories exploring all aspects of spiritual life. A journey that transcends rites, rituals, ceremonies, trinkets for sale, and all of the other elements of formal religious dogma.

What is Enlightenment?

Enlightenment: A deep insight and complete immersion and understanding into the purpose and meaning of all things, including communication with or understanding of the “mind” of the Divine. Though many people especially the followers of certain gurus believe it is a constant and permanent state, most in the Wisdom Path Community where I am a senior teacher believe it is a state one embraces and is embraced from moment to moment. The world is a multi-layered and complex place, yet it is reasonable to accept that at times, some among us have a “full comprehension of all of the subtle patterns that comprise a person, place, thing, or situation”. In a sense, at least at that moment, we might say that person is “Enlightened”.

For many, who would claim to be on some form of spiritual path enlightenment and mysticism would be defined as equivalent terms for religious or spiritual insight.

What exactly constitutes an individual’s Enlightenment or Awakening is unknown. It may involve the knowledge that liberation has been attained by the combination of mindfulness and complete emptying of the mind as applied to the understanding of the arising and ceasing of craving and desire. Transcending the binary nature between mindfulness and complete emptying of the mind is one of the fundamentals of any serious spiritual practice.

In the western world the concept of spiritual enlightenment has become synonymous with self-realization and the true self and false self, being regarded as a substantial essence being covered over by social conditioning.

In many Indian religions the Sanskrit words moksha (liberation) or mukti (release) — both from the root muc “to let loose, let go”) is the final extrication of the soul or consciousness from attachment to the sensory nature of the world and the suffering that comes with that attachment.

The process of living a life focused on becoming spiritually, mentally, and emotionally Awake requires that we recognize the identity of the Self and the Whole through long preparation and training, usually under the guidance of a mentor or spiritual teacher.

This process can take many forms in different traditions including an understanding of subtle and sacred wisdom offered in sacred scriptures, the intentional inducement of direct identity experiences through meditation, introspection, the study of koans, the creation and experience of art, and the natural detachment of a person from worldly activities motivated by superficial, short term wants.

Recognition of this identity leads to liberation. Attaining this liberation usually takes a long preparation and training under the guidance of a mentor/teacher, however this death experience to the flotsam and jetsam of the world can open the door to “sudden liberation”,

This way of thinking goes further than the rites, rituals, and ceremonies of formal religion and also addresses the questions that might be posed by modern science-based researchers, both on physical and moral lines.

With advances in physics, many researchers find that the old dualistic theories are not enough for them, do not satisfy their necessities. A serious spiritual seeker man must have not only faith but intellectual inquiry as well.


Meditative, contemplation, introspection, and other approaches to withdrawal from the particular, and identification with the universal, leads to an Awakening to that which is most universal, Consciousness. This transmodern approach is different from the classical religious approach of complete thought suppression.

Author: My name is Lewis Harrison. I am a practical philosopher and independent scholar in the area of Essential Taoism, practical philosophy, Eastern thought, personal improvement, and problem-solving. Learn more at my website — AskLewis.com. You can reach me personally at LewisCoaches@gmail.com

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