I am a human being and live in Vancouver, Canada, subject to very human desires, thoughts and feelings. As a result, I don’t know exactly what enlightenment is but, as a seeker on this spiritual path, I imagine it to be “like” something. It is from this perspective that I will attempt to share what I believe Enlightenment to be.
Above all else, I believe that enlightenment is a state of consciousness. I imagine it to be a state of being beyond judgment and personalized perception.
It is a complete and total, undivided acceptance of what is, it is an ultimate understanding of all things. An absolute, all-encompassing and unconditional expression of love, compassion and kindness to all things. We obtain enlightenment from yoga or yoga teacher training or from just getting old.
It therefore represents a return home to the one, a rejoining of universal consciousness. It is a dimension beyond the illusion of physical reality and cyclical karmic energy.
All traditions have their own way to describe Enlightenment, and I believe that all traditions are correct, they are simply reflecting different “views” of the whole map in a way.
In Indian Spirituality it can be described as a unification with god, as can be deduced from Chapter 4 of The Bhagavad Gita, when Krishna says to Arjuna:
“Those who know me as their own divine Self break through the belief that they are the body and are not reborn as separate creatures. Such a one, Arjuna, is united with me.
Delivered from selfish attachment, fear and anger, filled with me, surrendering themselves to me, purified in the fire of my being, many have reached the state of unity in me.”
In the Taoist view, enlightenment is the being without judgment, desires and returning to source as shown in Verse 52 of Stephen Mitchell’s translation of the Tao Te Ching:
“In the beginning was the Tao.
All things issue from it;
All things return to it.
To find the origin,
Trace back the manifestations.
When you recognize the children
And find the mother,
you will be free from sorrow.
If you close your mind in judgements
And traffic with desires,
Your heart will be troubled.
If you keep your mind from judging
And aren’t led by the senses,
Your heart will find peace.
Seeing into darkness is clarity.
Knowing how to yield is strength.
Use your light
And return to the source of light.
This is called practicing eternity.”
I read and feel truth in both passages, and the same can be found at the seat of all traditions.
But perhaps the description which most aligns with what I imagine Enlightenment to be came to me from a dear friend, and one I consider to be a Guru. He said: “Enlightenment is like when the sun rises after the night.
You now have a clear vision of what things are, where to go, what to avoid and what to do.”