There is a lot of excitement, interest and information generated by the concept of spiritual enlightenment.
It goes under various terms such as nirvana, satori, samadhi, penetrating the cloud of unknowing etc.
It is generally viewed as a desirable state of being and a mark of spiritual achievement.
There are at least a couple of features of enlightenment, which the gurus, yogis and other assorted spiritual teachers fail to point out to their earnest students.
The first is that an enlightened is not some happy-ever-after state of being. To use an analogy, it is similar to the proverbial romantic tale. Boy meets girl, they fall ‘in love’, they’re from different social or ethnic backgrounds so there is one f**** of a fight before they can get married …. and then after all that emotional trauma, well …. they just sail into the sunset and live happily ever after.
Life turns out to be not that simple, and after the proverbial honeymoon period, their relationship takes a lot of work to maintain and develop and so on.
Enlightenment is a lot like that. After the thrill of all that energy and expanded consciousness there are still bills to be paid, dogs to be walked and meals to be cooked. I.e. living goes on pretty much as before.
Which bring me onto the second feature often not mentioned by gurus: Enlightenment is not an end state, rather it is a new insight into life and a different way of expressing our being. An unfolding way of being which still needs work to continue growing and developing.
A third feature I’ll mention in passing, is that you will discover (rather to your embarrassment) that you were enlightened all along, and you were just pretending not to be, so you could play the game of being human.
© David R. Durham