And so we finish our journey through the levels of consciousness—in as much as anything can be ‘finished’—with Enlightenment.
It’s been a long journey… it has taken us around a fortnight. In real life, of course, it takes much longer to transcend through these levels.
It can take a few months, or a few years, or a few lifetimes.
But in the words of Earl Nightingale:
“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
In fact, according to Eckhart Tolle, our primary life purpose is to raise our consciousness. It’s what we’ve been doing since we first walked on two legs. It’s the natural progression of the evolution of the universe. Any other goals are secondary.
So, what is enlightenment?
Well, for starters I’m not sure I’m qualified to talk about it. I’m pretty sure I’m not there. Except, paradoxically, we are all there, we just don’t know it.
Secondly, to compress the deepest truth and package it up neatly in words is always going to be an impossible task.
But since that’s all we have right now, let’s do our best!
For me, enlightenment isn’t something we achieve. It’s more a by-product of the work we’ve done.
It isn’t something we gain. It comes about when we let go of everything else.
When we let go of who we are, what we’ve done, what we want… what’s left? That’s enlightenment.
It’s clear that it’s always present, always available to us; but we pile layer upon layer of obstacles in its way.
And far from being a ‘magical state’ of serenity and bliss… I believe enlightenment is deeply impractical on its own.
And so what we have is the greatest paradox: a consciousness that can only be found by letting go of everything, but is only helpful when we pile all of the obstacles—the ego, the suffering, the joy, our earthly goals and desires, our fears—back on top of it.
That’s when we can allow that deepest truth to infuse everything we do in the earthly realm.
We accept every single moment exactly as it is. We recognise that our life situation—the circumstances we find ourselves in—can not be any different than it is right now. We recognise that we couldn’t have done anything differently in the past. We recognise that we are perfectly entitled to have dreams and wishes and goals, and we also recognise that it’s not up to us whether we ever attain any of those things.
We realise that in our journey through consciousness we have walked all the way around the world. We are now standing back exactly where we started from. But the trip has changed us in a deep and permanent way.
It was the journey that was important. Not the destination.
We’ve also recognised that travelling by foot is the only way to take the journey through consciousness. We’ve seen the gurus and coaches and life-hack influencers offering us the ‘get woke quick’ schemes. We may have followed some of their leads. And we’ve realised that it doesn’t work. We’ve realised that no-one else can take the journey for us.
We have to walk it ourselves.
That doesn’t mean we have to walk it alone. But we have to walk each step of the way for ourselves. One foot in front of the other.
And, perhaps this is the true nature of enlightenment… we realise that we are on the path right now, and we were on it all along. And that there is no other place we could be.
That, I believe, is enlightenment. But you will make up your own mind. And you will be right.