To be enlightened means to be freed from ignorance and misinformation. The term may be applied to all sorts of things, from doing the dishes to spiritual awareness. Enlightenment is when we know the truth of something that we didn’t know before! If you’ve ever wondered if you could become more spiritually enlightened and “connected,” today’s article spotlights ways to open ourself to a new way of being … enlightened!
An example of enlightenment through the years
As a youngster, we were probably ignorant of lots of things. As an example that most of us might relate to, we were probably ignorant about how to wash dirty dishes. Someone in our family may have enlightened us about ways to wash. He or she may have showed us how to turn on the water faucet to HOT, plug the drain, add soap and wait for the sink to fill to the right level. Then he or she might have showed us how to wet a rag, clean the glasses, plates, silverware and pots and pans, and dry them or set them out to dry.
If we chose to listen to their instruction and apply it, we allowed ourselves to be enlightened on the subject of dish washing. Although only moments before we may have been unaware that clean dishes were even a necessity, everything changed with our new knowledge. As we grew older, our desire to replace ignorance with enlightenment may have become more challenging. Learning to drive, to work, to make healthy choices and have relationships was probably far more involved than learning to do the dishes! And some learning was probably easier than others! If we were really blessed, we may have had the luxury of being taught by a wise person. But with practice, we have become enlightened in some of the ways of the world—or not, as we chose.
The importance of spiritual enlightenment
Some of us may not be aware that spirituality can be a positive influence. Many of us have been scarred by religion, devastating life circumstances and hypocrites. Spirituality does not mean religion. Spirituality is a perspective that results in knowing our purpose and worth. This perspective brings confidence, calm and success—all of which are indubitably important.
Lack of spirituality is Petri dish for discontent
The less spiritually enlightened we are, the more lonely, afraid and incomplete we may feel. What does that look like? We may seek reassurance (wholeness) through togetherness. Possibly, needing the presence of others to feel validated, “OK” and worthy. We may feel lonely in own company and betray our own best interests (health, wellness, truths). We feel disconnected–not having connected with the deepest parts of ourself that would allow us to know and meet our needs. And we don’t feel comfortable “in our own skin.” This discomfort may propels us into addictive behaviors as we try to feel comfortable and connected by means of power, control, sex, drugs, relationships, etc.
This further clouds our connection to our holy spirit—the deepest part of ourself, and we may be unable to experience the joy of being alive. We may knowingly or unknowingly accept the lie that physical pleasures are as “good as life gets,” and “that’s the way it is.” Defeatism and discontent may make us prone to behaving in controlling ways in order to keep people and things that we believe we “need” close, because we don’t believe that we are worthy of his or her companionship. We may often feel “not good enough.” When we are not spiritually enlightened, we are rooted in surviving—simply “getting by and getting through” the hassle and chore of life. This makes us a living example of oppression, disrespect of Life and desire to control of Life and others.
Spiritual enlightenment and confidence
The more spiritually enlightened we are, the more confident we become about our worth. We know we are loved, fed, clothed and cared for by Life and know that although we “have” nothing, we ARE and can ENJOY everything. This doesn’t mean that we don’t live in a house or care for “stuff” and loved ones. It means that we know that all those “things” are gifts given to us by Life for our survival and enjoyment. We know that we do not have them—they are not “ours.” We know that Life can take them away at any moment, they belong to Life and they are Life’s things. Our confidence is deeply comforting and cannot be stripped from us by any circumstance in life or death.
What does this look like? Spiritually enlightened people are independently-content. They are dedicated in Best service and support of Life/God’s will, themselves, each other and everything. They choose to experience togetherness as one of many ways to enjoy each other and life, and to further the success of themselves and others on each being’s best path. Enlightened people are rooted in thriving—not just surviving, and are an example of freedom, respect and cooperation with Life and others.
Can we become more spiritually enlightened?
If we are not yet spiritually enlightened, this does not need to be a genetic life-sentence. Perhaps our parents were blind as bats about spirituality. Although this set some groundwork for our initial view of Life, as we grow up and mature, our parents no longer determine whether we keep the beliefs they gave us. WE do.
If we’d like to become more spiritually aware and enlightened, it is certainly possible. I am a living example. I’ve applied a majority of my energy to spirituality, with what could be called astounding results. Every effort I’ve applied and choice I made in favor of spirituality has provided me with good growth and character. Not to slough off the guttural challenges and turning points, but simply to say that it was definitely worth it and then some for me. If you’re ready to give it a “go,” here is what I learned. Try some on for size and see what works for you.
Being willing is key
Willingness is multifaceted and requires us to kick our ego to the curb. To be willing (aka “open”) to LEARN about spirituality, we need to be willing to be wrong. We also need to be willing to accept new information (‘cuz hey, if we knew it all, our lives would probably be different, right?). Once we’ve learned, we then need to be willing to be ENLIGHTENED (aka “apply” our learning to our behavior), and willing to CHANGE. Willingness is key.
Growing up, some of us were given “punishments” that involved time alone. Unfortunately, some of us may still believe that quiet time alone is punishment. It can be, if we wish. However, if we read about the lives of some of the most spiritual people known, they spent a considerable amount of time “alone.” They dedicated time to be quiet with their inner workings, listening to awareness, learning and refreshing themselves in truth. We can choose to follow their lead, and take some quiet time to ourselves, every day.
“Ask and (we) shall receive, seek and (we) shall find.” This is not just rhetoric (empty words), it means what it says and says what it means. If we believe the misinformation that we will never and/or can’t ever know, understand or be enlightened, or that it’s somehow scientifically-silly, we block our own ability to learn. Whether we ask ourself internally, ask out loud of another and/or ask in prayer of the creator, just ASK.
Watch and wait
After we’ve asked, it’s our job to watch and wait in faith (not doubt). Answers may come immediately, or they may come in years. There’s one guarantee, the answers exist and we make it easier for ourselves to receive them when we are keeping our “eyes, ears and hearts open” for them. To watch and wait patiently and in faith is the most promising, expeditious way for us to receive the answers we seek. This does not exclude our own ability to search and research answers, that’s great too. But to rely on other people’s research and answers is not “knowing” the answer for ourselves.
We can find and connect to the part of ourself that’s never lonely or alone. If we don’t know where it is, just ask. ;-D
Walk on the flipside
Instead of “missing someone or something,” and/or “feeling sad, depressed, pouting, punishing or blaming” others for not spending time with us or doing or being what we want them to be, we can appreciate them and what memories or time we DO share or have shared with them instead. Choosing gratitude for what is (instead of complaining about what it isn’t) is choosing to make a spiritual deposit in the Bank of Faith. It compounds more than daily and the dividends come back to us tenfold or more.
Don’t try to make anyone do anything
Manipulating and/or controlling others to get them to spend time, money, resources, etc. leaves them feeling obligated to do things and be in our presence. It does not respect them or make them enjoy us and time together. This is control, not love.
Accept and control ourself
Once upon my very early years, I went to a park with my sibling and mother. While I swung on a swing, an unleashed dog approached, wanting to play. It had long, fluffy, sand-colored fur, a smiling face and body that wiggled a lot. I happily squealed, hopped off the swing and ran to the dog. We jumped and frolicked in the grass until a man walked by.
Through my six-year-old-eyes, the man looked like he was mad. My furry friend bounded towards him, fur radiantly flopping and paws lightly galloping over the grass. The man was oblivious to the joy that approached. As the short, blonde stranger reached his right side, the man became more than startled. He jumped about three feet to the left, yelled at the dog and then yelled at me and my family. At the end of his rant, he screamed, “Control your dog! Don’t you know he’s supposed to be on a leash?!” To which the three of us replied in unison, “It’s not our dog!”
Although we can choose to accept anything, the only thing we can control and change is ourself. And that is more than enough to keep track of if we are going to live well.
Where are you in your exploration of spirituality? Please share your thoughts and feelings so we may grow in strength and willpower together …
Always with love,
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