“Enlightenment” is a concept that’s thrown about willy-nilly these days, now more than ever because of the increasingly common encounters with “ego death”.
Enlightenment doesn’t mean killing the ego. That’s a goofy idea. Without an ego, a person would starve or freeze to death (etc.).
The experience of “ego death” in psychedelics and meditation is a misnomer.
What you’re really experiencing in this state is essentially finding (typically by stumbling onto) the ego’s “off” switch and using it. With practice, you can use it whenever you want: “off” when you need be divinely inspired, psychically refreshed or engaged, and/or to create at your fullest capacity and “on” when you need to compete or cooperate in order to have food, water, clothing, and shelter and to also maintain your boundaries and integrity when dealing with other people.
Being rid of the ego isn’t “enlightenment”. Finding and learning to use the ego’s on/off switch isn’t “enlightenment”, either.
Often, people are so overwhelmed by the experience of finding and using the switch that they stop there, in awe.
And they inaccurately describe this experience as “enlightenment”.
And they are wrong.
“Enlightenment” is taking the next step: training the ego to always work for your you and your highest purpose and to comfortably take a nap when it isn’t needed.
The ego is like a dog. Train it and it becomes a faithful companion, contributing to your well-being. Leave it to its own devices and it runs amok (like a wild dog roaming around, looking for easy prey — and sometimes forming packs!), ultimately trying to run the show by acting out of fear or envy and by clumsily attempting to fulfill subconscious needs — a role it isn’t designed for.
The ego is there to fulfill material needs. You’re supposed to take conscious control and fulfill subconscious needs on your own.
There are wonderful skills that make this process manageable: being present, letting go, connecting, visualizing, etc. Learning these skills is valuable and remarkably easy, if you know what to look for. Of course, these skills on their own isn’t “enlightenment”, either.
“Enlightenment” is when your “psychic” world and your material world coalesce and serve your true nature to their best ability. “Enlightenment” is when you devote yourself to evolving and adapting and learning more about both your true self and the/an ideal purpose for giving your true self expression and meaning. And changing that purpose over time, as you grow.
We’re not taught how to do this, which is why I have this website. It’s why I’m designing workshops. It’s why I’m writing books. This process needs to be “common knowledge”.
The value of “enlightenment” is that the beliefs, habits, and actions you take become motivated by your true self living it’s purpose. Healthy, nourishing, fun behavior becomes your default choice, rather than an icky, uncomfortable “healthy” choice you have to force yourself into (until your willpower meter runs dry and you inevitably lapse back into old habits and rationalize your way back into familiar, dead-end beliefs).
I’m tired of the pseudo-spiritual babblespeak that often surrounds this topic.
Real transformation has to begin.
Share if you agree.