Enlightenment, simply put, means to bring light where there was darkness. In spiritual terms, this ‘light’ isn’t literal but symbolic. Just like the cartoon characters whose bright ideas are shown by a lit bulb over their heads, spiritual enlightenment is like a light bulb going on in the mind, giving us insight and understanding about the meaning of life that we didn’t have before.
Almost all spiritual practices have enlightenment as their ultimate goal, and while there are some people who experience sudden and permanent enlightenment, most of us on a spiritual path move through three different levels.
Read below to see which level you’re on.
At the first level your mind start to let things just be. You allow your experiences to be whatever they are without judging, analyzing or resisting.
Before this level, people tend to spend a lot of time planning, labeling, criticizing and worrying. But once they reach this first level, they find that their minds quiet down and become more accepting of what is.
People who have risen to level one often describe this as being more ‘fully present’ or ‘in the now’.
When you reach level 2, you’ll feel a oneness with all that is. Here you recognize that every person, animal and even every object is connected to you and that you’re connected to all of them.
The rigid boundaries that you once thought existed between you and the rest of the world suddenly don’t seem so clear – or important – anymore. This doesn’t mean you lose yourself. Your mind still functions and you can still take care for yourself and your life. But now you recognize those physical separations as being far less important than the value of your oneness with everything else.
People who have risen to level two often describe this as feeling like deep and complete love.
At level three you move beyond the sense of feeling connected with everything else and into the realization that you are everything else – and everything else is you.
You fully know the oneness of what we call God, and experience no separation from it or anything else.
People who live in level 3 of enlightenment describe it as bliss, and have let go of the kind of desires and wishes that are important to most people. The live in a state of inner peace and tranquility yet still function in the world.