Spiritual enlightenment or awakening is by far one of the most misconceived concepts. It is not about seeing God and cannot be achieved by reading a book or an article.
Spiritual enlightenment is not just a state of understanding; it’s a profound shift in consciousness that illuminates the essence of existence and connects us to a higher reality. In this article, we delve into the concept of spiritual enlightenment, exploring its meaning, its pathways, and the transformative effects it has on our lives.
1. Spiritual Enlightenment
As said by the Oxford dictionary, spiritual means “the part of an individual which includes their mind, emotions, and personality rather than their body.” According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, spirituality is the “quality or state of being concerned with religion or religious matters.”
On the other hand, the word enlightenment, in this context, has been defined as “a blissful state of a person known by the absence of craving and pain.”
In a spiritual context, when a person achieves a wholly different perspective toward the world and the self, eliminating materialism, it is called enlightenment.
So, on the whole, spiritual awakening or enlightenment occurs when a person gets free from all 5 characteristics and replaces those with compassion and peace in a conscious state. The characteristics are:
The subject of spiritual awakening collides with the teachings of Epicurus, whose teachings were mostly about endeavoring for an absence of pain, which can be physical or mental.
2. Spiritual Path
As read in an article, Buddhism seeks the path toward Nirvana. Siddhartha Gautama followed the path of Buddhism around the 6th century BC. According to him, nirvana is the path toward spiritual enlightenment.
This process of getting free from suffering is called Nirvana in yoga. The next level to nirvana is Parinirvana, where a person is made free from rebirth.
The nature of a human is mostly filled with ego, where life means fulfilling desires. People get closer to truth and actuality through practicing meditation, and a deep sense of awareness begins. Through practice, the growth of consciousness of one’s true self can be observed.
The people who are enlightened through a spiritual path are said to be twice-born. Because the birth of a child happens in an unconscious state for the child. But when the child grows, they start doing things in a conscious state. In this state, if a person does spiritual practice, they are susceptible to the journey of a spiritual path.
When a person can live every moment of their life, a new perspective toward the world and the self arises. This new perspective of true nature brings awareness of the soul and its connection with nature.
3. Signs of Spiritual Enlightenment
We all know that all of our everyday practices are based on our likes and dislikes. But the spiritual process cannot be carried out when an individual is identified with their likes, dislikes, interests, or desires.
A person with spiritual awakening will experience the highest state of consciousness and oneness with the world with the help of spiritual practice.
To begin with signs of spiritual awakening or enlightenment, I have categorized them into 13.
3.1. Constant Touch with Reality
The first and foremost sign of spirituality is to have a constant touch with reality. A state of awareness all around is observed, and you start noticing even the smallest of the things in your life. And your mind stays in a receptive mode towards the world.
Self-awareness is one of the most promising signs of spiritual awakening characteristics. This touch with reality gives you freedom from all types of problems because now you can let go of control over things.
This second sign of spiritual enlightenment is timelessness. Timelessness doesn’t imply the disability to record the passage of time.
Spiritually awakened people say that there is neither time nor space in reality. Because whatever they experience in the journey of a spiritual path is beyond materialistic things.
This sign is not observed in individuals who have just been on a spiritual path because spiritual practices, like yoga and personal growth, develop this sense.
3.3. Intensified Perception
Anybody can observe this sign of awakening in a spiritually enlightened person through talking and acting. This sign also depends on the personal growth of an individual. And it can be improved through spiritual practices such as yoga and meditation.
A spiritually enlightened individual lets go of the desire to control the situation. They embrace the chaos of their life in the same way as they embrace prosperous returns.
It is no secret that spiritually enlightened people feel more aliveness than anybody else. In normal people, aliveness occurs when we enjoy performing an act. But spiritual people feel the aliveness in every moment of their life.
Meditation helps an individual to stay and experience the present moment in their life. Thoughts about the past or the future will not interrupt a person who practices meditation and yoga. Thus giving them a personal experience of aliveness.
3.5. Inner Quietness
Inner peace is probably the most experienced state of spiritual awakening. Zen spirituality is a school of Buddhism, which is one way of practicing yoga.
Zen emphasizes spiritual practices like meditation. These spiritual schools help individuals to get freedom from their desires.
This path helps in letting go of control over things. This ability to surrender to the flow of life is what brings peace within. The concept of meditation brings the true self into existence and gives peace. This inner peace puts mental health in check.
3.6. Empathy and compassion
Compassion takes life in the spiritually awakened individual without much delay—empathy towards neighboring human beings and other creatures. Empathy increases morale.
The feeling of connectedness towards the world gives life to the compassion within a person. To a spiritually awakened individual, empathy is like an in-built feeling.
Spiritual awakenings call towards the direction of growth of compassionate feelings, repressing the ego.
3.7. Absence or Decreased Fear of Death
When a person is asked about their fears, most of them would be about things or situations that are temporary. But every person is afraid of death.
An enlightened self has this fear of dying cleared because an enlightened individual’s wisdom is beyond the physical arena.
The loss of sense of self or ego could be the reason for this absence of fear. This absence of fear is not a sudden change but is attained through searching for knowledge about oneself. The practice of yoga could bring liberation from such fears.
3.8. The Need for Belongingness Fades Away
As given in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, any individual would need love and a feeling of belongingness after satisfying physiological and safety needs. But an enlightened individual will not feel a need for belongingness.
This is because an enlightened person will begin their search within themselves and not in others. This connection and awareness with themselves are what make the need for love and belonging fade away. The process of awakening gives an individual liberation from all kinds of limits.
On a personal level, enlightened individuals have a lot of curiosity as they are always on the path of searching for knowledge. This curiosity brings appreciation to even the smallest of things.
A spiritual person understands the significance behind all processes and traditions and can thus appreciate them. This attitude of appreciation will begin the destruction of the ego.
3.10. Enjoyment of Inactivity
Most of us display emotions or feelings when we are engaged in an activity. But individuals who have understood spiritual enlightenment enjoy it even when they sit idly. This process of enjoyment of inactivity happens when a person can control his emotions and feelings.
When a person controls his feelings, they tend not to be influenced by external acts.
3.11. Awareness of Eternal Nature
The awareness of eternal nature is a gradual search process for knowledge, truth, and true self. The spiritual awakenings give a deep understanding of nonmaterialism. The teachers of Buddhism state that the path leading to materialism is wrong.
Awakened individuals are more connected to nonmaterialistic things. The traditions of yoga also contribute to non-materialism, called the aparigraha. Some Buddhist articles read that the concept of life towards materialism is unsustainable.
Enlightened individuals give their souls the autonomy to act in the direction of intuitions. They are aware of their power in this creation. They don’t judge things, and there is no such thing as right or wrong for them.
Enlightened individual detaches themselves from worldly things. In many traditions like Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism, the soul is different from the body. This concept is a direction toward eternal presence.
This sign of awakening is achieved through a gradual process. Yoga could help actualize this deep sense through meditation and other practices that could connect human beings to the world.
Awakenings make the enlightened individual that the universe is conspiring to help them. This is a deep level of state that cannot be attained all of a sudden.
Spiritual enlightenment can be attained in an unconscious state, but one can sustain it only if one wants to. The practice of traditions and teachings of philosophy in addition to one’s wisdom could call enlightenment into life.
The path to spiritual enlightenment is a profound journey of self-discovery, inner transformation, and connection to the divine fabric of existence. While the road may be challenging and winding, the rewards are immeasurable — an awakened consciousness that perceives reality in its true essence, transcending the limitations of the physical world.
As we embark on this timeless quest, we remember that the journey itself is as transformative as the destination, and every step brings us closer to the light of our own inner truth.
1. Can anyone attain spiritual enlightenment?
Yes, spiritual enlightenment is a potential journey for anyone. It’s a universal aspiration that transcends cultural, religious, and social boundaries.
2. Is enlightenment a sudden or gradual process?
Enlightenment can occur both suddenly and gradually. Some individuals experience a profound shift in consciousness in a single transformative moment, while others undergo a gradual process of inner growth and realization.
3. What are the signs of spiritual enlightenment?
Signs of spiritual enlightenment include inner peace, heightened awareness, compassion, detachment from material desires, reduced fear and anxiety, and a deep sense of interconnectedness.