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Enlightenment – what is it?

By Karen Leys

karen.jpgI want to begin this article by challenging myself to see where I go with this question, to work with this question with my intellectual mind first, then allow a process to unfold and allow myself to be in this process. I have come back to the beginning of this article and added this paragraph. Now that I have come to an end point at this time with this question, I have just been on another step of my journey to enlightenment. By allowing myself the time to question my perceptions and belief systems to this point, I have been questing!


1. A process of unfolding information, experience, integration to a new level of understanding, through the development of personal will with emotional intelligence? The hero’s journey!
2. A removal of an ingrained belief/ perception that had been created through the individual making choices from belief structures of another’s will and direction?
3. An awakening to a new awareness through a process of :-
  a) confusion – finding oneself lost in belief systems that until that moment had sustained ones interaction with the world
  b) questioning, (questing) - where these ingrained ‘tribal’ systems had come from, separating from the ‘tribal system’ to see which fit and no longer fit
  c) exploring and experiencing new information/skills, developing ones own belief system with the limited emotional security
  d) application of these new skills and information, the experience of alternative outcomes.
4. An instantaneous breakthrough to levels of perception previously veiled from ‘view’.

Enlightenment from my limited experience and understanding contains the whole of who we are, it is an experience that includes the intellectual mind, the emotional aspect of our being and the spiritual nature of the who we are and the physical body. A process of refinement of who we are through a journey, from follower without question to way shower (wise person/sage archetype) with integrity, compassion and fearlessness!

As a subject that has been studied, pondered, debated and explored from many angles for thousands of years I am going to try to keep it as simple, yet as expansive as my experience will enable me. My personal experience of my ‘hero’s journey’ of enlightenment began the moment I began to re-awaken! This moment was my journey of a thousand miles beginning with the first step, I questioned! Enlightenment can only BE once the questioning begins.

Enlightenment is a life long process that yanks us from the deep sleep of ignorance into the waking state of unfoldment, to Oneness, and the chasm between these points being a journey of refinement, a process of alchemy, transforming the mind, the body, the spirit from lead to gold!

A fundamental aspect of enlightenment is the development of Will, personal will that is balanced in its use of Strength (strong will, compassion and integrity), good will and skill (skilful will!). Once the questing person has recognised, honed and developed the aspects of will in their personal life this then evolves into a collective, transpersonal Will.

The development and use of these qualities can assist us in making great changes in this world. We can have all sorts of dreams but without the conscious use of will, these dreams can become nightmares or just fade into nothingness. When we want to make a change in the world we need to use all aspects of will. The first is the consciousness (knowing) that we have the ability to create things, then the skill to rally all we need for its creation, tempered with the insight that we can affect the greater good depending on our intentions and the strength to motivate the manifestation of the objective!

enlightenment.jpgWe are collectively living through an historical time when this awakening process can be seen all around us, the cracking through the darkness into the light can be felt psychically all around us, the earth is screaming with the pains of this birthing process, as are we. Humanity is crying in pain as we transcend from the womb of gestation! The birthing contractions are strong, and we are still pretty much in the darkness of the uterus, but many can see the point of light. At this time it may look dark and bleak, but before the breaking of a new dawn a destruction of the old is a necessary step and this step is where individually the fear can halt us. Fear of change, resistance, avoidance are all relevant and necessary aspects of unfolding, without these stages we would not know things are transforming into new states of being.

The process of enlightenment can be seen symbolically in the cycles of nature. With winter, the period of darkness, of questioning, then on to Spring, the time to see the seeds planted in our autumn time emerge and burst through. At this time we can see the product of our choices from who and where we were previously, do we like what we see emerging, do we even notice what it is? Maybe these are the ‘flowers’ of our choices made through the will of others?

Here, if we are questioning, we have the choice to pull them up and prepare the soil for planting what we do wish to see grow! On the other hand if we have already had a season of pulling up the weeds and preparing the soil then maybe what we are seeing push through the earth are the shoots of the choices we made in our Autumn.

Then comes Summer, now this is the time for fullness of these choices, for them to grow into all they can become. They reach their zenith, become their fullest possibility of evolution at this moment.

The next phase, Autumn, is the phase that we as unfolding beings find the hardest – the time to let the nature of that self quieten, to die back and return to the earth. Mother nature does not fear this dying off, she trusts without question the return of this aspect of herself, the return next season, fuller, stronger & more of its fullest potential!

So I feel enlightenment is being in awareness of the nature of transformation from one state of being to another without fear, and with a trust so unquestionable, the existence of question is no longer perceived.

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