Why is Enlightenment so Difficult to Attain?
Levels of Enlightenment
There are two categories of what is called enlightenment. First, there is enlightenment that comes from the mind. This includes enlightenment of the mental body where people receive a certain amount of illumination that happens through the mind, and it also includes the many ideas of enlightenment" which are Illusions of enlightenment. The word "enlightenment" is used very loosely today to apply to a lot of different spiritual practices and mental states" So, there are many ideas about enlightenment, and even more ideas about the illusions of enlightenment.
The second aspect to enlightenment is of the heart. It is talked about considerably in the Buddhic, Vedantic and Sufi paths, and to a far lesser extent in other paths. Enlightenment of the heart is a different focus from that of the mind, and, in my view, enlightenment of the mind is incomplete without the enlightenment of the heart.
In order to bring our soul into the physical dimension, we have been clothed in a garment which can live in this degree of density. This garment is our personality which is composed of physical, emotional, mental, and etheric bodies. What happens in the process of life experiences is that our soul becomes caught in the personality, which, in turn, gets caught in the pain and other illusions that are characteristic of the physical dimension. The experiences in this plane which were supposed to be of love, beauty, and fulfillment have become distorted into deep experiences of limitations and the deepest limitations are pain, suffering and disease.
Every time someone throws their emotions at you it challenges you to see if you can maintain the love within you that is the core essence of your being, in spite of what the other person's emotional upset. If your lover or boss comes in screaming at you, can you hold the love? If we want to match the love quality of God, we must do the same for others. If you get hooked by the other person's emotions, you lose your center and your love, and become entangled with like emotions. This further encases you in the illusions of the lower emotions. Ask yourself why you fell into this trap? Why did you forget? Why did you lose yourself? Go inside yourself and purify that place so you don't forget the next time it happens.
To progress on the enlightened path you must become equal-minded or neutral unaffected by victory or defeat, profit or loss, joy or sorrow, hot or cold, honor or dishonor, or any other pairs of opposites. When you are equal-minded you will experience joy and feelings of love and satisfaction regardless of outer circumstances. When you reach this state, others can no longer hook you with their emotions or illusions. This is a very high way to live, and brings great freedom with it. If you are not living with that freedom, you are like a cork floating on water in a storm" being pushed around by the projections of everyone around you" letting their illusions rule and create your reality. If you live this way, you are letting the blind leading the blind" letting another person's illusions create deeper illusions, and you both live in a state of limitation and pain. Be free. When someone throws something at you, you recognize it as an illusion, and say, "I love you, but I'm not interested in loosing my love and leaving my heart."
Somehow humanity has lost track of its Divine essence and became lost in personalities and living according to the desires of the personalities. We are all trying to get out of the limitations we have become ensnared with, and so we pursue multiple paths to relieve the suffering.
What if we were to orient our efforts totally to seeking God and God only? Not God as a concept, not God as a being judging us, but to the Divine truth and intelligence that lives within us all. And what if we were to commit ourselves totally and completely to that? What if we were willing to clear the veils of illusion that cover our hearts from the full experience of our Divinity?
Most are confused by their emotions, and so they live in mental worlds of constant thinking, plotting, reasoning, wondering, analyzing, and scheming. But, remember, the mind creates illusions, and that is all it can ever create. The mind creates illusions about who and what you are, and they run very wide and deep. Each person's illusions are then projected on others, and every illusion has a core of followers. So, in life you find a confusing choice of options to distract you from your goal. If you, yourself, live in illusions and not your Divinity, you will be easily distracted by the philosophies and projections of others which can only manifest lack, limitation, pain, and disease.
Your energy field is formed by your thoughts, and your thoughts create energy patterns in your subtle bodies. These energy patterns create and attract conditions and situations based on the character and quality of those thoughts. Those patterns also coalesce into the physical body itself. Depending on the nature of those thoughts a person's life and health will eventually reflect the quality of the thoughts.
The Fast Track to Enlightenment
Since you have free will, you can choose what to think and how to live. You can play your illusions out for years or decades, but they will eventually show up in your life as physical disease, emotional pain, psychological neuroses, and an overall limitation on the quality of your life. This is the law of life. The path of surrender is the fastest and safest path to enlightenment.
The majority of seekers take convoluted paths of lateral movement forever seeking the mysterious hidden alchemical keys to open the gates to the Kingdom. Seeking and searching from the timeless teachings of the mystery schools to modern brain machines; from new age music to mysticism; from Eastern religions to Western religions; from ancient civilizations to aliens, and a whole lot more. Is the seeking fun? Probably. Is there some enrichment? Of course. But at the end of trail, enlightenment is still elusive, and the seeker is left still wondering about life after decades of searching. After a lifetime they discover that they did not experience a celebrated life of ecstasy because they transcended, nor did they experience holiness because they found God, rather they face the grave after a lifetime of searching with a resignation that they lived the best life they could, but never reached what they wanted. They say, 'thank you' and leave. Life was not meant to be this way, and it doesn't have to stay this way.
Why is Enlightenment so Difficult to Attain?
Consider all that you have looked at or studied. Some of the areas you have probably looked into include: Native American traditions, Tarot, Astrology, Buddhism, Cabalah, Yoga, Hinduism, Mysticism, Huna, Mythology, Numerology, Psychic Development, Theosophy, World Literature, and Zen. Probably everyone has spent time with several of these studies and others besides. There is an incredible amount of diversity available today, and most seekers are scattered not knowing where to look next, but always searching for the missing key. Of course, it is OK to study all the systems you would like. That is your free will, and there is certainly some value to it, but why not also take the direct non-stop flight to God. That is your goal isn't it? That is the stated underlying goal of nearly all systems, yet they are filled with an obstacle course of mental illusions on the road to enlightenment.
I have already stated that you have a personality (Physical, Emotional, Mental, and Etheric bodies), but you also have within you, your heart center, and within your heart center is your soul, and within your soul is God. To reach through the layers and find God, you must align all the components of who you are, and bring them all back to God. This is done through the constant remembrance of God through meditative practices, which stop the searching and side-to-side movement. Yes, you will move forward, and fall back a little, but your overall movement will be forward and direct. If you invested the same time and energy into directly seeking and remembering God as you have been investing in your side-to-side searching, you would be much, much further ahead than you currently are. Don't waste your life seeking side-to-side anymore. The quickest way to God, is through love, surrender and trust.
4 LEVELS ON THE PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT
On the direct path to God, there are four major levels composed of stages in each. The first level starts at the level of the darkest aspects of self, and progress to the fully integrated self. For example, when a person hears an inner voice say, "Lie, cheat, and steal," and that person goes out and does those things, then that person is listening to the lowest stage. When a person hears the inner voice say, "Lie, cheat, and steal," but he responds, "I don't think I should do that. I don't think it is right," he is operating out of the second stage. When that same voice comes in and says, "Lie, cheat, and steal" and the person responds "I know that isn't right, I wish to live with God. I won't do it." That person is in the third stage. When a person reaches the fourth stage that voice is quiet, the temptations go away, and another voice is heard. A person living in the higher stages is listening deep inside their heart to the voice and presence of God.
When the upper stage of Level One is completed, that person jumps to the 2nd level, which is composed of the stages of opening the heart. These are levels of deeper communion with the divine presence within. This level is so beautiful that many people reaching this level believe they have reached enlightenment. They are no longer living for satisfaction of the personality and what the personality wants. This person is living with surrender and deeper levels of divine love. They are merging their heart with the divine heart. In time, if they continue on this path, they will come to another quantum jump into the 3rd level composed of the stages to deepening into the Soul where the individual soul and God-Realization merge.
Each person is individualized with unique qualities, colors, purposes, and vibrations. The stages to deepening into the Soul are about the disappearance of individualized identification and merging into Divine or God Presence. In the levels of the stages of opening the heart, you are listening to the "still small voice" of God inside of you. By this point in your development you will know you are hearing a clear inner voice not of your subconscious mind or your spirit guides, but the voice that comes from the essence of the Divine within you that is all in all.
Now, in the stages to deepening into the Soul, the individualized soul begins to disappear, until there is nothing left but complete unity and love which is God. Your soul merges back into the essence of the ocean of all awareness. At this point your soul stops to function as an individualized self, and instead lives in deep truth which is the greatest love you can have. This movement is described as the extinction of the individualized soul and it's movement back to the unity of God. In the East this is called Nirvana. Nirvana means emptiness. This is the state of emptiness that exists before one fills with the Divine Presence. It is the releasing of individuality before one comes into the fullness of God Realization. It is the void before enlightenment. This is a difficult time because it is one thing to say, "I'm going to give up all of my ego wants and needs," and another, to be actually willing to really die or become extinct yet into God. That is, let yourself disappear completely into God. In Nirvana, there is nobody here. You as the soul are gone. This is a very deep and holy thing, because now you disappear. This can be a terrifying event for the ego. Our ego driven identities want to survive and desperately cling to what is known, and yet at this stage of evolution a person must be willing to surrender everything they have known themselves to be. What is left is a consciousness ready to be filled with the full qualities of God.
At this point you enter the 4th level with the stages of divine evolution, which are the stages where the qualities of God come in to fill you, until you are completely and totally filled with the presence of love. When you cross into this stage you enter the world of unity. At this point you can now say you have reached enlightenment - total God-Realization. You have really disappeared now, you are not in the void, not just feeling blissful, not just feeling cosmic, not just knowing and understanding spiritual truths, but living completely in the nature of God filled with deep love, and you are held eternally in the beloved essence of your true divine nature. The Vedanics call this Nirvikalpa Samadhi. This is the journey of the self to God until you become completely full of the many qualities of God, and this is called complete enlightenment. From the 4th level a person no longer experiences the kinds of problems that most people experience. From the 3rd level and downward there can be disease, struggle, difficulties and all sorts of problems in increasing amounts the lower you go.
To follow this path requires a process of (1) Meditation and (2) commitment to living a pure and respectful life.
OUR JOURNEY TO ENLIGHTENMENT
We go through lifetimes of living through our ego which is constantly seeking control. We delude ourselves that we are the powerful and enlightened ones, when in actuality all of everything is of God or our Divine Essence. Even Jesus said, "Of myself I can do nothing." We have the choice to deny God with our free will, but even that choice is given to us. When you say, "I want to live my life my way," Your Divine Nature says, "I grant you the permission to live that way," but know that your own energy is reflected back to you.
Who is causing existence to manifest? It is what we experience as God. The entire creation is God's creation. The entire universe is filled with God, it is nothing but God, and the pure energy and intelligence of God. God is in and through everything and everyone. God is in every object, every person, and every thing. God, the ever-luminous light of intelligence and awareness, shines equally in every heart. When you recognize the presence of God dwelling in everyone, you will no longer be able to harbor resentment for anyone. Therefore the safest way is to put aside your self and seek the depths of your divine nature. This is the straight and narrow way - the way directly back to God. Once you make this commitment and surrender yourself totally, every day, you will make very rapid progress.
WHAT THE PROCESS IS LIKE
Your insides will become washed with the pure light of God. You will no longer walk around with the pulls of the flesh, negative energy attachments, or emotions. Gone will be anger, pride, greed, lust, attachment, jealousy, fear, resentment, and all the other qualities of the human race and the mass consciousness that we have carried with us for lifetimes. One-by-one they will melt away, because you will be disappearing and you will be returning to your true nature which is God and love. In this state of being there is only love, beauty, and peace. Life takes on a higher, deeper, wider, and more full expression of these qualities far broader and deeper than you could ever imagine. As long as your heart is covered with the veils of illusion you can only know these qualities in small measure.
Wanting, desiring, trying, searching, and attachments are all immense levels of suffering. If you can let those veils go and come to God, and dissolve into God's will and the magnificence and radiance of life, there won't be anything left, but the peace, beauty and love of God. There are so many things we must all release, and it often seems like an insurmountable and endless task. Fortunately, there is a way to effect rapid and wide-spread releases so it is not necessary to enumerate or remember every last item to be released. It is all done through the process of surrender, remembrance and meditation. To become free from the pain and limitations of life, you must release the past, and meditation coupled with surrender is the way. Here is how it is done:
THE PATH OF SURRENDER
Surrender is the highest and most important practice you can possibly undertake. Go through your life and give up, release and surrender everything you can think of. Every person, every possession, every feeling, every hope, every desire, everything you like and don't like. Include: your body, your need to be right, your dreams, your fears, your gray hair, your fat stomach, your anger, your mind, your mortgage, your mate, your need to be enlightened, your children, your friends, your enemies, your debts, your lacks, your limitations, your impatience, your mind, and your life.
Surrender means releasing and letting go of all resistance. Surrender means having no desires separate from the one desire to be fully surrendered. It means offering up as an act of love everything you say, think and do, as well as what will be done, when it will be done, and how it will be done. It is "taking no thought" and watching as the "Red Sea" of obstacles parts before you. Yes, obstacles melt, and the path opens before you to straighten out and open all the narrow and crooked places. But you must want God-Realization more than you want air. It must be the strongest burning desire within you. Then you must have serene patience, and all that you could ever want or desire will be given to you.
A functional label for our divine nature is Sat-chit-ananda. It means that this power or force that is filling the universe and beyond has three attributes: Lying at our core is what has been said to be beyond the mind and words. Sat means true, real or existent and carries with it the idea that the Self is beyond all impermanence and can never cease to exist.
Chit means Awareness or consciousness. Actually the awareness that pervades all things. Ananda means bliss. In this true self that we are, there is completeness, balance, harmony, and happiness... there is no disharmony and no lack, pain or struggle.
Our spiritual path then is to enable us to navigate through the outer layers with wisdom, balance and harmony, while deepening our realizations of the true nature of our being which is the Sat Chit Ananda.
As you sit in meditation you tune into your body and your inner space and observe what is there. After several minutes of getting in touch with your inner space you identify sensations, perceptions or voices and you say, "I am willing to surrender and release the need for this." Then you wait to see what the inner response is to the statement. When you start this practice, memories, feelings or voices will arise within you saying things like, "This is crazy." "You are not doing this right." "This is silly." "You don't deserve this." "This will never work." "This is a waste of time." "This is too hard." But as you continue surrendering whatever arises, the reactions will diminish and you will discover some amazing changes beginning. By surrendering you will gradually connect with your soul and God presence more and more deeply and as you do, your inner being becomes an incredibly beautiful radiance of love, peace and beauty. Your life can totally change in a matter of hours. This is very powerful and very fast. When the clearing is done with these techniques they are cleared forever.
When you are willing to drop yourself and all your attachments, you fall deeply into the love of God and you are consumed by God. You and God become one and the only thing left is the unity and oneness that is all that is. From that place there will be no disease, no suffering, no lack, no pain, no separation--there will simply be the essence of deep love, deep peace, and deep beauty.
A QUESTION FROM A READER
I have just finished reading your article on "Enlightenment". For the first time in a long time I felt I had found something that had real meaning for me. I was very excited, and then my analytical mind kicked in. I am still trying to surrender all my desires to God. I am finding this a challenge as what do I have left if I don't think for myself. If I surrender all my thoughts to God, then am I thinking? Do I not want to be thinking? If I can't think then what? I could really use some help on this theory. Could you please explain a little more, or guide me. Thank you.
The fear of losing your identity is a projection of the lower ego consciousness, which is not your true self. You are an individualized energy and consciousness housing a lower and higher vibration or consciousness. Your illumined consciousness, which is also called your God Self, your Higher Self, your soul, your Master Within, your Christ Consciousness, your True Self, your God Realized Self, etc., is present and living simultaneously with your mortal mind and ego. When you move into higher consciousness you do not lose consciousness and wake up as a stranger in a strange land. You do not trade one mind for another. You do not have a sense of loss because you remain Self aware--in fact, you become more alive and more aware with more understanding, knowledge, and awareness. As your thinking and feeling natures move up to a higher co-ordinate in your energy field, you take on the consciousness of the Higher Self, and the dark energies and fears of the ego are transmuted. While there were two states and consciousness (duality), now there is only one. On this higher frequency you are fully aware of your God Self and you know the reality of yourself.
The subject of surrender takes awhile to understand and a longer time to master. There are degrees of surrender, and it is the ultimate spiritual path that will take you where your heart longs to be.