Monday, September 28, 2009


The answer to this question is the stuff of books, treatises, poetry, religion, spirituality, psychology, science, neuro science , and insight, with little or no agreement between them. Almost, perhaps, like the question what is love. No real consensus on the definition of the term, but we know it, allegedly, when we see it.

If you have read the prior postings where we tried to define and update some of the core terms found in any discussions of insight, transpersonal growth and enlightenment, I believe a brief and usable definition emerges. It is by no means complete. For that, one should consult the brilliant and comprehensive works of Ken Wilber and his colleagues who remain alone on the cutting edge of such issues with their works on integral theory and practice.

For now, a more personal definition will suffice. Spiritual enlightenment is realized when you awaken and know without question, without doubt, that you are not the vulnerable mind and body and separate self existing on sensory input, thoughts, emotions, and fantasies, but you and your awareness are instead one with all manifestation and the very fabric of the universe. And that insight becomes the foundation of your existence permeating all that you do. Matter, energy, and awareness are one, not three. Non-duality, no self, and emptiness realized and lived, every moment of your life. And suffering, finally, lessens because you finally recognize that the real you dwells, not on a local level of mind and body where you can be devastated by the careless words of a lover or flattened by the winds of a tornado, but on an absolute, universal level of awareness. Nothing can threaten what you really are when there is nothing outside of you. For more of this, please read Ken Wilber's The Simple Feeling of Being (as well as everything else he has ever written and will hopefully continue to write) from which much of this definition was derived and shamelessly paraphrased.

If you read the prior postings, this definition may speak to you. If you have not, it may sound like more indulgent, metaphysical, new age dharma babble. Just remember however, some of the greatest most profound minds and spiritual traditions that have ever existed have used similar terms and shared similar insights, almost always independently and across the ages. Unless there is some grand conspiracy to delude you and other seekers like you, you might just want to pay attention to what they are saying and have continued to say across the millenia.

The next posting will focus on one of the most formidable barriers to these insights and that is physicality, materialism, and your own body/mind.