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Caution: For Serious Students of Spiritual Truth Only
The trational orthodox christian reading this, or the atheists out there, or those with strong unrelenting opinions and perceptions, or those with strong likes and dislikes, or those who automatically think society is based on truth, or those who think their current thought processes are already the highest level of truth, may not be ready for this article. If you're not ready, or not interested, that's solely your choice and there's nothing wrong with that. Just a friendly warning.

"The readiness to initiate the journey cannot be forced nor can people be faulted if it has not occurred in them as yet. The level of consciousness has to have advanced to the stage where such an intention would be meaningful and attractive."
- David Hawkins

Eventually, Enlightenment is the goal that replaces all other goals, and in actuality, there is nothing else worth pursuing.

Ignorance is Everywhere
The average person doesn't have a clue as to what Enlightenment is, many spiritual seekers have misguided ideas about what it is, and many spiritual teachers also don't have the correct understanding of what it is. But because "I" personally have stood on the brink of Enlightenment (but feared to follow through) "I" have a much greater understanding of what it is, and how to get there, than most others. So no, I'm not Enlightened, and even if I was, I couldn't say that I was because there would no longer be an individual ego/mind, and if there is no ego/mind, there is no individual "I" to claim anything. If this is completely beyond your current level of understanding, keep reading and it should become clear what is meant.

Enlightenment Is...
So to clear matters up, we're just going to spell it out in a very simple, clear, and lucid manner. Enlightenment is.. the PERMANENT dissolvement/cessation of ALL thoughts, thinking, concepts, and emotions of the ego/mind. In case you missed it, the key words there are "permanent" and "all". Enlightenment is the ceasing of all concepts, all notions, all ideas, all symbols, all words, all intellectualizing, all emotions, all thoughts, and all thinking. In order to let all of them go, one must be fully aware of them, and one must be watching them rather than being identified with them. When you watch them non-judgementally and without words or emotions, they dissipate into nothingness. When you watch them, you are Awareness, not the mind, and when you are wholly and completely Awareness, the very energy behind thinking is let go of.

Enlightenment is Not…
Enlightenment is NOT the development of psychic abilities, is not astral travelling, is not channeling entities, is not a temporary trance state, is not an artificially induced altered state of consciousness, it has nothing to do with "new age" anything, it doesn't involve the past or the future, it doesn't belong to any one specific religion, it doesn't involve rituals, it doesn't involve conspiracy theories, it has nothing to do with UFO's or aliens, it doesn't involve so-called "ascended masters", it doesn't involve playing with the law of attraction (karma), it doesn't involve visualization, it has nothing to do with vibrations or energy, it has nothing to do with science, it doesn't involve sex (tantra), it has nothing to do with crystals, colors, or vortexes, and it certainly doesn't involve codes, mysteries, or "secrets" of ANY kind. The surreal is not real. There's a reason that Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Ghandi, Mother Teresa, Plotinus, Lao Tzu, Muhammad, Ramana Maharshi, Nisargardatta Maharaj, Meister Eckhart, and many Zen Masters never taught any of these things. Some of these things are outright false and harmful, others are just simply irrelevant to personal growth, and some of these are quite beneficial to the average person, but when it comes down to Enlightenment, every last bit of everything needs to be un-learned and let go of.

Reality (Awareness) with a captial "R" has no shape or form whatsoever, and is beyond ALL intellectual concepts. The real Truth is eternal and changeless. It has always been relevant, and it always will be. Real spirituality involves bettering ONSESELF by ways of selflessness/Love and higher levels of awareness/truth that help us LET GO of concepts and thoughts because it's concepts and thoughts that obstruct peace (of mind). Spirituality is not the introduction of even more concepts, unless those concepts help us let go of concepts. Peace of mind is silence of mind. Which means that thoughts, thinking, perceptions, views, attitudes, emotions, concepts, opinions, beliefs, and attachments are the source of suffering. Many people say "I wouldn't want to live life without my emotions or thinking" (and that's okay if it's okay with them), but they don't realize that's the ego/mind talking, and if one were even for a brief moment to personally experience exquisite, ineffable, and profound Peace/Silence, one would certainly no longer hold that point of view.

"The less one thinks the more delightful life becomes." - David Hawkins

Awareness is the Only Reality
Essentially, you are not the mind and body of change (relative truth). You are the still, silent, unchanging Absolute; the Awareness that is aware of the mind and it's comings and goings, when a deliberate point of being aware of it is made. Watch the mind. That Awareness is changeless, timeless, shapeless, formless, and infinitely eternal. It has no beginning or end.

If you're able to watch the mind, then you are not the mind. How many minds do you have? Are you the mind, or are you the observer watching the mind? Only one of them is real. Just like the heart or lungs, the ego/mind is going and going all by itself. In other words, you are not the thinker of thoughts. Take 5 minutes to watch the mind and see for yourself. You can't control it. You can't stop it by controlling it, but you can stop it by watching it and losing interest in it. You are not the body and it's senses. You are not the mind and it's thoughts. You are the infintely silent Awareness that is aware of them. One is not subject to the countless faulty workings of the ego/mind when one stops identifying the automatic random repetitive thoughts of the mind as being "me". The very nature of the ego/mind can be summed up in one word... DRAMA. And what is drama? It's the absence of peace (of mind).

"Every phenomena that exists is a creation of thought; therefore I need but empty my mind to discover that all of them are void." - Huang Po, Zen Master

How does Enlightenment Happen?
First off, you (the mind) doesn't ever make it happen. It happens by ITSELF when all concepts of the mind are let go of, when the very energy behind thinking is let go of, when all wantingness and neediness is let go of, and when not even Enlightenment is sought after.

1. This can be done by the completely unconditional and radical forgiveness and acceptance of absolutely EVERYTHING, as it is right now in this very moment, always. This is the path of nonjudgemental acceptance, forgiveness, Love, compassion, and selflessness. If there's full blown acceptance of absolutely everything as it is, then there's nothing to judge, nothing to describe, nothing to define, nothing to talk about, nothing to express an opinion about, no thing to make into something, nothing to express a belief about, nothing to search for, nothing to manipulate, nothing to change, nothing to force, and there's nothing to think about at all. Everything just IS, nothing more, and one sees the absolute perfection and beauty in everything because everything and everyone is currently operating at it's own level of awareness and/or evolution. Everyone and everything is what it is right now because that's what it needs to learn, or un-learn. They REALLY DON"T know otherwise, or they don't want to know otherwise. If they REALLY knew otherwise, they would be otherwise.

2. Enlightenment can also happen by way of wisdom/Truth/mindfulness/Awareness, which involves non-effort, loss of interest in all thinking and thoughts, and letting go constantly and continuously. Watching the mind does not mean concentration or effort because concentrating is something that the ego/mind does. Nothing can be forced to happen, as force is the nature of the ego/mind. As soon as you watch thoughts, they dissapear. If you try to fight thoughts, you give them more strength because focus and energy is being put into fighting and conflict, which is again, a thing of the mind.

Nobody Becomes Enlightened
There is no conflict. You are ALREADY that Awareness, you always have been, and you always will be, even when you're identified with thoughts and thinking. Just like the sun is ALWAYS there even when clouds are covering it. If you are ALREADY formless unmanifested all-encompassing all-knowing Awareness beyond words and concepts, then there is absolutely NOTHING to get, grasp, gain, or obtain. You are ALREADY utterly whole, complete, and perfect, and there is nothing to search for, not even Enlightenment. You are already That. There is only Self-Awareness, the awareness of oneself as Infinitely Everything beyond physicality. But don't try to imagine this with the mind because it can't be done. Just get out of the way and lose "yourself". Get out of the way. Let go. Give up. Surrender.

In fact, this whole writing process is the consequence of silence, surrendering, allowing, waiting, listening, "receiving", intuition, epiphanies, being, and knowing. It has nothing to do with the intellect/ego/mind, and if on occasion it does, then something has gone wrong.

The End is Not an End
At the moment of Enlightenment the individual "you" (ego/mind) dissapears completely and literally dies. The me, myself, and I ceases to be. At that final moment there is a feeling of "I'm going to die", and this doesn't mean bodily death, it means the very essence of what you individually think you are (thoughts and thinking). The ego/mind fears it's own death, but all fear is an illusion because fear is an emotion, and all emotions (physical chemical reactions) are the result of being identified with the ego/mind and body (physicality). When the mind goes silent it's replaced by void, by nothingness, but that "nothingness" is only "nothing" because it's formless, non-physical, and unmanifested. In actuality, that "nothingness" is an all-encompassing Infinitely Everything, which is a profound ineffable Peace/Love/Wholeness/Completion way beyond description, which just simply IS. It's No-Thing, yet Infinitely Everything, yet beyond both because both are mere concepts. All words and concepts are meaningless because they are born from the ego/mind.

"The ultimate Truth is beyond words. Doctrines are words. They're not the Way. The Way is wordless. Words are Illusions." - Bodhidharma, founder of Zen

So you see, it's all really quite simple once it's spelled out.

Recommended reading:
I Am That
by Nisargadatta Maharaj