Instant Enlightenment – Is it a Myth?

Growing up, I feel that I was always told that we can realize God in an instant, and that realizing God is the same as being enlightened or self-realized. Although, I believed this when I was growing up, when I did receive the Knowledge that was meant to give me this instant enlightenment, I didn’t feel enlightened or god-realized. The Knowledge given was potent enough for me to feel the Energy that it was pointing to but my mind didn’t change, I didn’t have any experience like feeling oneness with everything.

I say all this because my Guru has never claimed to me that I would get instant enlightenment, He always told me to continue working hard on my spirituality. To be honest, I don’t know how I got the idea that I would get instant enlightenment/liberation, my memory doesn’t serve me well on this point. It did get me disenchanted with spirituality around 10 years ago though and that wasn’t a nice experience for me. I was also told that I will be liberated but to be honest, I was still scared of heights and spiders at that time, so obviously I didn’t feel so liberated! How can you feel free when basic fears still roam the mind?

I used to hear people talk about how they were instantly enlightened or could see god everywhere but it didn’t tally up with their actions so it took me down a path of confusion.

It was only years later that I started to read wider spiritual literature that I started to understand that enlightenment was very unlikely to be instant, it was always a steady process. Not everyone simply got it straight away without the mind being fertile enough to receive the Knowledge, therefore once received, it was the only thing needed. Most of us, need to spend and focus time on building a spiritual practice that is serious enough for enlightenment.

Today, the neo-advaita scene, the neo-bhakti scene, all make promises of instant enlightenment. However, they are making a huge mistake. It is not instant enlightenment but one is able to recognize the immediacy of the Truth, once the Knowledge or Pointing is received. One is able to understand the Taste but that is it. It is like when you go to an Ice-Cream shop and taste different samples. Once you taste a flavor, you immediately have the taste, you recognize it. You may order 1 scoop, but that one scoop will finish. Therefore, this ‘enlightenment’ really is short-lived and is more likely to be an awakening or a satori. What I consider enlightenment is a perpetual state – it is continuously there as the ego has dissolved away.

So what if like me, you were given the promise of instant enlightenment, or you read books, watched YouTube videos, listened to podcasts, went to satsangs, meet-ups or retreats and were told you would be liberated instantly because the Truth is always now, the Truth is always here, only to find out that really there has been little progress and you have fooled yourself into thinking you are liberated, you are enlightened? Well, don’t worry, there is hope, even for the likes of me and you!

There have been great Gurus of the past and present that understand that Truth can be realized, right here, right now but it requires some effort in the beginning. Most of the people that seem to get it instantly tend to have already done great practice in the past. Therefore, it isn’t as instant as it is perceived.


So let’s look into what needs to be done when we receive that special Mantra, Knowledge/Gyana, Pointing or Initiation?

Contemplate on that Mantra, Knowledge etc.

Take time out to think about whatever you received. Take time out to contemplate on this wisdom. What impact does it have on your mind? What does it do to your surroundings? Does it do nothing and still feel potent? Contemplate on it, focus on it, dwell on it, don’t let go of it. The more you live with it, the more it helps you.

Meditation

Meditation is a useful practice and this meditation that I am talking about is specific. Just watch your mind and keep watching. Travel with each thought and emotion and see where it leads to. Find where the thought or emotion appear from. How does it get formed? How does it dissolve? This isn’t easy as it sounds and is an arduous process and doesn’t offer it’s rewards easily.

Reading Scriptures

Reading the Scriptures, I am mainly someone that has studied texts from Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism. This is important. When we read, we are meant to contemplate on the words. Look at what they really mean to us, forget whether the interpretation is right or wrong because investigation or inquiry into it will help us get to the correct meaning. However, when we read more about the Truth, we find ways on how to incorporate it because Sages who got enlightenment, liberated, they recorded their guidance there. This is the satsang that is most important.

Prioritize and spend time for your spiritual practice

You have to spend more than 2 or 3 hours a week on it, if you want to get any results. Spirituality isn’t a part-time affair or entertainment for a couple of hours. It is serious, more serious than one can imagine but there is fun in there too. If you do chanting, or listen to mantras with music, it creates an ecstatic feeling so it can be joyful, you may end up dancing, that is fine. However, your discipline to spend time on your spirituality must be serious. It has to be as focused as possible and must be everything you want. The thing is, we don’t have to let go of our material possessions or anything like that, or let go of any desires. Let your spiritual practice define what needs to be done. What matters most is what matters to you the most.

Be honest in your reflections

Be honest about where you are spiritually, record it in a journal or start a blog like me. Inquire into your spiritual journey with great honesty everyday and don’t be disheartened if it hasn’t moved forward for a while. The more honest you are, the more humble you will become. All this is a natural process. There is no need for the holier than thou attitude and if you read the scriptures, you recognize that none of those sages ever had that attitude. They were humble and honest and wanted future generations to continue with that legacy.


These are a few things I wanted to mention that will guide us into a more gradual journey towards enlightenment. It may take a long time, it may end up happening instantly, who knows but the fact is we need to be humble, honest and ego free. If we are to become true spiritual beings, we have to imbibe all the virtues required. We cannot become bigots after enlightenment, it isn’t possible. If one can fall from grace like that, I question if one ever was in grace or was enlightened.

This may take years, but I am ready for this type of journey. I am ready to take the time to be more aware and be brutally honest about it. Yes, the Truth is here and now, and I feel it but I haven’t become it yet. There isn’t a union or oneness with it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from my side. It may be united with me but doesn’t mean I understand that it is always united with me.

I hope what I said makes sense and please do reach out to me if you have any questions or comments. This is a discussion, a dialogue to get to a place where we want to become enlightened beings. We can discover the answers together with an open-mind.

J Krishnamurti – A Biography by Pupul Jayakar

Last night, I finished reading J. Krishnamurti: A Biography by Pupul Jayakar and I really enjoyed the great thoughts of this phenomenal mystic. I was introduced to Jiddu Krishnamurti (JK) through Osho, who deeply respected JK and I feel Osho propagated JK’s teachings in his own wonderful way too. However, it was my late Pritam Uncle ji who had asked me to read this book.

Pritam Uncle ji was an enigma to be around. I met him for the first time in 2014 and I will never forget his eyes that seemed to look right into my soul and a smile that emanated warmth. Whenever he spoke, he would speak of total awareness and how to really know our true self. He told me that only I could get there, no one else can help. He gave me three books and two of them were of JKs. One is the biography and the other one is the First and Last Freedom – which I am currently reading.

I wondered why my Uncle would ask me to read JK as I felt I couldn’t intellectually understand him back in 2014. But today, the teachings seem to make sense, I am able to follow them and even meditate upon them.

I strongly recommend the book if you want to know about the philosophy of J Krishnamurti and the life that he lived. From advising Prime Ministers, to discussing philosophy with scientists and most of all, he inspired many people like Bruce Lee, Aldous Huxley, Satish Kumar and I know Alan Watts loved him.

I want to share a few learnings from the book that really stood out to me and I hope you will like them too:

  • For the mind to be creative, there must be stillness. A deep stillness that can only come into being when you have faced your loneliness.
  • Only a total, non-fragmented perception can negate the observer and the observed. The seeing of “what is,” is the transformation of “what is.”
  • The mind which is the vessel of movement, when the movement has no form, no ‘me’, no vision, no image, it is completely quiet. In it there is no memory. Then the brain cells undergo a change.
  • In silence what is there to experience? Silence can only experience silence. Can silence leave an imprint?
  • There is an experience of silence and the mind remembers the feel, the perfume, the essence.
  • “If you knew that you were about to die, what would you do? Can you live one hour completely—live one day—one hour—as if you were going to die the next hour? But if you die so that you are living fully in this hour, there is enormous vitality, tremendous attention to everything. You look at the spring of life, the tear, you feel the earth, the quality of the tree. You feel the love that has no continuity and no object. Then you will find in that attention that the ‘me’ is not. It is then that the mind, being empty, can renew itself.”
  • ‘Nothing’ contains the whole universe. Not my petty little fears, anxieties, sorrows. After all, Pupul ji, ‘nothing’ means the entire world of compassion. Compassion is ‘nothing’, and therefore that ‘nothingness’ is supreme intelligence.
  • We offer a hundred commentaries but the actual fact is, we are ‘nothing’ except a lot of words. Can one grasp that the zero contains all the numbers? So in ‘nothing,’ all the world exists.
  • We have all been trained to be highly intellectual. A poor man who does not seem bright, he will understand a simple statement.

The above are a few words which I wanted to share and there are many many more. The greatest thing about Krishnamurti was that he never wanted to be a guru and never acted like one. It was in the book that whenever someone would touch his feet, he would touch theirs too. I found this beautiful and humble of him.

Another teaching of his that really captured my attention was that he talked about how memory doesn’t allow us to be totally aware of ‘now’, of the present moment, of ‘what is’. We cling to a past, to an image that may not have been there at the time. We could have manipulated it even if it was a pious memory. Krishnamurti guided that in order to have a clear mind, it was important to let go of memory. I find this to be true when I think deeply about it. I hold onto the memories of people I have worshipped but they are no longer here. I cannot physically perceive them and if I do, it is through a photo. Therefore, the journey is one that I have to take alone. I can respect the past but I cannot live in the past.

It is a wonderful book and one that I definitely recommend.

A Traveling Thought

The presence of a thought appeared this morning, 
Fresh and crisp as if it was ironed out completely, 
I wonder how this thought came into my psyche, 
When the thought went away, I was in mourning. 

This thought appeared initially dusty and worn, 
As if lying somewhere completely old and withdrawn, 
It was from the dark mind of insidious scorn, 
Today the mind decided it was to be re-born. 

So back to the same old thought I travelled again,  
On this trip I went on the journey with the thought, 
And then I came to clarity in a flash of zazen, 
Stillness and stability of mind that I finally caught. 

Critical Spirituality

Today I read an article published by the Vice on Conspirituality and how the Wellness Industry has become a loudspeaker for QAnon and misinformation about Covid-19, the US election, the Covid vaccine is thriving, along with its boundless support for Trump, who is seen as the Messiah. It is worth a read and I recommend that we all take some time out to read this.

I regularly listen to a podcast called Conspirituality, where a lot of the conspiracy theories that are infiltrating the Spiritual scene is debunked with facts, evidence and reputable studies. I recommend that we listen to these podcasts to take our critical thinking to a higher level.

I have seen smart and/or spiritual people on my social media feed fall to conspiratorial thinking. It has definitely shocked me enough to write about this. For quite some time, I thought only I was seeing this from people on my social media feed. When I started seeing people fall in love with Trump, then share their ideas about 5G radiation, even Pizzagate, I was wondering how did it all get to this? This is where the Conspirituality podcast really helped me and some amazing people on Facebook openly spoke about the rise of conspirituality. It shocked them and they had to address it.

For me, spirituality has to be one that is balanced with facts based on science and personal experience. It is understanding the fine line before we end up going towards wacky thinking or fantasy. Science has been a boon, most of the time, for the upliftment of society. Science has helped us understand our place in the universe, it has helped us understand the laws of Nature. Then there is the spiritual journey, where we seek to find God or Truth through whatever means, this shouldn’t interfere with the material world. This seeking should purely be kept to spiritual development alone. Yes, it is true that our spirituality will seep through to our material life, it will shape our views and will be the foundation to how we interact with the world, however, it should never get in the way of absolute truth. For example and this may make my point more clear, my spiritual views should never interfere with the fact that the Earth is a sphere.

Even when it comes to spirituality itself, how many of look at our journey with a critical eye? How many of us are just happy to go along with whatever the crowd is saying? If the crowd repeats a quote, slogan, or a story, how many of us just repeat it without thinking of the deeper philosophies behind such stories, slogans or quotes? How many of us inquire within to see how much time do we live in the awareness of a deity or our true Self? How many of us are willing to call out our our laziness in practicing spiritual values like compassion, love, honesty, understanding etc? Until we start becoming more critical about our own spiritual progress, then the collective spirituality will always be at a loss.

If you truly want to be your best self, then you have to understand that the whole crux of spirituality is understanding that there is no-self. In fact, what we call God is something beyond self and non-self. This is difficult for me to express and people may disagree with me here. New-age movements with there emphasis for a great ‘you’, really isn’t about ascending your true self to something higher. It may help to give you self-esteem but its just giving you another layer of ego, another layer of identity and can even create a narcissistic mentality. Why do I say this? It’s because I have gone through it myself. I have experience how these self-help books only expanded my ego and it didn’t help me attain a higher degree of spirituality.

I feel that people like Tony Robbins are not great people to follow either. Many people I know have attended his events and they feel fired up in the beginning and I appreciate that he gives people confidence. But how long does that confidence last? Not long. I haven’t seen anyone who followed Tony Robbins become an equal to him, forget exceeding him.

This is also applicable to Spiritual Gurus too. If you cannot help your disciples be equal or better than you then how effective is your teaching? Many people follow popular Spiritual Gurus with their catchy clickbait titles on YouTube and not one person who has watched all their videos has achieved enlightenment. In fact, most of it is ran like multi level marketing (MLM). If you liked the video and want to go deeper in spirituality, then buy this course. You buy that course then you are told this isn’t enough, you need to do this other practice so you make that purchase, only to be told once you completed that course that there is a 7 month program that you guarantees success and you end up in a cycle that will never end until you find your bank account has gone slim or your credit cards are maxed out. Of course, it is the whole carrot and stick analogy. The main question I want to pose in this section is where are our Swami Vivekananda’s today?

We can say that maybe we aren’t being decent disciples and not committing ourselves to practice so something has to change. Either disciples understand discipline or Gurus separate the wheat from the chaff (and the wheat isn’t the highest bidder). We have to take spirituality seriously, if we are to save it from entering a territory that Great Teachers like J Krishnamurti and Alan Watts never expected.

Let me know what you think in the comments because maybe I need to add more context behind something I have written and I can dedicate a post to it. We all have to be critical to our spirituality, if we are to evolve our respective Gurus or religious/spiritual organizations.

Approaching the Great Teacher

Earlier in the morning I was reading a book on J Krishnamurti and came across some beautiful lines:

Awake, arise, having approached the great teacher, learn.

The road is difficult, the crossing is as the sharp edge of a razor.

Katha Upanishad III

These words had an impact this morning. Some of us are fortunate to have a Living Spiritual Master, some of us are fortunate to have had a Spiritual Master in the past. We approach a Spiritual Master to learn something new, to gain some wisdom, to learn the practice of Spirituality that could lead to awakening or enlightenment. When we approach the Spiritual Master or the Great Teacher, do we simply just regurgitate what we have learned without seeing the implications of practice? Therefore, our repetition isn’t a sign of wisdom or understanding. The real words of the Spiritual Master is when practice defines and becomes the foundation of wisdom. This means our failures, obstructions, confusions, doubts all have a part in what is constituted as wisdom.

The attitude to learn is one where we are happy to admit that we do not know and acknowledging the long path ahead of us. As the lines of the Upanishad guides us further that the road is difficult. If we simply think that we are in a state of bliss because we have received a teaching, then that isn’t bliss but inspiration. We can feel inspired and sometimes we mistake this as bliss. Feeling inspired gives us a high that dies down after a couple of days and bliss is a continuous and unbreakable high according to the Sages of the East. Therefore, when we recognize the difference between the two, we can get closer to what is considered to be bliss. We must use that inspiration to move us forward fearlessly.

The crossing is as sharp as the edge of a razor. Do we truly feel this? That one wrong turn then we could be back to square one in our spiritual journey or we come to realize we didn’t move as far ahead as we thought we had. Do we understand that when we cross from knowledge to a practical application that it could destroy everything we know about ourselves. The body that we thought we were, the thoughts and memories that made us who we were, suddenly holds little value in life as we find ourselves at the pinnacle of true understanding. When we practice and realize that we are formless beings and are nothing but a manifestation of the Formless, are we happy to live by this wisdom? Can we live by this wisdom 24/7? These are questions to really ponder about.

Are we ready to arise and awake? Are we ready to approach the Great Teachers and admit we need to know more and that we need wisdom to awaken us? Are we aware of the difficulties that our mind will face once we receive knowledge from the Great Teachers? And can we confidently cross the ocean of materialism unscathed by the sharp edge of the razor called the ego?