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.

Innermost Essence

This morning was spent on contemplating the changes that have occured in the last 4 years. A lot has happened in between and not only have things affected me on a personal level, but it seems the country, continents and the world at large has gone through a lot too.

In May 2016, when my Spiritual Master left His body, the brightest Light in my world had disappeared and I continue to miss His persona, His compassionate teachings and His understanding nature. My experiences with Him were always pleasant and one that moved me forward in my spiritual journey. In fact, it was having close contact with Him that truly helped. It was having the ability to discuss my ego and the way it would trap me and it often finished with a good belly laugh after recollecting the experience. When He would finally speak His one or two sentences, they would become pointings to guide me spiritually and they stood the test of time. I used to have a lot of questions too, I dare not repeat some of them here but He answered them gracefully and understood my doubts fully. He made space for me to deal with them. He never advised me to let go of my doubts but instead instructed for me to keep pursuing the doubt so I carried on learning.

I do believe that behind every doubt lies a great teaching. Doubt is like a veil that hides the Light of the Teaching. You have to use your hands to remove the veil, you must have faith that you will get to the Teaching. You simply cannot surrender and expect the veil to move by some hand of God. Therefore, it requires an element of strength and determination that one would work on delusions and ignorance so the Light faces no obstruction.

There is a gift that my Spiritual Master gave and the Spiritual Masters that have followed Him have continued to give – that is to show the way to the Inner Light of my atman (innermost essence). It is understanding that this innermost essence must be discovered daily, I must abide by it as much as I can and be aware of it as much as I can. This innermost essence is formless, shapeless, colorless, boundless, limitless etc.

4 years on with the continuous guidance from my Spiritual Master(s), I have found that this innermost essence is shining brighter whenever I focus and concentrate on it. The question is my availability to this practice. The ability is already given when one is blessed with Brahm Gyana (Knowledge of the Ultimate Reality). Even a minute spent available to this wonderful blessing is most beneficial. Yes, the Spiritual Master will always be the brightest Light and will be there to guide but it is us, as individuals that have to awaken that same Light within us. It is my delusion that this Light, that is the brightest ever just shines with one individual, when really it is within every being. To say it is not, I would be implying that the first spiritual sages thousands of years ago and the philosophy built upon their teachings till date is wrong. Day by day, this feeling grows stronger that each being is divine and all are the same One Light. All that is needed is the vision to see this Light within everyone and understand that no veil can extinguish it.

Mirages and Spiritual Awakening

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Growing up with a thirst for spiritual awakening was not easy as I had to study and build a life thereon. Studying for me was boring because it was forced upon me and inside I knew that I would probably never use half of the things I learned in high school. I was right about that but my thirst for spiritual awakening was also growing, as I became more thirsty, several mirages appeared in my life to distract me – whether it was women, intoxicants, wealth etc.

Eventually these mirages were ignored after several years of going through these experiences as if they were true. I look back at the past and think I was so sure I was doing the best thing for me and now I almost regret some of it. However, what has been done has been done. I have to move forward.

As several mirages appeared again, I knew it was right to let them be as they were but not be allured towards them. I was then clear for spiritual awakening, so I thought but such experiences never come easy even if you have the tool to instantaneously get it.

The mirage of concepts was very heavy and while I got rid of some concepts through careful analysis on their validity, I ended up created some more concepts and down again I went down the rabbit hole. From saying there is a god to know saying there isn’t a god – I was firm on both these concepts at one time and now – I don’t know even though the answer is very, very clear to me.

Two things I had never let go of: One was my love for my Spiritual Master and two was my meditation. Even though, I tried to stay clear from my Spiritual Master, I understood that something else was being played. Even though I disagreed a lot with some of the philosophy that His organization taught, it was later discovered through my own meditation that those were my philosophies and not His. This was when I realized that our perception had to be cleansed in order to truly understand a philosophy as it is and not how you interpret it.

Let’s just say that the way I see the philosophy now is very simple – the realization of the Formless Self, is the realization of your True Self. The Spiritual Master just points at that Formless Self. It is up to you whether you look at the Formless Self or take a little detour with looking at the Spiritual Master. If you do take the detour, it becomes dangerous territory because you may love the Master but your mind has not realized it’s true self so therefore, your Master will be judged by you – even if it is a positive judgement. Any judgment will not let you see something clearly.

As I mentioned, I stayed away from my Master while I was going through this major analysis, but I was very devoted to meditation and meditated a lot. I was working and would wake up as early as 4am and meditate for an hour, then read for two hours and then get ready for work. It so happened, that on a Saturday, I started meditating again around 9am and as I was focussing on empty space for a while, I saw the tiniest dot of Light appear and I was amazed at this. I floated in this empty space and went near it and I heard a sound that simply said ‘Before this, I am,’ and I just saw this dot expand and the whole of creation was presented to me. I couldn’t contain myself and took myself out of the meditative state. I didn’t know what I experienced other than there had to be something before creation.

I have never forgotten this experience but it came back to me three weeks ago. This time, the tiniest dot was not seen but empty space was taken away from me and I came to an absolute stillness and centered my whole focus on that stillness. I was so taken aback by it that it felt like I had been there for 10 minutes when in fact, it had only been around 30 seconds. It was an intense experience. I realized one major thing – it didn’t matter whether this is god or not – there is only stillness. Call it whatever you want now to personalize it. I totally understand why we name it. Yes, it certainly dilutes what It Is but people need something to relate to and the easiest thing to do is to name it.

I enjoyed this experience and I have noticed how it continuously presents itself to me without any desire from my side. It’s presence cannot be ignored by me. It only then occurred to me that my Spiritual Master had told me about this around 5 years ago. He held his right hand out, His palm facing His stomach, maybe 15 cm away from His stomach and with His left hand waving in between the right hand and the stomach said “You have to be aware of this, it is stillness. Keep focusing on this awareness.” Little did I know that after almost 3 years of His departure from His physical form would this golden nugget of wisdom make sense to me and I would understand it.

The mirage I had then was that a Spiritual Master is only the physical body, this is a massive illusion. The teachings are of an eternal nature and so is the presence of the Master. It is now that I truly appreciate everything that has been taught to me. I am still learning, discovering and in fact, I am more eager to learn than I probably was in my teens. Spirituality has no end in terms of literature but in the end it is your own experience that matters. Use the literature to inspire you, refuse to let it be a concept.

A few weeks ago, I had my second spiritual awakening, the sight towards enlightenment is also on the horizon. All gratitude goes to my Spiritual Master.

 

 

Don’t give up!

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The spirit of a spiritual aspirant is one that doesn’t give up trying and always knows that enlightenment is the end point of the beginning of a great journey into the Eternal.

The issue today that I find is that many people like talking about spirituality but how many truly desire something spiritual? How many truly want enlightenment? Do they want a life which leaves them vulnerable and sensitive? I don’t know if it is everyone’s cup of tea.

Being vulnerable to other people disappointing you and even betraying or cheating you is not an easy future to face with. Yes, there is bliss and joy but the enlightened experience is the experience of everything in stability and stillness. Therefore, I would like to say that being enlightened, the observation of the end of the journey seems to be disturbing for many.

A lot of times, especially in the age of so-called rational intellectualism, we overthink certain concepts and this takes us away from one key thing – practice. We should practice and practice whenever we find ourselves consumed with rational intellectualism. It is not bad to be rational or intellectual, this is a necessary part of the spiritual journey so we stay away from dogma, doctrine and superstition but when we overthink on whether a practice of self-discovery is right or not, we just delay the actual practice of it. I was very guilty of this and now I have let go to simply experiencing and practicing.

Practice and the determination to attain the greatest heights helps us to move forward. Instead of focusing on the material acts that are done out of a spiritual or religious spirit, but to have positive wishes of global peace and compassion is just as important. Physical acts of service towards others is just as important as the spiritual prayer for healing others. We have to appreciate that help comes in many ways and all ways should be celebrated.

The essence is to always help materially as well as spiritually in perfect balance and harmony. This is only achieved if we understand that human beings are physical and emotional beings.

To truly move forward, I recommend that practicing meditation or self-remembrance will take you leaps and bounds. First, discover your true self before you think of helping another. Helping with awareness is holistically sound.

Remembrance – the key to being who You really are.

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Some of us learn to meditate, we have done it for many years but there always comes a point when we feel that something is blocking any further progress. The thing with meditation, apart from its scientific and medicinal value, it is a spiritual practice that is about reaching a state beyond the body and mind.

I have always used the image of my Guru – Nirankari Baba Hardev Singh ji when I begin the remembrance of the Formless Truth. Remembrance is the next stage after meditation. Meditation clears the mind, remembrance goes beyond the mind. Meditation takes you to the boundless, formless state whilst remembrance allows you to become the boundless, formless state. Remembrance is simply knowing who you are and being who you are. When we seek to know our true nature that is meditation, when we seek and become that becomes remembrance.

The power of remembrance is moving beyond words and entering silence. When you know you are focussing on the Formless, you recognise you are in This and you are blessed. This is the blissful state that is only felt with remembrance. When you become that very thing that is always stable and still – when you remember that this is your nature then stability and stillness is your state whilst in movement.

Meditation comes in waves and you reach peaks and valleys. However, with remembrance you are able to be in this one state of rising above, you are the witness and observer. You are neither moved by pleasure or pain, happiness or sadness, differences of forms, by the nature of thought, by action or inaction.

What I am saying here is not about comparing. If you think this is comparing then it is ego. Many compare the difference and then drop one of them. If you want to enter the state of remembrance, meditation surely does help and can help you get to focus quicker. Use meditation to help you if remembrance is proving to be difficult. Whilst meditation needs to move to remembrance eventually as this is the next stage.

I still sit with my back straight, tilt my head back a little and allow my eyes to focus on the third eye area, sit cross-legged with my palm facing upwards whilst my forearm rests on my knees and this is something I learned during my meditation days. I carry this forward because it reminds me of the sacred space I am about to enter completely. Then I begin to enter the state of remembrance and lose all essence of myself and enter this formless state and be in complete being.

Remembrance is being both in movement – sitting, sleeping, eating, waking, walking, talking etc and at the same state be in the same state of the formless – still, free, boundless, love, compassion, blissful etc. This is the tricky aspect of remembrance. You have to live normally and do all the normal things but be still and blissful like a Sage, a Buddha or your Guru. This is the essence of spirituality that not many can grasp or understand. They cannot balance this because they have not become the formless state. They fear it because somewhere they have fear for something. If you want to enter the Formless and be the Formless then you have to be as mighty as a lion, fearless and determined to be completely free.

In this state of balanced remembrance, you will be able to fully function in your daily activities and be in bliss at the same time. This has to be the goal for anyone seeking enlightenment. There is no two ways about it. This whole process is made easier with the grace of a Master, a Buddha, a Sage. I was lucky enough to have a Master, who gave His kind grace and showed me how to meditate and be in remembrance of His true nature. The Spiritual Master is a mirror and reflects Your true nature and this is the beauty. Unless, we clear our vision so we can see this true reality, we will be stuck in just praising the Master but doing nothing about it. We have to be as the Master wants us to be. The disciple has to end the relationship between the Master and Disciple because their relationship has to go beyond all titles and labels into a state of unconditional love. This has to be the aspiration of the disciple.

The Grace of the Master with practice on remembrance makes the whole process towards enlightenment easier and we need to learn to be this Formless at all times. Settling for anything less isn’t good enough. Go beyond everything so you can be Everything.

Be in remembrance – when you know you are focussing on the Formless, you can observe and witness the Formless and converse with it. Then you recognise you are in this Formless and are protected by this Formless. Finally you are blessed because you are one with this Formless – the bliss and ecstasy you are witnessing and have become is the biggest blessing. And in this process, you may see your Master and seeing the Beloved Master is just another sign that the blessing has begun. And it surely has for me!

Try out being in remembrance and feel and become the presence of That which you seek.

Thank you for reading. Please like, share and comment.

His blessings
Rahul