Welcome to part five of our spiritual journey. In our previous article, we looked at how to achieve spiritual awakening. Spiritual awakening begins with making space to be still and quiet to allow us to connect with infinite intelligence. In today's article, we begin to uncover the three stages of spiritual enlightenment.
Spiritual Enlightenment: Its Three Stages
Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment. Lao Tzu
The basic goal when undertaking a spiritual practice is enlightenment. The culminating point marked in the practices is when one already attains the spiritual enlightenment therefore they feel the unity of soul, leaving behind all physical and mental engagements and everything else. It is like possessing highly evolved souls, and sharing the kind of enlightenment that these spiritual masters experience as they spread it through the world.
For practical purposes, we take spiritual enlightenment into three levels.
The first level is the ego to which many men tend to stay. It’s like the hamster on the wheel. Your working at enlightenment but aren’t really getting anywhere. In this stage, you experience and live the reality as any individual would. We “see” life through our thoughts, emotions and memories. These are the characteristics of the ego. Most of us completely identify with these components of the ego, and for them, no self “outside” of this exists.
In this stage, we always watch other people and compare and measure ourselves to them. All the while attempting to adjust our actions and deeds to the expectations and opinions of others. We are not ourself we are caught on the hamster wheel of life. When spiritual enlightenment is considered, you are at a stage when you are taking everything as presented but you are also undergoing an effort to detach worldly things from your existence. This leads to stage two awareness.
In the second level, you rise into awareness, which appears as a result of releasing yourself from the hypnotic state of listening to your personal (ego) story. In this stage, we truly begin to learn about ourselves without identifying with our thoughts and emotions. We feel at home in our skin, and we realize that our alert consciousness is free from all kinds of thoughts and emotions. Then the decision becomes to choose to continue to listen to our personal story or move further on towards the quiet foundations of our existence.
As you begin to pause for a moment to reflect you begin to ask deeper questions. Questions like, “What about this… bothers me, fulfils me, makes me happy, makes me sad, etc?” You get the picture. Then sit to listen for the answer. These questions and other reflections uplift your soul toward a more meaningful existence. This is a great experience that anyone can undergo because enlightenment of the soul is the gateway to awakening.
The third level is the conscious recognition of our divinity. It is our recognition and journey back to unite with the very source where humans came from. In this stage, our ego dissolves. Our thoughts become one with God. For some, this may feel like your not connected with everything around you anymore. When in reality you are already realizing that you are that everything. It means the spiritual enlightenment is taking its course up to give you the experience where oneness with God is already culminating.
These stages describe what Krishna was trying to have Arjuna understand in the Bhagavad Gita, “it is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.” Our purpose in life is to live our highest intention however imperfect we may feel (ego) it may be.
Stay still and silent, my brother, and the truth shall set you free!