It isn’t about, in any way, becoming extraordinary; if anything it’s just becoming ordinary, it’s becoming who we really really are. – Adyashanti
In this article, I would like to share with you some common myths about enlightened beings. Spiritual enlightenment has been largely mystified and I believe it is important to debunk some of the myths that exist around spiritual enlightenment.
If you are not familiar with spiritual enlightenment, you might want to read my series of articles on spiritual enlightenment and particularly the following article The Biggest Mystery of All Time – Why so Few People Know About Spiritual Enlightenment.
Enlightened beings sit all day doing nothing
You might have the image of the Buddha and imagine enlightened beings spending their day meditating, alone in a temple, a cave, under a tree etc.
It is true that after reaching spiritual enlightenment, as we become egoless, many of the activities we enjoyed doing before might not motivate us anymore. The reason for that is simply because these activities were self-centered. They were an attempt to fulfill our ego in a way or another. Naturally, as our ego disappears, self-centered activities lose their meaning and become irrelevant.
For instance, Sri Mooji was an artist before awakening and spent a lot of time painting. After he woke up, he didn’t feel such a need to paint anymore. Nowadays, he still paints when he feels like it, but it is not anymore to fill a gap within himself or to be praised by other people. He just enjoys it.
As life unfolds, enlightened beings will know naturally what to do. Some will be drawn to teaching while others will have a normal job. In fact, it is very difficult to distinguish an enlightened person from a “normal” person. Especially because enlightened people feel no need to share their “secret” with other people. Only a fake enlightened being would brag about being enlightened.
Enlightenment is for the chosen ones
One of the biggest and most pernicious myths about spiritual enlightenment is that it is only reserved to very special beings like Jesus or Buddha. That is no true! We must get this idea out of our head. Every single human being is a potential candidate to enlightenment for the simple reason that enlightenment is nothing more than the rediscovery of our natural state. It happens when all our social conditioning and false beliefs fall away; then only our true self remains.
One of the greatest spiritual teachers of the 20th century, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, was actually poor and practically illiterate. Sri Mooji wasn’t a great intellectual and seldom read books. People who are too much in their mind might in fact have more difficulties to awaken. Sometimes, “spiritual” people end up building up a spiritual ego and all their spiritual knowledge become an impediment to their awakening. Spiritual enlightenment is not something that is theoretically difficult to grasp and it certainly doesn’t require holding a PhD to understand it.
Enlightenment beings don’t eat meat
As our true nature is love and compassion, I would have expected enlightened beings to be vegetarianism, but surprisingly, that is not the case. They certainly don’t encourage the killing of animals and don’t kill animals themselves, but they do eat meat at least for some of them.
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj admitted to eat a small amount of meat and Sri Mooji explains that it is in his culture to eat meat and that he doesn’t feel the need to become vegetarian.
Enlightened beings are healthier and live longer
Enlightened being are not overly obsessed with their body or their nutrition. Their body is rather secondary, as they know that what they are is beyond both the body and the mind. They don’t seem to live longer than other people. Interestingly, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj was actually selling handmade cigarettes and was quite a heavy smoker! He died from a throat cancer at 84.
Enlightened beings don’t feel emotions as we do
People imagine that when they realize their true self, they will have to give up all the pleasures of the senses like sex or good foods but that is not true. They might lose interest but it will feel natural. Enlightened being are not emotionless. They feel emotions like grief, sadness and even depression. However, emotions cannot stick very long. Indeed, the only reason why our emotions last is because we identify with them. An enlightened being might get suddenly angry and even occasionally yell at someone, but it won’t be personal and the feeling will vanish very soon leaving no trace.
We must also stress the fact that, regardless of their emotions, awakened beings constantly feel peace, joy, love or compassion, which is the natural fragrance of our being.
Enlightened beings have not a “normal” life
Most enlightened beings live a perfectly normal life. They have a family, they have children and they go to work… They might watch TV or play poker. It is not because you wake up that you are suddenly going to leave everything to live in the mountains by yourself. However, it is true that, as I mentioned previously, you might lose interest in some of your hobbies. Some of your relationships might be impacted, but it will happen very naturally. Once you wake up to your true nature, there isn’t any real purpose anymore. Just being yourself is enough! It’s not like you need to prove to people that you are good enough by becoming successful, famous, rich etc. That becomes just irrelevant! What needs to be done will be done spontaneously and effortlessly and it won’t feel like you are doing anything anymore.
The real difference between enlightened beings and us is their degree of freedom. They are unaffected by praises or criticisms, they enjoy people but don’t need them. They worry neither about the past nor about the future, which they see for what they are: pure illusions. They are not afraid of death. Reputation and money mean absolutely nothing to them. They don’t need to control, influence or make any demand to other people. They are complete and don’t need anything at all! In a nutshell, they are living in reality; we don’t. That’s why it is called “awakening”. They woke up while we are still caught in the dream. But for how long?
20 years or more of meditation are needed
Spiritual enlightenment is quite mysterious. For certain people like Eckhart Tolle, the best-selling author of The Power of Now, it just happened in an instant without any practice at all. In fact, Eckhart Tolle didn’t even know what was spiritual enlightenment and only learnt about it after his awakening.
Other people spend years and years of meditation failing to reach that state. However, fortunately, more and more people are awakening and for some it takes only a couple of months. Some even wake up by watching Youtube video of spiritual teachers and practicing on their own. Meditation, as most of us picture it – sitting in the lotus position and not moving – is not necessarily the way to go, and other methods can be more straightforward. For those who are interested in realizing your true nature, in another article, I will share some of the most powerful and straightforward exercises that can be done to find one’s true nature.
Note that, though some people choose to leave everything to find their true self, it is not necessary that you quit your family or your job, or anything else to work on finding your true self.
What about you? Do you feel any motivation inside yourself to find out who you really are? Why or why not? Leave me a comment below 😉
To learn more about spiritual enlightenment
My Youtube playlist on enlightenment (I recommend you to watch them in order)
Mooji TV (Many videos from Sri Mooji)
Books on enlightenment (I recommend you to read them in this order):
- Awareness, Anthony de Mello
- The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle
- A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle
- I Am That, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
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