If you listen to monks, scholars and philosophers taking about enlightenment, you’ll hear a huge range of opinions.
Some folks say enlightenment isn’t real. Or maybe it’s a theoretically reachable state, but no human has managed that.
Or maybe Buddha is the only one to achieve it.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have more generous definitions.
Things like we’re all already enlightened, except we’ve forgotten some of our true nature.
Or that everyone achieves enlightenment at the moment right before or after death.
These aren’t disagreements in the weeds, quibbling over details. These are drastically different interpretations.
It reminds me a little of hypnosis, how the arguments range from “nothing is hypnosis!” to “everything is hypnosis!”
Until you settle on an interpretation, these terms – hypnosis and enlightenment – can mean anything, so they mean nothing.
But let’s take a common, middle-of-the-road take on enlightenment:
Enlightenment is a state of mental purity. You’ve exorcised your demons, integrated your shadow and transcended your baser instincts. You can access parts of your awareness few folks can, letting you do anything from consciously slow your heartbeat, to stay completely still and focused for days on end.
Plus, there’s something ineffable about it. Someone can achieve all that and still be a bad person. With enlightenment comes a sort of wisdom and altruism you can’t fake.
This is some hardcore monk stuff.
I’m a long way off that.
A long, long way.
But I know the general path to reaching it:
Meditate a lot. Confront, defeat and accept every dark thing residing in every corner of your mind. Listen to your mentor, because it’s so easy to go astray on this path. There’s a fine line between integrating your shadow and succumbing to it.
Lots of folks meditate a lot.
Every day, even.
Are they becoming enlightened?
Well, some surely are… but no, not all of them.
The obvious metaphor is to think of enlightenment as like light, and I’m not one to pass up an easy answer.
Imagine a dark street – so dark you can’t see any of it. At one end is a streetlight, brightly illuminating a small patch of ground, dimly highlighting a few of the surrounding bits.
The light is the conscious part of your mind.
The shadow, your unconscious.
Enlightenment is when you can see the entire street.
At the risk of stretching the metaphor, that means venturing into the darkness to fix the other streetlights, one by one.
Meditation can do this… or it can protect your light, making it a little brighter.
And hypnosis is the same. It can do all sort of great things with the streetlight. It can make it brighter, change its colour, aim it at a different part of the ground…
None of which banishes much of the darkness.
Or you can use it to venture into the shadow – into your unconscious.
The advantage of hypnosis for this is your mentor is right there, guiding you. If they are skilled in the art of hypnosis and experienced in dealing with shadows, they’ll keep you on the right path.
Enlightenment isn’t right for everyone – I’m not even sure it’s right for me – but it’s a worthy thing to pursue. Every corner of your mind you illuminate makes you richer, stronger and freer.
You can start with something real simple here:
The Neural Reset.
For 95% of you, it’ll open up new parts of your mind in an easy, relaxed way.
For the other 5%?
You’ll know exactly how valuable it is to you, once you read the description: