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Enlightenment By Design: Discover The Real You!

Jun 28, 2008
What is enlightenment? How does one design a path by which he or she can achieve enlightenment?

Enlightenment is a vague concept, and that might be part of its power. Debates often rage on the subject when it is actually just a misunderstanding of terminology between the different traditions.

To paint a clear picture of what you are seeking, you have to ask yourself "What is it that I want to be able to do that I can't do right now?" You might also ask "What is the difference between enlightened and non-enlightened?" The answers to these questions will give you the first steps to take on your journey.

Another important understanding to take with you on your path is the nature of perception. The ancient Hindus referred to the world as 'maya', the Sanskrit word for illusion. What we call 'the real world' is a phantasm here to distract people from the true inner journey.

Ultimately we all live inside our own heads (and/or bodies). All our perceptions, thoughts, beliefs, etc. are filtered through our senses. In this case, our senses include the five classic senses (feeling, tasting, smelling, hearing, seeing), as well as internal images and internal sounds (the thinking mind). Once we start to make assumptions and beliefs about the world, they tend to affect (distort) all of our senses. Once we are 'certain' about something, once we 'truly believe', our perception of any future information that we receive will be filtered through that belief. Beliefs are self-confirming! The more we believe something, the more the world around us appears to confirm that belief for us.

An example of this comes in relationships. If we get the notion that our significant other is cheating, then everything they do seems to make it more certain that they are cheating. When they go to the gym or to spend some time with their friends, even if it's their usual routine, we suddenly assume that they must be going to see their other lover. When we speak to them, they seem suspicious. In actuality, they are likely just carrying out their day-to-day routine, and they might be acting 'odd' because we are looking at them in such an accusing manner. For us, however, all of this only confirms the 'fact' that they are cheating.

How do we 'undo' the driven nature of our perceptions? We have to turn our perceptions back on themselves. We have to bring our sensory experience into sharp focus during meditation, and then begin to bring that heightened focus into our day-to-day life. Direct you mindful meditation to a single sense 'channel' (feeling, seeing, hearing, etc.), and just accept whatever arises. If any judgments or assumptions come to mind, acknowledge them, and let them go.

The second method to alleviate this momentum of belief is to fully accept the possibility that 'I don't know'. This doesn't mean you can't learn. It is important to develop working theories. Just keep in your mind that there is always a better theory, a deeper understanding, and many entirely different methods of viewing the same occurrence.

When you can deeply accept that all you can 'know' is the sensory data that exists within your own nervous system, and begin to pay closer attention to it, you are well on your way to designing your own path to enlightenment!
About the Author
Benjamin Langley has been studying and training in meditation, yoga, and other sciences of the mind for over 10 years. He regularly writes and shares powerful insights on his own blog. Come take a look: http://peacefulprosperity.com/blog
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