Spiritual Enlightement - Is it a Myth or Real?

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Spiritual Enlightement - Is it a Myth or Real?

Postby borris83 » Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:53 pm


I wrote this post recently in my blog... Just reposting it here:


What the hell is this spiritual enlightenment or spiritual awakening? Can you come up with one definition that everyone in the world will agree with? Many words have been associated with it: Moksha, Mukthi, Brahmajnana, Atmajnana, Nirvana, Bodhi, Kensho, Satori, Samadhi, Kevali, Kaivalya, Salvation, union with God etc. Many of them have different definitions, paths (practices) and theories.

But, one thing this enlightenment implies is that it is the purpose of the human life…For example, Indian tradition lists four main pursuits of life; virtue (dharma), wealth (artha), pleasure (kama) and enlightenment (moksha)… Modern psychology has another word for whatever the human life is progressing towards; it is called self-actualization, which is similar to the concept of enlightenment in many ways.

When I went through a spiritual transformation myself, I found that whatever that happened to me agrees with one aspect which is almost present in all these traditions. It is the liberation from the identification with your self-concept. It literally destroyed the psychological boundaries between me and the world. It resulted in a drastic reduction of self-referential thought and emotional reactivity and made me peaceful forever. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing I can do to add more to who I am…. It is, with no doubt, a complete irreversible transformation which left me complete and fulfilled in the present moment. I had blissful epiphanies for a couple of months when I was going through this transformation. I felt like I was out of a prison. After that, I didn’t think about enlightenment for at least three years.. The life went on like a comfortable and joyful train journey.

But there are other concepts which are associated with enlightenment and mentioned by many of the enlightenment gurus we have seen so far…
Here is a list of some of those concepts:

1.Being enlightened is like being in ecstatic bliss 24/7.
2.Once you are enlightened, you will remember your past lives.
3.You radiate some kind of energy which can be felt by people near you.
4.You can recognize another enlightened person by sight.
5.You don’t have any cravings or ego anymore… You are just pure consciousness with no thoughts, no cravings, and no ego!
6.If you want to die, you can do it by your own will and by causing no pain or damage to the body.
7.You can see auras of other people.

Nothing like that ever happened to me after the transformation and it has been three years now. But some people used to say that I was the happiest person in the world. I had a smile in my face whenever I met any of my friends and I looked happy and full of energy all the time. But I did face challenges and even went through some suffering time to time. They were not at all felt personal and left no trace in my psyche but they did give me a hard time.

Another thing that is noteworthy is that I felt like I was born again. This is consistent with the concept of ‘dvija’ in Indian tradition. In a couple of months after transformation, I was left with no motivation. I felt like there is nothing more to do with this life. So, I had to create a motivation that would give me a direction for life. For the time being, I decided to perform as well as I can at work.

But I noticed that when it came to social behaviour, I made no attempt to impress others, influence the behaviour of others or even gossip with others, which affected a few things in my life. I was running a family. So, it was very important for my dependants that I influence other people to get things to happen the way I wanted them to happen. For example, I needed to get promoted soon so that I could take care of my family in a better way. Because of these demands, certain things began to change. I had to consciously create a subtle ego and personality. I also had to choose a mission for my life, (not a goal that I want to reach but a direction I want to go towards) which will keep me motivated to do things in life. These changes happened very gradually and soon I realized that I had been relearning certain things in life as a total new born. My brain was creating fresh associations with each stimuli and experience. I started to get classically conditioned all over again. But all of this happened very consciously and I could see those changes for what they were. I also noticed that my genetic factors were intact and they still influenced the way I thought and behaved.

Around May 2016, I bought a book called ‘Psychology’ 5th edition written by Robert A. Baron and Girishwar Mishra. Learning psychology changed a lot of things. It was very interesting to learn about why people behaved the way they did and it offered a lot of new insights to my own transformation. (I was also using cannabis everyday during this time). At the same time, I also suffered from Insomnia because I always felt energetic and I could never get myself to sleep so easily. Sleep deprivation, vigorous study of psychology and hard work at office caused me to be active all the time. My highest record was set when I was awake continuously for 45 hours with maximum activity.

I started seeing many connections in totally disconnected happenings of my life in the past .Things were happening so fast that I was not able to keep myself balanced. It was like riding in a roller coaster most of the time. Every bit of my body and mind was throbbing with energy. The valence of my emotions kept changing every hour. It would be miserable for an hour; then I would feel peaceful as if nothing had happened, for the next hour.

I started behaving like a lunatic and things got worse. Soon I left my job and went to my parent’s home. The roller coaster continued and I was admitted in a psychiatric hospital for 10 days. The doctor prescribed haloperidol and chlorpromazine. (They are usually prescribed for schizophrenia. But I know the symptoms and I was not schizophrenic. ) The doctors didn’t even bother to talk to me or counsel me. And, there was a serious side effect with these tablets; they cause Akathesia, the worst disorder one could ever get. If you have akathesia you cannot sit still or stand in one place for more than 3-4 minutes. You will always have an urge to keep moving your body. I suffered from akathesia for more than a month. It was cured by taking trihexphenydil and clonazepam (The doctors were not helpful. I had to search in Wikipedia to find out which antipsychotic drugs were causing the problem and just skip them).

These symptoms that I underwent is actually known as spiritual crisis which was listed first in DSM-IV ( Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). They are supposed to be diagnosed and treated differently. But usually, a lot of psychiatrists who are not aware of this treat these symptoms as indications of a regular mental disorder.

Now, I feel like I have become a grown up boy in this new second birth. (I am talking about ‘dvija’; not about a previous incarnation). I have a better clarity of what exactly happened in me in the last three years. U.G Krishnamurti went through a similar transformation in his life and he used to call it a ‘calamity’. Also, he has said in his interviews that he had to learn certain things from scratch as well. I haven’t read his books much, but the word ‘calamity’ actually suits what I went through.

After I was cured from Akathesia, I settled down in my new job and everything became fine. Life is beautiful now. As far as my subjective well-being is concerned, there is no way it can be any better than this. I am not seeking anything anymore (as I already feel complete and liberated) but I am still interested in this concept of enlightenment and find out the neural correlates of it in the brain. I cannot do this alone. But my mission is to contribute towards a scientific research on human transformation. I spend my time reading psychology journals, science papers and articles, writing blog posts, reading about the awakening experiences of others etc.

My life is now full of awe and curiosity, and this awakening seems to be deepening; I see no limits for the depth. Whether this is enlightenment or not doesn’t matter to me. If someone says that this is enlightenment, I would probably say ‘oh, I see’… If they say I still have to work towards another shift called ‘enlightenment’, I wouldn’t bother about it. Because, anything beyond this will be an unnecessary luxury.

Even though I personally don’t have to worry about it, I still have to study about enlightenment and compare my experience with other authentic awakened people so that I can contribute something to the scientific research. I began to search in forums and Quora for personal testimonies of awakening. I found out that most of the testimonies are similar to my own awakening and it is very common as well. I also found that there is no scientific evidence for paranormal powers in spite of thousands and thousands of studies conducted on alleged psychics so far. A guy called James Randi even challenged people that he would offer millions of dollars to any person who proves he has such powers. Many people volunteered but nothing was proved.

I am not saying that nothing paranormal exists; I am just saying that I don’t know.. There is no evidence, I have no first hand experience and I don’t believe in ‘believing’ anymore!

At the same time, there are always cult movements showing up which cause a lot of controversies. Some of them do offer useful guidance towards self-realization, but they are often mixed with the authority’s own opinions. In some cases, there have been even abusive behavior towards the followers. If a public science of spiritual awakening is created and a way to recognize awakened people with brain imaging technology has been established, then all these problems will be solved.

At this point, all I can say based on my own experience is that freedom from self-concept does exist and it does liberate you and make you peaceful and free human being. Most of the people call this enlightenment. But a few people claim the ever-bliss, paranormal spiritual awakening as enlightenment. Whether such a thing exists or not, I don’t know yet.

As a young scientist, I want to take this very carefully and step by step. Even If I don’t manage to get the public attention in my lifetime, my findings and theories will remain in my blog forever, so that people can read it even after I am gone.

Also posted in my blog: https://nellaishanmugam.wordpress.com/2 ... h-or-real/
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Re: Spiritual Enlightement - Is it a Myth or Real?

Postby dijmart » Sat Jun 03, 2017 2:24 am

My answers are in bold-


But there are other concepts which are associated with enlightenment and mentioned by many of the enlightenment gurus we have seen so far…
Here is a list of some of those concepts:

1.Being enlightened is like being in ecstatic bliss 24/7.

No

2.Once you are enlightened, you will remember your past lives.

No

3.You radiate some kind of energy which can be felt by people near you.

No

4.You can recognize another enlightened person by sight.

No

5.You don’t have any cravings or ego anymore… You are just pure consciousness with no thoughts, no cravings, and no ego!

No

6.If you want to die, you can do it by your own will and by causing no pain or damage to the body.

No

7.You can see auras of other people.

No

------------

That's my take on it!
Take what you like and leave the rest.
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Re: Spiritual Enlightement - Is it a Myth or Real?

Postby dijmart » Sat Jun 03, 2017 2:42 am

Hi Borris,

Pretty ballsy to post what you did. If you're peaceful, that's all that matters. True enlightement is the realization that "you are already THAT" which youve been seeking and since that IS you already, there is no one to be enlightened. It becomes a moot point... the cosmic joke!
Take what you like and leave the rest.
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Re: Spiritual Enlightement - Is it a Myth or Real?

Postby DavidB » Sat Jun 03, 2017 3:04 am

I agree with dijmart, being at peace is all that really matters. True enlightenment is the realization that there is no enlightenment. You are already what you seek, and therefore no transformation is required. You cannot become what you already are.

The only type of transformation we might achieve, is the the undoing of all of our collected human dysfunction. This type of transformation is life long and comes about through realization and maturity. But none of this adds to the fact that we are already completely who we are already. All this transformation does is help to clarify our human perceptions, which ultimately makes being human a whole lot more easy and enjoyable.
“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, Love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.” ― Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
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Re: Spiritual Enlightement - Is it a Myth or Real?

Postby Webwanderer » Sat Jun 03, 2017 3:39 pm

borris83 wrote:all I can say based on my own experience is that freedom from self-concept does exist

For someone who claims to have no self-concept you make abundant use of the pronoun "I". 'I' is a clear statement of self 'I'dentification. 'I' will agree that identification based on thought constructs is a misperception of the true nature of self and being, but that does not mean 'self' does not exist. It's simply not just a thought structure.

You, like everyone else lives through a belief system of their own making. Knowing that brings the freedom and power to make adjustments to our perspectives based on honest exploration into our true nature. That is if we bother to seek the clarity needed to gain a greater perspective.

I would suggest that the no-self idea is just another belief structure based primarily on intellectual pursuits and not so much on personal experience.

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Re: Spiritual Enlightement - Is it a Myth or Real?

Postby borris83 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 8:19 pm

Webwanderer,

Reason why you disagree is only because of how we define certain words....

Why do you think buddhists and vedantis disagreed with each other? It is just a verbal dispute... The argument is just about the definition of words... What Ramana Maharishi called 'Self' and what Buddhists called as No-self- are exactly the same... If there is an argument between a Ramana's devotee and a Buddhist meditator on whether self exists or not, it is most likely because of how they define 'self'.

When I say that self is an illusion, I am talking about the egoic self...If you choose to use the word 'self' for the absolute reality, thats fine... If that is what you call as 'self', then it certainly exists.. It is all that exists...

self-concept is a psychological term. It is just whatever we believe ourselves to be.. I chose to use the word 'self-concept' instead of 'ego' or the Sanskrit word 'ahankar' . What I am trying to do these days is to replace the words in various spiritual traditions with words which are used to psychology. Because those words are universal in the field of psychology.

For someone who claims to have no self-concept you make abundant use of the pronoun "I". 'I' is a clear statement of self 'I'dentification. 'I' will agree that identification based on thought constructs is a misperception of the true nature of self and being, but that does not mean 'self' does not exist. It's simply not just a thought structure.


The whole post is about what happened to me in a three years period and my opinions... So, I have to use the word 'I'..
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Re: Spiritual Enlightement - Is it a Myth or Real?

Postby Webwanderer » Sat Jun 03, 2017 8:34 pm

borris83 wrote:When I say that self is an illusion, I am talking about the egoic self...

You may want to make that more clear in your posts. There are those new to consciousness exploration who find such 'authoritative' statements quite troubling. There are many who believe that they cease to exist when they die. Others are looking for answers to the age old question of what happens when we die. The choices they make based on information they genuinely seek matters in their experience.

It's quite different to understand that what we are as a conscious being not only survives but is eternal, and to be faced with complete annihilation because there is no self to survive. Please have some compassion for those who are as yet unclear.

WW
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Re: Spiritual Enlightement - Is it a Myth or Real?

Postby borris83 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 8:51 pm

Webwanderer wrote:
borris83 wrote:When I say that self is an illusion, I am talking about the egoic self...

You may want to make that more clear in your posts. There are those new to consciousness exploration who find such 'authoritative' statements quite troubling. There are many who believe that they cease to exist when they die. Others are looking for answers to the age old question of what happens when we die. The choices they make based on information they genuinely seek matters in their experience.

It's quite different to understand that what we are as a conscious being not only survives but is eternal, and to be faced with complete annihilation because there is no self to survive. Please have some compassion for those who are as yet unclear.

WW


That is a good point.. I am still experimenting with the terminology. I never thought about the fact that people will feel the idea of no-self quite troubling... But I thought about the fact that using the word 'self' for that which is eternal can be a trap for some people which will stop them from progressing. (because 'self' is always understood as egoic self for many people)..
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Re: Spiritual Enlightement - Is it a Myth or Real?

Postby Enlightened2B » Sat Jun 03, 2017 9:22 pm

DavidB wrote:I agree with dijmart, being at peace is all that really matters. True enlightenment is the realization that there is no enlightenment. You are already what you seek, and therefore no transformation is required. You cannot become what you already are.

The only type of transformation we might achieve, is the the undoing of all of our collected human dysfunction. This type of transformation is life long and comes about through realization and maturity. But none of this adds to the fact that we are already completely who we are already. All this transformation does is help to clarify our human perceptions, which ultimately makes being human a whole lot more easy and enjoyable.


I tend to agree with this as well. Much of what I see with spiritual practice, is people trying to 'get somewhere', largely though, because they don't believe they are already good enough as that belief has been so re-enforced on us, even in many spiritual teachings. Let's face it, the core belief of unworthiness is one of the most prominent beliefs in our human culture (I would also argue that it is an intended belief in childhood for the contrast that it offers later in life, but for another discussion). Yet, because this core belief in unworthiness, we lose trust in ourselves and the Universe and as a result, we believe we are separate and have to compete for love. It's the disconnection home that we all so desperately long for. And I take it that the human journey is one of finding our way home, but not as an end point where some non-existent enlightenment experience would be the hero's welcoming home (that would instead be the death experience for every one of us, where we will wake up regardless to our infinite perfection), but instead, of the journey of experience itself that it offers for us to actually experience and BELIEVE we could ever have possibly been separate, insecure, unworthy people, and what that causes us to 'become' in the sense of how it offers us a perspective and an opportunity that 'There IS another choice' other than that old survival story playing over and over and over and over as our mind....which leads us to then realize our immense majesty and power in who we really are and life becomes a game of choosing who we want to be going forward. The outside will only reflect the inside.
Last edited by Enlightened2B on Sat Jun 03, 2017 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Spiritual Enlightement - Is it a Myth or Real?

Postby Webwanderer » Sat Jun 03, 2017 9:23 pm

Borris, consider then the terminology that I use. "We are not what we think we are". Leave the assertion of 'there is no self' out of it. It's misleading.

Thought identities are the mental constructs that we believe to be true about who/what we are and are mostly related to the conditioning and entrainment we identified with as we grew up. Self is a reference to consciousness and being we can actually feel that transcends thoughts and beliefs. One is an ideology and belief system, the other is a felt reality.

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Re: Spiritual Enlightement - Is it a Myth or Real?

Postby sardinelover » Sun Jun 04, 2017 5:49 am

Enlightenment = no more suffering.
Relax your face
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Re: Spiritual Enlightement - Is it a Myth or Real?

Postby Onceler » Sun Jun 04, 2017 12:24 pm

sardinelover wrote:Enlightenment = no more suffering.


Amen
Be present, be pleasant.
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Re: Spiritual Enlightement - Is it a Myth or Real?

Postby Mystic » Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:19 pm

Experiences and myths are written down through linguistic articulations which cannot completely communicate the experience of "what it is like" to be in the state of consciousness the story teller is trying to impart. Stories are metaphors that help to augment learned experience(wisdom). Mindfulness is a moment-to-moment awareness of one's experience without judgment. It is a practical method of mind training. In that respect, all things are lessons or opportunities for awakenings.
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