I raise this question because it seems evident that the idea of a rift between ‘worldliness’ and the ‘spiritual journey’ is still very much alive. Many people experience the same conflict: the notion it has to be one or the other.
Most people feel so deeply trapped in the worldly cycle that they can’t help but recognise the suffering it causes them. This, of course, generates a very powerful desire to be free of this seemingly interminable cycle, causing them to ‘seek’ a solution – perhaps a spiritual path. Yet once faced with the ‘conditions’ of the spiritual path an even greater fear arises – the fear that spiritual life demands we give up the ‘worldly life’. Of course in this situation it is natural to be afraid. Questions arise: How can I survive without my job, without my success? Will my family and friends understand me, will I be judged and end up isolated, will I lose my grip on reality?
But much of these fears are based in our limited views – many of which are the remnants of indoctrinated ‘spiritual’ practice and religion, such as abstinence, renunciation, isolation, transcendence or ascension. Having been taught that worldliness is ‘the root of all evil’we have overlooked the real thing of value: consciousness. It doesn’t matter if you choose to be worldly or not. What matters is consciousness. The most valuable question is: are you conscious?
However, old stories die hard. We continue to be fed erroneous ideas. Of course, these ideas cause enormous hesitation and resistance towards ‘walking the path’. The idea of enlightenment seems suddenly much less desirable if you think it means you will lose everything in the worldly sense.
Yet if we look deeply into what enlightenment is – or the process of awakening – we may be radically surprised.
Age-old ‘conditions’ and stories around the journey of enlightenment have given it a bad rap. It seems to be viewed as something beyond our human capacity. Maybe we believe it is reserved only for ‘special’ people like Jesus and Buddha. Yet what they both demonstrated was very real potential. They both taught from experience grounded in their own human journey. And they both encouraged us to recognise this very same potential in ourselves and in every other human.
The presence of consciousness in everyone is real. The nature of awareness is the same. The essence of love in all things is reality. Yet we doubt the power of these truths in ourselves. It is just that we have momentarily forgotten these truths, as if we are lost in some deep prolonged amnesia.
And yet life does what it does. As you deepen through love, as you encounter growth and more awareness, your consciousness expands and new realisations emerge. You realise that you have always had an inner calling. There has always been a yearning to know Truth, to feel true freedom, to know pure love and oneness… to really know that life IS more than what we made it out to be.
But we have been taught a very damaging thing: that to step into greater awareness – or the enlightened self – is arrogant (remember, it is reserved only for a very select few). But awareness is neither arrogant nor humble, greater nor lesser. It is real. It is what we are, what we always have been and always will be. Enlightenment is nothing more than our conscious return to this truth. Yet for fear of recrimination, we shrink back from Truth, from our very self, from the greatness of the love we are.
The greatness of awareness, however, contains the courage to step beyond the confines of these old stories. The power of love contains the strength to stand alone, to break free of the mediocre mind and into the wholeness of Self. Arrogance, on the other hand, abandons the Self and abdicates responsibility. Arrogance is us – humans – destroying ourselves, each other and life on this planet for the gratification and glory of the ego. It is the masks we wear, the judgments and opinions we flaunt simply to assert power, create security or find a place of belonging.
We have also been taught that enlightenment is a zoned in or zoned out state where emotions no longer exist. But it is the complete opposite. With enlightened presence we are neither suppressed nor distressed. Our emotions are neither blocked nor agitated. Emotional dysfunction belongs to the mind afraid to fully let go and let in. Emotional dysfunction is the man who is still trapped in the anger of the boy, the little girl who became the shriveled woman afraid to laugh, sing and dance.
Enlightenment is the full presence of our self in each moment. It is the freedom of being and becoming in the perfection of all as it is.
Enlightenment is free of every opinion that holds us in the falsehood of being lesser or greater.
Enlightenment is free of the illusion of separation and the boundaries we constructed out of dualistic delusion.
Enlightenment is free of control and alive with what IS.
Another erroneous idea is that enlightenment belongs to another realm. This causes us to believe that we will disconnect from the real world. On the contrary, enlightenment anchors you even more deeply into life. It brings you fully into your centre, into the ground of being, into the very heart of reality. You become more present, not less. Enlightenment brings us into expanded awareness. And expanded awareness is the very thing that brings us success in every dimension of our life.
Greater awareness reveals our true purpose and value. It opens us to creative intelligence, bringing new solutions and insights. It re-awakens us to the unity of all. It equips us with the power to respond consciously and with love. How could this not lead us to success? How could this do anything but improve our journey in this world?
Enlightenment is not about leaving life behind. It is about fully entering it. Once you are in the river of consciousness you can’t help but engage with even greater vitality: to continue this wonderful human journey with the clarity of awareness and a wide-open heart. This is why it is seen as a gem. It is the greatest treasure we can discover.
Yes. Enlightenment is desirable.