In our current age there is an explosion of 'awakenings' from all over our stunning, but strict, Mother Earth. An increased awareness is occurring in regards to personal health and well-being, the dysfunctional state of the world and our entanglement with reality. Encouragingly, more and more people are working out how to actually find peace in this complex and challenging world.
Enlightenment is an ambiguous term that is sometimes misrepresented as the transcendence of our humanity. However, I've met some 'enlightened' people in my time, but they still seemed pretty human to me.
In this article I will simply define enlightenment as a personal journey through the awakening of our consciousness. That’s right: enlightenment is an ongoing path of growth – reaching from our very core right to the paradoxical edge of infinity.
Even though the enlightenment process is as diverse as the people undertaking it, there are still some universal spotlights which shine on us all. What follows therefore is a genuine but cheeky discussion of 10 normal practices on the journey of enlightenment.
And while we’re having a crack at it, let’s enjoy it shall we...
Yep, let’s start with this category just to capture our attention.
Exploring sex is essential to understanding and embracing our human nature, but beware, this is an addictive practice that negatively impacts a huge amount of people. Nevertheless, fortunately for us mere immortals, it can be both pleasurable and enlightening at the same time.
Lovemaking — We make love with our partners and if done in the right way, it can connect two people physically and mentally, but also invoke tantric experiences. However, sometimes lovemaking can become monotonous and end up as a relationship chore; if so, we may have to perform the subcategories described below. Trust me, it’ll be enlightening and fun.
Lust-making — This is just as an important aspect of sex as lovemaking is. Lust-making is a release of our animalistic hard-wired instincts. It’s naughty. It’s dirty. It can also be combined with lovemaking so that both our emotional and instinctual energies are together, met in satisfaction.
Exploration — Mix it up! There’s much sexual adventure to be had, so let’s change our method and environment constantly to ensure that we’re keeping ourselves and our partner engaged, surprised and enlightened. Add massage too – with a happy ending, of course.
Masturbation — The adage “learn to love ourselves before we love others” certainly is relevant here. How can we possibly satisfy another if we can’t even satisfy ourselves? We can’t. So let’s relax and find our comfort zone… then blow ourselves right out of it. Who knows, we might even find that we’re one of our best lays.
We have arrived at the most fundamental virtue of life; love. It facilitates growth and encourages the expression of all other virtues, which is a necessity on our journey of enlightenment.
Give love – it’s free to give. Give it to ourselves first and foremost, and then we’ll be in a position to share it with the rest of reality. We’ll all feel great – it’s a win/win.
Partner — Loving our partner deeply helps them flourish, but also ourselves. Our ‘other halves’ are profound reflections of us, so if they’re a pain in the ass, then so are we. They are the first people to be exposed to who we really are, so listen to what they say. They should too, for that matter.
Family — There are many people in our family who we love deeply and others that we probably wouldn't choose as a relation if we had the option. But let’s love them anyway; compassionately and non-judgmentally. Be the change we want to see in our family. Then just kick back and be entertained.
Friends — What’s wrong with giving your best mate a hug? Nothing. Let’s get over all the school yard crap and start really connecting with our friends. If we can’t, they’re probably just mates who we have a good time with. If we can’t even do that, they’re probably just associates. Either way, have love for them all.
Reality — The same goes for the universe or reality itself. Love life. Love that we've been given this miraculous experience.
3. Information Filtration
Expanding our minds and hearts is integral to the awakening of our consciousness. Research all types of information, including areas that we may have discounted in the past. Focus on categories that really resonate with us, as well as ones that challenge us. Invigorate both our left and right brain hemispheres (i.e. our reasoning and intuitive capacities). Explore as many scientific and esoteric disciplines as we can.
Writings — Old school paper books still work really well for many people, but if it’s going to be more convenient or cost efficient, try the e-book versions. Then of course, there are plenty of other platforms, such as magazines. Some newspapers are still worthy of reading too. Some, I said.
Documentaries — Online, TV, video stores; whatever the medium, there is a documentary to suit our interests.
Music — Emotional lyrics, philosophical lyrics, teen pop lyrics, no lyrics: whatever our flavor, let’s get amongst it. Make sure we remember to bust out on the dance floor too.
Independent News — Do we continue to watch the mainstream media for our current global affairs? Of course we don’t! We now source most of our information from independent news sites because we don’t like illusory realities forced upon us. Unless we like BDSM of course.
Conversations — Shut up and listen! We get sick of the sound of our voices sometimes, so maybe we should just take a back-seat more and listen to what people have to say. Try out different conversations with new people; we might actually learn something. Then when it’s our moment to talk, we’ll know.
Internet — Same websites over and over? It’s a pretty damn big inter-web.
If we've got the capacity, we have the responsibility to give back. Give to our community, family, friends and fellow man. Make it our job, whether we’re paid for it or not. The journey of enlightenment expects it.
Just imagine a tribal mentality in a modern day society — a place where everyone actually cares for one another and we treated everyone as fundamentally equal and as part of our family. I’m not saying we should all hold hands and dance around in a circle singing love songs, but servicing others is literally servicing ourselves. Anybody who knows anything knows that.
Career — What do we do for a crust? Does it facilitate our enlightenment as well as that of our society? Or, is counter-productive? Hmm, is it time for a career change?
The Street — We've all helped a mother carry her pram up the stairs or given our seat to the elderly on the bus. But what about picking up the trash that we were disappointed someone littered? Or how about the empathy we could have shared with that person in angry tears?
Our thoughts — Are we judging society because they’re not developed enough? What energy are we rippling out as we walk our path? Being loving, compassionate and understanding is a service to society, whether we just think it or actually express it.
Family and Friends — Be one of the enlightenment forces within our own tribe.
5. Altered Bodies
We know we alter our minds all the time, which can have many benefits. But what about our bodies? How often do we consciously activate our hormone production?
We know that when our bodies are tested to their limits the chemicals released can be good for our overall health. Therefore, we should explore different activities that will release adrenaline and other beneficial hormones into our system. Exercise is usually the main method for producing short-term healthy stress effects, but so can action sports and other hobbies, which are generally kept for die-hard adrenaline junkies. They’re actually mild forms of meditation.
So, why not have some fun and face our fears whilst enlightening our bodies? We’re not scared to meditate in action are we?
Exercise — Yep, I better include exercise. Choose your flavor, and then mix it up. Try the gym, running, high intensity training, indoor and outdoor competitions. Blah blah blah. Now see below.
Surfing/Snowboarding — Tick and tick! Have you ever surfed in a re-birthing salt water bath? How about dominated gravity on a pulsating mountain? Well, why not?
Yoga/Pilates — Fitness, flexibility, strength. And yoga was originally designed as an enlightenment tool, after all.
Skydiving/Hand-Gliding — Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Or, is it just us having a crack at life?
Martial Arts/Boxing — These sports require mental and physical discipline and test our limits to the edge. They enhance our confidence and strength too. It grounds us. Do it.
Four-Wheel-Driving — Camp, explore, go where no man has gone before (except maybe a few, but you get my drift). It’s also a unique way to broaden our experience of nature.
Kite-Surfing/Scuba-Diving — I’m yet to do the former, but it’s on my list (it’s on this list to motivate me). Please be assured, that I’ve found Nemo plenty of times. And treasure.
Rock-Climbing/Bushwalking — We own a mountain when we snowboarded down it, so now it’s time to own it by going up it. Disclaimer: no mountain can ever be truly owned.
This should be obvious… Look after ourselves! The journey of Enlightenment will uncover many ways in which we need to take better care. Yes it’s okay to mess ourselves up every now and again too; sometimes a journey of self-care is temporarily unhealthy and/or dysfunctional because we need experience to learn and grow. For example, it might be an over-indulgence in exercise, work, substances, sex, emotions, food etc. But when this happens, just bring the balance back because that is the whole goal of self-care: balancing ourselves and reinforcing our contentment.
Work/life Balance — Unless we’ve got an awesome job that consists of us having fun all of the time, we need to balance out our work and play. Take the time we need for ourselves, no matter what.
Health — There are many layers of our health, such as the functionality of our physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, philosophical, sexual, behavioral, creative and social vitalities. We don’t have to be star athletes, but we should still be able to compete. Playing is always more fun than watching.
Nutrition — We are what we eat! If we want to eat meat, then don’t eat the meat that is riddled with capitalistic stress. Buy local ingredients or catch and ritualize it ourselves. Eat fresh, additive-free produce. And stop over-eating; besides emotion and sex, unhealthy eating is society’s biggest dysfunction. Seriously, there are heaps better habits.
Exercise — As discussed above. You don’t have to be super fit or super slim. Research clearly shows that any exercise is good for us and will prolong our life expectancy. So let’s get off our ass and tear up the grass!
Reverence/Contentment/Gratitude — Ahhh, a state of bliss. We can’t buy it, we are it. Potentially.
Attitude — Everyone wants to be happy, right? Well, with that attitude, we will be.
Altered Minds — We all love to loosen our conditioning and expand our consciousness. Although drinking alcohol, smoking weed and undertaking psychedelic voyages are common choices, to achieve this, we can simply meditate.
Meditation — Are we on a journey of enlightenment? Well, of course, we meditate then don’t we? Well, not always, sometimes consistently and sometimes off and on. Or do we always meditate? Check out 'Daily Activities which Naturally Induce Meditative States'.
Humor — Make sure our day consists of plenty of laughter. Humor is a remedy and laughter is the best medicine. Do you know why? Not only does it make us feel good, but it's also shown to be a form of meditation. And smile too, manners cost us nothing!
Adventure — Oh yeah, let’s go! Where to? Not important; it’s how we get there which is the self-medicating part. Just like enlightenment, an adventure is a journey, so enjoy the process. Yes, even whilst in transit, so be creative!
Have you ever had the travel bug? So, why do we say “change is as good as a holiday”? Because on holiday everything changes — the scenery, elemental composition, people, conversations, food, activities, feelings, everything. It doesn't matter where we go – just go – because it’ll force us to change, and change is integral to the journey of enlightenment.
Local — Traveling to the unexplored museum or to the beach we don’t usually frequent will produce a subtle change in us. We don’t know our home towns that well, right?
Domestic — In Australia we’ve got an array of climates and environments to explore, and I’m sure where you live it does too. Why not just buy a cheap air ticket to a place we’ve never been and then wing it from there? (Pun not intended, but I’ll allow it).
International — Don’t have enough cash to travel internationally? That’s not cool; however, with the right focus we can save up and achieve that goal. It’s worth it.
Internal — Uh oh, did I just mention out-of-body experiences? Remember to acknowledge our dreams too.
8. Facing Ourselves
Surely we know what our current status is, right? We know what we should face? What are our strengths and weaknesses? What are we striving for? What is our next stage of growth? Are we actually content?
Releasing ourselves from the suffering of the past and the expectations of the future will ensure that we truly face ourselves and purely live in the present moment. Detach our worth from our ego. This is inherent for truly dancing on the dance floor of enlightenment.
Philosophies — Do all of our philosophies align? Do we even know what our philosophies are? Do they translate into practice? Can we even know the answers? Who are we again?
Hypocrisies — This old chestnut. Yeah, we’re all hypocrites to some degree; otherwise we’d have no need to evolve ourselves virtuously. Right now we think we get it, but that’ll change to some degree or another. We all make mistakes too. The journey of enlightenment is lifelong, so better to embrace and face our hypocrisies instead of suppressing them. Request our own status update and then post it on our internal wall.
Fears — We’re still scared of stuff? Really? Why? Will it kill us? Or will we kill ourselves through the negative stress that fear and hate generates? Time to face those fears. Or suffer.
Dysfunction — We assume we have some level of dysfunction, right? Or are we all perfect? Let’s repeat the health vitalities described above: physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, philosophical, sexual, creative, behavioral and social. Surely we have some dysfunction somewhere to balance out right? Of course we do, we shouldn’t be so naive. Don’t worry, we’re still imperfectly perfect.
What are our passions? The energies that invoke our creative spirit? It’s definitely not watching TV, although damn there’s some bloody good TV shows these days. They kick ass over movies now. There are some new sho.. wait, sorry, I got side-tracked. And that’s what TV does. Let’s get back to the creative activities which manifest our innate potential and actually make us feel like we've achieved something!
Art — We can draw, write, paint, sculpt, build, plant, mold or do an array of other activities which create something material. Cooking is also artistic — men take note.
Act — Singing, dancing, playing sports or undertaking the adrenalin-inducing-tricks described above definitely have a creative element to them. The creation may just be the growth we achieve simply by participating in these activities.
Sex — Yes, it can be creative, although I just mentioned it again to keep you interested. So predictable, you lot.
Anything — We can be creative in everything we think, feel and do.
Make it a rule – operate literally and laterally. Let’s start with what we talk about within our tribe.
What does it mean to align ourselves? If we’re on the journey of enlightenment, we already understand that everything is fundamentally interconnected, don’t we? Yes, that’s right; everything at the very core of reality is the one and same thing. Essentially, we can choose to align our ego to the interconnected reality or not. Yep, we have the power, it’s on us. Own it.
Interpretation — If everything is fundamentally interconnected – whether you call it consciousness, god, quantum field of possibilities etc. – it means that the inside and outside are the same thing. Yet, we have free will right? Of course, we bloody do! Don’t succumb to the brainwashing of the materialist quacks! We can choose to understand and create how we align with the objective world. Interpretation is the master key.
Needs vs. Wants — Another way to describe this synchronization is that we can fulfil our egos’ desires and do what we want, yet if it isn’t exactly what we need, then it is counter-productive to our innate destiny of growth. There’s less of a role for ego here in enlightenment. Our ego will hate that its illusory separation isn’t defended or glorified, although it can be trained to accept and embrace its unreal nature. Ultimately our goal should be to align our wants to our genuine needs.
Understanding what our needs are is the tricky part and requires a sustained focus. And, if we’ve already forgotten how much fun we can still have, see previous spotlights 1-9. Attachment to desire only causes suffering anyway.
Symbolism — This is a tool to understand the connection between the inside and outside and then align our choices accordingly. Simply, symbols reflect an array of information in experience which is interconnected with our minds. They manifest in many forms such as words, animals, shapes, colors, sounds and basically anything in the external world which represents a pattern and flow relating to the concepts and themes that we experience in our thoughts.
They usually just signify subtle linkages of information and are obvious due to their impeccable timing, yet with absolute precision symbols consistently manifest in such a profound way that it blows our minds and holistically reinforces whatever we were learning in that moment. It's magic in action.
Virtuous Living — We become conscious of our connection by tapping into the symbolism and flow of our experience. The more we focus on it, the more we rewire our brains and skill ourselves to understand and create the alignment. Through this process we also realize the importance of virtuous thinking, feeling and action — a way of living that I call the V-three.
Okay, that wraps it up. This was originally intended to be a short list so thanks for your patience getting through it. Yes that’s right – patience is virtue, so good on you!
One more thing – it should be reinforced after reading this article that the journey of enlightenment isn't meant to be a strict or unenjoyable process, so seriously… enlighten up!
Featured image: BigThink
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Phillip J. Watt lives on the Mid North Coast of NSW Australia.
He has lived a life of self-determination and built a strong repertoire based in leadership, teamwork and seeking the essential knowledge and skills to holistically support himself, his family and his clientele. His written and film work deals with topics from ideology to society, as well as self-development.
Follow him on Facebook, watch his interviews with an array of inspiring guests at his YouTube Channel or visit his personal development website.
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