I thought I knew what enlightenment was.
I thought it was something I could find or achieve… I thought it was about getting rid of my ego and healing my emotional wounds… I thought it was about love, connectedness, easy bliss and expansive serenity… I thought it would be the end of all my suffering… I thought it would fix me and somehow make me ‘better’. I envied all those enlightened Gurus, and I wanted to become like them. I followed their practices, absorbed their wisdom, attended their retreats – in the hope that their enlightened presence would rub off on me… in the hope that they could somehow ‘get me there’.
I spent years trying to ‘become’ enlightened, but somehow I never got there.
Whilst ‘working on myself’, I had many big spiritual openings, amazing blissful highs, and experiences of magical oneness and love. During my most mind-blowing spiritual opening, I finally thought I was enlightened… but then I realised it was just my ego telling me stories – labeling me as ‘the enlightened one’, and seeing others as unenlightened – my ego was simply acting out another sneaky expression of separation and duality. And when that spiritual high inevitably faded, I realized that all experiences eventually come to an end… nothing can be controlled or held onto, and by trying to ‘stay enlightened’ – that was just my ego once again – trying to control and manipulate life, to satisfy its constant feeling of lack, inadequacy and incompleteness.
I tumbled down from my blissful ‘high’ and landed in a state of total soul-crushing exhaustion. I no longer had any strength to seek enlightenment.
So I let it all go.
I let go of my desire to become enlightened… I let go of rejecting my unenlightened ‘self’… I let go of my need to become something other than what I was… I let go of all seeking, all control, all resistance. And I even stopped ‘trying’ to let go, because I was too exhausted to try, and I realised that trying is just another expression of ego.
So, I simply allowed.
And I allowed it all – every messed up and dysfunctional part of me. Every tortured shadow of ego whispering in my mind… every ghostly trauma haunting my wounded soul. I surrendered to all of me – I embraced all of ‘me’ with tender awareness.
And I realised…
Awareness is not something I have.
Awareness is what I am.
Love and acceptance is not something I do.
Love and acceptance is what I am.
Because, awareness is the vast, timeless and unconditional love, which creates, witnesses and accepts all of life, whilst also being expressed as all the forms of life.
Awareness is that which is eternally present, before thought arises… impossible to think with the mind, impossible to describe with words, impossible for the ego to grasp… because awareness exists before thought – before words – before ego.
I am the creator and the awareness of all of life – the space in which everything arises… and yet, I am also all the forms and expressions of life.
So even though I am formless, wordless, nothingness… I am also everything – every form, every word, every thought in existence.
I do not become whole.
I am wholeness itself.
So in the unconditional space that I am, everything that arises has already been accepted to arise – even my ego, my emotional wounds, my seeking… all of it is lovingly accepted, embraced and allowed.
I do not need to ‘get rid’ of my ego and conditioning, heal myself from emotional wounds, try to love myself or try to become enlightened.
Because everything that arises, has already been accepted, because it’s already here – this present moment is already created, perfect and whole. And I am part of this newly created moment – perfect and whole.
And as soon as I embrace it all, realizing that I am both the creator and the created, all those forms suddenly lose their power over ‘me’ – because I know they are not ‘me’, even though, paradoxically, I am everything. So I’m no longer identified with all those racing thoughts… no longer attached to all those reactive emotions.
And that is true freedom.
I do not find freedom.
I am freedom.
Now, in this continuously unfolding present moment… I do not become enlightened.
I am enlightenment itself!