UNDERSTANDING ENLIGHTENMENT: 3 PERSPECTIVES ON HOW TO REACH ENLIGHTENMENT FROM A LICENSED PSYCHOLOGIST (GUIDE)
Natalya Pazdnikova's Perspective on How To Reach Enlightenment
What Is Enlightenment? Understanding How To Reach Enlightenment
There is no one way to look at things; even a simple object such as a wooden cube would be seen differently by everyone depending on their perspective. Please keep this in mind while we answer the question, "What is enlightenment?" Let’s say I look at it from one angle and I see a square, you look at it and see a cube, someone else holds it and says it’s a light cube, another person would add that it’s also hard, someone else will say it’s sharp. Depending on how we experience this cube in the present moment we describe it based on our experience.
Let’s all try to agree and say that this cube is red in color, still, the color-blind person will see it differently. Moreover, all people have a slightly differently visual perception of the color.
➡ I wouldn't relate this phenomena to the “right and left brain dominance” theory, I think it is much more unique to each individual.
Read my Creativity Blog Post, where I touch upon this idea.
Your eyes are just like your finger prints, unique to you only. Just think about how creative nature is and the millions of different colors that are out there. Do you really think that people see colors in the exact same way? Because it doesn’t really make sense by rules of nature.
We are not the only animals on this planet. Let’s think about the turtle, the cat, and the cockroach. They don’t only see colors differently but their whole perception of reality is different. You can only imagine how different animals see reality with the unlimited amount of dimensions we all live in.
A dimension is a frequency. There's no certain number of dimensions, for example, as some religions would suggest. We can say that all animal species live in different dimensions as well as shared dimensions.
We share space and time in this physical dimension when space and time is a dimension on its own. But each of us live in a completely unique and isolated reality, a one-to-one reality with themselves. I like to say it is you and your universe.
Therefore, when we talk about complex concepts like 'what is enlightenment?' - there will be unlimited ways of looking it. Remember there is no single true way to look at things; truth is subjective. Truth is like a totality of perspectives. Truth is not singular; it is all perspectives put together, even those that seem to contradict one another.
I invite you to stay open and hear what I have to say about your question of 'what is enlightenment?' because you may benefit by adding some of my perspectives into your world view. Everything is perspective and everyone has their angle of observing things, concepts and events. Everyone has a right to choose their own truth.
Enlightenment is a big topic. We will look at what enlightenment is through 3 different perspectives which also explain how to reach enlightenment.
1. REACH ENLIGHTENMENT INTELLECTUALLY THROUGH THE PROCESS OF BALANCING DUALITIES.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND ACCEPTANCE.
I received this first definition on how to reach enlightenment through meditation when I was wondering, "what is enlightenment?" I had an epiphany (an aha moment, that was very enlightening) and the answer suddenly came through me. In a moment of epiphany, you usually get some sort of an insight; like a light bulb illuminating a dark room. A moment of Enlightenment.
The next day I went to my hypnotherapy class and the teacher briefly presented his definition of enlightenment, even thought it was not a part of the curriculum. So according to him, what is enlightenment happened to be 100% the same definition as the one I received the day before. Around that time the direction of my journey went from completely logical / analytical psychology to metaphysics and spirituality. It was very fun discovering it all for the first time and having my first psychic experiences.
That being said, the first way of looking at the concept of how to reach enlightenment is intellectually; having to do with our cognitive abilities. We live in a world of dualities. We can find an opposite for any subject. For example, cold - hot and everything in between, peace - anxiety and all the states of mind in between, openness - closeness, black - white, focused - scattered. For every subject there is an opposite to it and everything in between. Every stick has two ends.
So what is enlightenment? How I see enlightenment within this dualistic view is - ACKNOWLEDGING and ACCEPTING the DUALITIES.
Being aware of both ends and ACKNOWLEDGING both ends. What I mean is coming out from the state of ignorance - not wanting to see or acknowledge your own or someone else's truth.
ACCEPTING - not rejecting and coming to peace with your own or someone else's truth. Not fighting it, and not trying to change someone or convince them to accept your truth. Acceptance doesn’t mean passiveness either, nor does acceptance mean settling for less.
We don’t try to change others, rather we focus on ourselves and set an example. We don’t fight injustice in the world, we rather start with ourselves and every area of our lives. Fighting anything is still a fight. It’s an energy of war even if we fight for justice. That is not how to reach enlightenment. We must always come back to ourselves and start healing the world by healing ourselves first.
So, we acknowledge and we accept both ends of the stick. This will give us balance as we no longer focus on one end of the stick. We move to the middle and balance the dualities. This is the first step on how to reach enlightenment intellectually. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to give up on your truth for the sake of someone else’s truth. When you give up on your truth for the sake of keeping a relationship, let’s say, it usually backfires. We need balance and respect for not only others, but for ourselves. Likewise, not only for ourselves, but for others. That’s how we find balance.
It’s important to acknowledge and accept both your own truth and another person’s truth in the situation. Now, what is enlightenment NOT? The state of enlightenment as the state of balance is not the state of over-giving, over-allowing or over-forgiving. It’s important to not lose yourself in this process. Acknowledge and accept both ends of the stick, both stories, both realities. Because we do live in different realities - even a couple that lived together all their lives still live in their own personal reality. Here, I made an example of a relationship, but it can go with any subject.
For example, we can’t give the same advice to everyone. Let’s take a person who is naive, over suggestible and very easy to trust others. Then we take a person who doesn’t trust people at all. We see the opposites here. Each person’s truth is different so transformation and healing process will take a different directions for them both.
Read more on The Art of Letting Go.
Your perspectives, concepts, and understanding of life can be very opposite and contradictive to another person’s views. This only means that truth is subjective. Every truth, no matter how horrible it seems, has it’s right to be acknowledged and accepted. In this first definition we spoke on how to reach enlightenment intellectually as the process of rising above dualities, coming to neutrality, one-by-one, subject-by-subject.
2. REACH ENLIGHTENMENT BY LIVING IN THE PRESENT MOMENT AND A HIGH FREQUENCY STATE OF BEING.
Living in the present moment is another way on how to reach enlightenment. When we penetrate and remain in the present moment - all our worries, stresses and problems lose their power over us. In the present moment, you don’t hold grudges or anger and you don’t want to hurt anyone. There is no confusion or suffering when we truly are in the present moment; the more time we spend in the now, the more love, ease, lightness, forgiveness, unity, and connection to all that is will be experienced.
So many people talk about the importance of being in the present moment but so many of us still don’t understand and practice it. It’s so easy to be taken out of the present. We live in tough times with an overload of information and fast motion - even the Earth is speeding up. It’s spinning faster than ever before, and scientists say that our days will be slowly shortening. Now it’s more important than ever to spend time in the present moment, and now more than ever it has become so difficult to do.
It takes dedication to practice mindfulness. Do you feel your body? Are you aware of different parts of your body? How do you feel mentally right now? Where is your attention? Is it scattered all over the place or are you well-focused? How are your emotions? What do you feel? Being present is not sitting down doing nothing and just being aware. You can be productive too, while managing to remain present, even if just partially. The outside world will distract us from living in the present moment and it has become almost impossible to always be in the now.
How we can help ourselves reach enlightenment is by taking full ownership and control over our lives. For each of us it may mean different things. Some would need to leave the job that they hate and to find a profession which they will enjoy. Some would need to leave the relationship or friendship that makes them feel low. For others it would mean to stop spreading energy to too many people and instead build and invest in a few meaningful, unconditional loving relationships, and focus on nurturing and strengthening them. For someone else it would mean to stick to a regular meditation schedule, rearranging and decluttering the home space. I can provide a lot of examples, but you get the point.
You may say that it will be too hard to change your whole life because you are messy, busy, overloaded with responsibilities or “life is just too hard and I am not able to implement radical changes.” It can take a lot of time. Speaking for myself, it is still taking time because we are always work in progress, but it’s a worthwhile process. We still have many years to live. Why not try and make those years we have left worth living? Life is never over until it is.
I provided examples of what you can change to make your life more enjoyable to live in the present, but being present doesn’t require you to change your life at all - ALL you need to do is actually practice mindfulness and meditation and commit to it.
Choose from 5 Spiritual Practices to Help You Reach Enlightenment.
Present moment awareness naturally takes us to a state of higher energy, higher frequency, higher vibration, a state of peace, joy, good mood, happiness, inspiration, love, connection, unity, and a desire to live and create.
In this state we feel more like ourselves. In this state we are closer to who we truly are. It’s the state of alignment with our soul, with who we came here to be. In this state we spread love, positivity and good energy. This is the state of the true you! It takes effort, self-love and dedication to be happy. It is a decision that requires action. You have to constantly refocus from something that feels bad to something that feels good. It’s a lot of work, but it’s the worthiest investment you can ever make! Keeping yourself in a high energy state is your own responsibility simply because no one else can do that for you. If you are feeling low and depressed and you have someone who loves you so much and dedicated to cheering you up 24/7, even then, this person won’t be able to provide even 10% of the work for you to be happy. Your true happiness comes from within, no external force may endure forever.
Your soul vibrates on a very high frequency, we can say that your soul is always in a good mood - it’s always happy :). It is a matter of connecting to that better feeling. Lock yourself in with that feeling and it should gradually become easier. The better we feel the closer we are to our soul’s frequency, to the core of who we are. We are used to suffering so much that we stop believing in happiness all together, that is why we must actively raise our energy now. This is the doorway to a higher state of consciousness, a path on how to reach enlightenment, because when you feel better you perceive the reality not just in a brighter light, but you also see the bigger picture. You can then truly answer the question 'What is enlightenment?' for yourself.
The more time we spend in low states the more we start to think in a box. When you get out of tunnel vision you become someone who sees happiness, abundance and opportunities everywhere. Raising your vibration makes you more aware and wiser. You have insight after insight coming, you receive streams of information, you have epiphanies, or those illuminating "aha moments" on an ongoing basis. Those are all the moments of Enlightenment.
So, no matter how high or how low you feel right now you should commit to self-love and your own wellbeing. Why? This will open you up to a bigger perspective, more ideas, wisdom, creativity. You’ll attract better experiences, new opportunities and so on. The same applies to the opposite. The worse you feel, life will provide equal if not worse experiences to you, then you start to constantly expect the worst. Life confirms that and brings you more of it. If you haven’t yet consciously experienced the law of attraction at work, you just have to start paying attention.
It is easier to notice the evidence of the existence of one of the main laws (law of attraction) in the universe when we emanate a strong high vibration or a strong low vibration overtime, but most of us are inconsistent and unfocused so we emanate a mixture of vibrations throughout the day.
So what is enlightenment? Enlightenment is a natural state of alignment with our true selves - our souls if you want, and the entry point for it is the connection with your intuitive self in the present moment. The more aligned we are with our intuition, the more we experience the expansion of consciousness, it’s enlightening, it’s awakening.
Learn more about How To Connect With Your Intuition.
3. REACH ENLIGHTENMENT BY DISSOLVING THE TOXIC, LIMITING EGO AND REBUILDING A HEALTHY EGO STRUCTURE.
A third way on how to reach Enlightenment is through the idea of letting go of your EGO. There are many definitions for the word "ego," from extremely negative ones to positive ones. From a neutral perspective, the ego is self-identification, a combination of things you relate yourself to be. For example, I am a teacher, I am a manager, I earn (x) amount of money, I am kind, I am a good person, or I am a bad person. It doesn’t matter if you identify yourself with something good or something bad. You limit yourself either way.
The idea of this concept is that you are much more than all of that. You probably saw these pictures on the internet asking you to name yourself without mentioning your job title, your social and marital status. And it also says you are much more. You are the universe experiencing ones-self in human form. While I 100% agree with that, this idea of losing your Ego can be a little tricky.
Now, when you are in the present moment after raising your vibration and energy, focused positively, you are deeply emerged into your most authentic experience of self and who you truly are is revealed. You will feel like you are the purest expression of your own soul in that moment. You do experience a temporary loss of identity, you feel free. You are flowing as pure energy and expressing yourself freely. You lose the blockages, the egoic structure, the concept of yourself, and the idea that you should act and appear in a certain way. All of this dissolves in a true present moment and with high vibration. You don’t worry, you don’t stress, you just are. You are now living without worrying how you are perceived.
It is all wonderful, it is all great, it is amazing. That is what we all should strive for. BUT, if we look at the concept of how to reach Enlightenment only through the perspectives of “losing the ego,” it may end up backfiring on us. Why? We need ego, we need healthy ego to successfully navigate ourselves on this physical plane. Dissolving ego that is scared, angry, fearful, and full of grudges is what we should strive for. When we clear these things up, we create space and at this new space we must create a new healthy egoic structure. A healthy ego that is confident, that is self-assured with deep self-love, self-support, self-encouragement, self-protection. You need all of that because in order for your soul to express itself, it needs a container, and this container is not only your body, but also your healthy strong self-identity. When you see yourself in a healthy way you reinforce your soul. You don’t go to extreme perceptions of yourself like I am either good or I am bad. This allows you to see yourself for the wholeness of who you are, and to nurture the aspects which you want to grow and strengthen such as self-love, confidence, open-mindedness, courage, self-respect, worthiness and so on.
Some people (including myself in the past) become over identified with the idea of transcending the ego that they strive to let go of all aspects of themselves and don’t create anything new in the freed space. Eventually they become like energies without containers: unfocused, flowing, messy, and confused. We live on Earth. We need the self-identification that comes from within. After you die, you reemerge into that ‘energy without a container’ state just as it was before you came into this world. So you must have come here for a different experience, a physically focused experience of life in a body. You need that container that I’m talking about. You need a healthy ego, a healthy self-identification. It is like a skeleton for your energetic body.
Now, I will provide an example of one of the world religions and I don’t mean to offend anyone. I hope for you to keep an open mind. I’m not against any religion whatsoever. Religions are great, and a lot of people reach Enlightenment through religions. I chose this example because I think it's very relative. So, let’s take a woman who wants to spiritually realize herself and she feels the calling to become a Buddhist nun, also known as a Bhikkhunī. In order to do that, she has to become genderless, let go of her identity as a woman and shave her head. She also now has to live by certain rules and schedules, and she cannot get married and have kids anymore (here I am talking about older Buddhist traditions, not so much to the modern traditions). She strives to be selfless. Her quest is to reach Enlightenment; she wants to leave behind her identity.