5 Myths About Enlightenment

Posted by on March 8, 2014 in Conscious Evolution, Conscious Living with 1 Comment

Michael Jeffreys | Collective Evolution

1. Enlightenment is a long journey that takes many years, decades, or even lifetimes to achieve.

Enlightenment is realizing that what you are, have always been, and in fact cannot help but be is pure Consciousness. That you are not the “self-image” you have of yourself, nor your thoughts or even your body. Rather, your original nature, your unconditioned essence, is timeless Awareness.


Because it’s fully what you already are, you cannot “do” anything to get there. Thus, the journey to enlightenment is one of no distance. An analogy would be: How far does the ocean need to go to find water? The answer is no distance. It just needs to clearly recognize what it already is.

The reason it is so challenging to awaken to our original infinite nature is because we have been told/conditioned since birth that we are our body and/or the image we have of ourselves in our mind, i.e., our “self-image.” We are not. What are we? We are THAT which silently observes or is AWARE of everything we experience. This includes all thoughts, feelings, sensations, images and perceptions that arise within, as well as “the outside world” (in fact, we could say that we are not in the world, the world is in us!). For example, how do you know you have a body? You know because you are aware of it. How do you know you have thoughts? You know because you are aware of them. Simply put, your nature is AWARENESS itself.

2. I will be enlightened as soon as I learn how to stop my thoughts.

This is a common misconception. The reality is that you don’t need for your thoughts to stop to awaken; you just need to stop identifying with them. But this is not so easy because most of us have spent a lifetime doing just that. The key is to observe them; to silently watch them. Get some space between you and the arising thought and notice that you are present before the thought, during the thought, and after the thought, so the thought cannot be you. In fact, are you not fully present even when no thought is arising?

3. Enlightenment means I will be free of the ego.


The ego is necessary for the body’s survival and is what tells us when to run from danger or defend ourselves. However, although we rarely find ourselves in actual physical life or death situations, the ego approaches our psychological disturbances with this same fight or flight response. If someone insults us or cuts us off in traffic, the ego kicks in and feels threatened.

The key is to see that we are not our ego. By observing it as it gets triggered we can start to get some space between us and it. The more space, the less pull it has over us. Pretty soon the ego begins to feel like a spoiled child who is always whining and complaining because it wants what it wants when it wants it. The ego’s mantra is, “Me, me, me!”

Rather than get angry at “the child,” we can begin to love it and assure it that it’s safe. By not taking our ego so seriously, we literally begin to lighten up. Again, no need to get rid of the ego—clearly seeing it is not you is enough.

4. Once I am enlightened my life will be free of problems.

When one is awakened, it’s not that only “positive” things come your way, rather it’s that you stop labeling things as positive or negative because all is seen as Life unfolding exactly however it unfolds. You realize you are not in control of Life, Life is; and you are not separate from Life. (Even if we feel separate, that doesn’t make it so. A wave can feel separate from the ocean all it wants; that doesn’t make it so.) And so you learn to trust Life fully and completely. You learn to “go with the flow” and enjoy the journey. A roller coaster has both UPS and DOWNS. You cannot have a roller coaster with only UPS!

As you get older you realize that Life goes by very quickly, and so the urge to whine and complain about every little thing suddenly becomes a waste of energy—energy that you no longer take for granted.

Remember, everyone is a good captain when the seas are calm… so let us not shy away from storms. We can view a storm as an insurmountable problem or as a challenge to go deeper and find out what we are truly made of. As the saying goes, ships were not designed to stay in the harbor. Regardless of the outcome of the situation, you will learn something about yourself that you didn’t know. And when you awaken, you realize that what you are at your core can never be harmed. As the Bhagavad Gita says regarding your true nature:

“A sword cannot cut It, nor can fire burn It; water cannot wet It, nor can wind dry It.”

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