What is spiritual enlightenment? From a literal standpoint spiritual means having to do with the essence of Being (the essence of Life); and enlightenment refers to a growth in one’s ability to see the light of Truth more clearly. Spiritual enlightenment, therefore, could be described as realizing a more perfect understanding of the nature of Life. But how exactly is this understanding demonstrated in your life experience?

Life is the common and immutable foundation of everything in the universe. The underlying Reality of All is Life. What you experience in life, however, is not necessarily a reflection of what Life is, but rather a reflection of your perception about what life is. You are the creator of your personal life experience and you create these life experiences based upon your ideas about life. Do you believe life to be an unforgiving, survival of the fittest existence full of have’s and have not’s? Then you will draw to yourself experiences which will allow you to live this idea out. Of course in this example this particular belief about life is not really an accurate reflection of what life truly is, but there’s nothing in spiritual law which says that your ideas about life must be accurate in order for them to be demonstrated in your experience. Each soul is free to choose his own understanding about life no matter how truthful or in error that understanding may be. This is the crux of freewill. So while the Reality of Life (and all of Its qualities) are the foundation of your existence, this Reality has no bearing upon what you actually experience in life. As long as your understanding about Life is imperfect, your experience in life will reflect these imperfections in order to show you the error in your thinking. The purpose for this is similar to what happens when you have a nightmare. The more unsettling your experience (whether the experience is a “waking” experience or a “dream” experience) the more persuaded you will be to awaken from whatever delusion you find yourself immersed in. Spiritual enlightenment is demonstrated in your ability to manifest more of Reality and less delusion in your personal life experience.

You further your spiritual enlightenment by perfecting your understanding of Self, for you are an expression of Life. And from a perceptual standpoint you are on more intimate terms with yourself (your thoughts, your feelings, your experiences…) than you are with anything else. So it is precisely by more clearly understanding yourself that you realize a more clear understanding of Life. And the context of this self understanding comes from your inner narrative.

Every thought you think says something about what you believe yourself to be or what you believe life to be about. Of course in Reality yourself and life are actually one and the same thing. And it is through the process of spiritual enlightenment that one comes to more plainly realize this Truth. Whenever you think or say I am… (anything), you are declaring something about life. Just as whenever you think or say anything about this or that (whatever or whomever this or that may be), you are declaring something about yourself. In both respects, you are not necessarily proclaiming what you are (in Truth) or what Life is (in Reality), but rather what your experience in life will be. Your life experience is a manifestation of those thoughts and ideas that you have chosen to identify yourself with.

To identify with means to regard as the same. Every thought or idea which you accept as true is a thought or idea which you are not only regarding yourself to be, but life to be about. So when you think, for instance, I am unsatisfied, you are (in this statement) also declaring that life is unsatisfying. And when you think, for instance, that is ugly, you are (in this statement) also declaring that you believe (whether you consciously acknowledge this believe or not) that something within yourself is ugly. You cannot separate yourself from the universe around you. The effect on your life experience is the same whether you are declaring something about yourself or something about the world around you because the essential nature of the thing being spoken or thought about is identical. You are Life and Life is You.

How you think about yourself and how you think about the world around you are two sides of the same coin. So when your thinking is in error with respect to how you think about yourself or how you think about the world around you, this thinking manifests as two layers of the same delusion. Your degree of self esteem directly correlates to how optimistic your world view is. For instance, if one of the things you think about yourself is I am not especially good at anything then your world view would be one that does not believe that everyone and everything in the universe has something special to offer. In this, you would not subscribe to the very true philosophy that there’s good in everything.

The more negative your perception is of yourself or of the world around you, the more limited and laborious your experience will be as you struggle to free yourself from your perceived restraints. The end game of spiritual enlightenment is to arrive at an absolute realization that you have no bounds for you are one with All.

Spiritual enlightenment is a process, not an event. It is the process by which one moves from relative negative and narrow-minded thinking to more positive and open-minded beliefs and ideas. You keep pushing back the borders of your perceptual boundaries until you come to realize that you actually have no boundaries. This is spiritual enlightenment. You may, for example, gradually move from the perception of I am sad to I am happy to I am ecstatic. And while this is indeed positive progress, believe it or not, even in ecstasy you have still not arrived at complete liberation. Until you can think about yourself, with absolute conviction, “I Am,” and leave it at that, you will not be completely free from delusion. Your true self is beyond any label (no matter how positive that label may be), any definition or any words. Your true self has no boundaries, and the only way to express this understanding of Self is to realize I Am.

“I Am is the ultimate announcement of Life… (because) these two words together represent a declaration of existence; they serve as a demonstration of Self Awareness and portray a nature which is completely unbound.” – Divine Heritage

Spiritual enlightenment is demonstrated in your experience by the continual falling away of boundaries. The more you realize how great you truly are, the more your life experience opens up to reflect this recognition. As your prejudices, biases, characterizations, labels, beliefs in your inability… die, new horizons will appear for you, giving you greater liberty to explore and experience.

Author's Bio: 

Evette Gardner is an author of 21 Days to a Changed Life and other spirituality topic eBooks. She currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts. You can read more of her articles on her web site and blog.