Not for the Feint of Heart

Seekers of enlightenment fall into several categories, all of which, to the chagrin of those starting out on the path, are nearly mutually exclusive! As a person goes through life, their appetite for self-realization usually increases as they begin meeting influential personalities outside of their familiar (family) circle of close relatives and proximal neighbors.

At some point, parental influence is no longer as dominant as in the formative years, and a tripping point in beliefs is reached as the young seeker expands their field of vision beyond mere ego gratification (peer assistance) and business contacts (co-workers) defined by a particular social, industrial and/or religious structuring.

The family religion may be a help or a hindrance to those seeking the ultimate aim of life, which they may at first perceive as self-realization, then enlightenment, then spiritual guidance. If and when particular charismatic rituals and sanctified customs cease to appease the young soul, the seeker becomes vulnerable to the influence of charlatans, fakirs and wannabees who try to dazzle a new devotee with overwhelming waves of mystic sensation.

Induced Escapism

The initiate may find themselves in all sorts of opulent, non-spiritual circumstances, including chemical (drugs), music (counter-culture) in a naïve attempt at material escapism. Although theoretically grounded, they are literally 'beside the wayside' and these activities mask themselves as cleverly disguised substitutes for authenticity.

Upon further maturation, mostly derived from causal experience (trial and error) – the seeker will turn to time-honored, trusted sources of historical inspiration in various fields, such as mind development, philosophical thinking, reasoning, artistic expression, poetry, etc. In these avenues one will meet a bewildering assortment of more sincere, yet equally as discouraged as not fellow seekers who might seem to possess a common heritage.

Brotherhood of Unity

What started as a personal quest for self-realization now becomes tinged with the possibility of cooperation and vested partnership of a much wider, spiritual community (of which there are many). Such a novice may at last be recognized as latent with potential, although still considered to be a spiritual adolescent.

Although the possibility of becoming pigeon-holed by dogma and intricate specialization is a definite reality at this stage and as much a trap as the previously mentioned forms of 'sincere escapism', it is a mark of religious piousness that can be ill afforded in a sectarian world.

Unity of purpose and commitment to the path are better than axle grease and ball bearings on the road to enlightenment. Spiritually mature individuals have a real head start in that they are able to distinguish and be recognized by genuine cosmic guides whose purpose is to assist the hungry souls who are moribund with the illusions of maya.

Purify and Rinse

Expect hard change and loss of self-esteem that was placed too high on the scale during periods of pre-gestated vulnerability. Be willing to lose all that you had gained on the social, industrial, and religious scales of contrived artificiality. Be open to intense cleansing and absolute blind trust. Know that your path has been forged ahead and the way is clear, that there is a guide with experience to help open your heart and astral senses.

The spiritually mature is not certain to recognize their embryonic self of eons ago, indeed they are no longer the same person. One ego has been shed and its thin shell lies cast aside for the hungry vultures of the devil to devour. He can walk freely among formerly polarized points of distraction and attraction with a clear focus and open concentration.

The foot will not deviate into obstruction nearly as often, nor will adversaries attack a strengthened mind nor continue to fool a foolish heart. The mind is water-tight and iron clad with right purpose, the heart driven by an irresistible, otherworldly passion – and the foibles of man cease to intrigue.

The Worthy Opponent – Your Self

The one whom you thought was is in your way is gone. The expansion of interconnected circles has brought you to a crossroads of selfish sorts. You emerge spiritually wiser and lighter with one less karmic influence to hold you back. Like a hot knife through butter your soul reeks of desire to join with your creator, and your creator has sent hand picked experts to challenge and nurture you. This should sound like a paradox because it is.

No one said that enlightenment was easy. But now that you're here, would you go back?

Author's Bio: Expert Author, Ted Ollikkala developed an intense interest in the process of enlightenment and spirituality in 1981 when, at the age of 23 he was exposed to the writings of Alan Watts, Paramahansa Yogananda, Vernon Howard, and Ram Dass, the yoga practices of Richard Hittleman, the readings of Edgar Cayce, and Paul Bragg’s Miracle of Fasting. An avid traveler, interviewer and photojournalist, he has documented spiritual practices in Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Bali, and Singapore.

A former engineer, early childhood education specialist, nursing assistant, holistic artifacts dealer and communication skills lecturer, Ted brings a wealth of experiences and a unique perspective to his writings on spirituality. He currently lives in Singapore and is the owner and main contributing author of