I bet that so many of us are absolute experts about enlightenment. Don’t we ‘know’ everything about it? It’s the ultimate state, the state of bliss, the state of equanimity, the point of no return. Aah-Ha, you’re nodding away, aren’t you?
So can I assume that you also had this misconception that Enlightenment just happens? Well, I did too. I had this strong belief that Sudden Enlightenment was a thing, and even recall watching a YouTube video many years ago. This guy was sitting by a river and retelling his story of how he suddenly became enlightened. And in all honesty, although I believed, like truly believed, that Enlightenment definitely happened ‘that’ way, suddenly, the guy really just looked high. No, not nirvana high, but the other type of high. If ya know what I mean.
Jokes aside, in my clueless quest, I would read all these stories about saints and how they got ‘Enlightened’. I read about a saint who suddenly got enlightened after watching a frog for 6-9 hours (or something like that) and my belief in Sudden Enlightenment just got stronger. I felt proud of myself and wondered if I was enlightened because I used to watch birds for a long while everyday. Except, it was only because mobile phones were not a thing yet.
Anyway, my search continued, and of course I stumbled upon the great Ramana Maharshi. That’s it, I was ecstatic. I finally got it. The inevitable happened. Yes. It happened. I started chanting “Who am I?”. Surely that will lead to Sudden Enlightenment. Any.Minute.Now. Or so I thought. And my little brain also thought it heard Ramana Maharshi say that if you can just get in the space between two thoughts, you experience God. Any.Minute.Now. Let me get in that space and keep chanting ‘Who am I?’, and for a few weeks, I kept at it. And I kept waiting for Sudden Enlightenment, until I got tired that nothing was happening. But hey, I did fool myself into believing that that little moment between two thoughts which I had experienced was God.
Now, come on, admit it, you also fell into the trap of the ‘Who am I’ japa and the belief that sudden enlightenment was a thing!! Now that I look back, it’s a hilarious thought but the funniest thing is that I found out that many of us, also go through this same belief. That’s until the ultimate destroyer of darkness finds us and dissipates our ignorance:)
So, let me share some other Sudden Enlightenment misconceptions we may have. We tend to implement certain things in our lives which we believe are conducive to ‘Sudden Enlightenment’ and as serious seekers we totally strive to excel in these. So here are the most common misconceptions which I heard and some of which I personally believed myself. I call them a “Fool’s guide to Enlightenment.”
(Make sure you’re not drinking water or eating whilst reading. I wouldn’t want you to choke:))
A Fool’s Guide to Sudden Enlightenment
1. Enlightenment only happens at 4am. And that too, suddenly
Not 4.01AM, not 3.59AM but exactly 4am. So, you make sure that you are on your cushion meditating at 4am. No. Matter. What.
2. One day, during meditation, you will gain Sudden Enlightenement
You have this belief that Enlightenment will be sudden. You will get up from your meditation and that’s it, you’re ‘there’. And deep inside, you really believe that this day is not very far.
3. I’ll chant a secret mantra or meditate on special nights and I will gain Sudden Enlightenment.
Festival nights are the thing. Even if I don’t meditate at any other time, that would definitely be enlightenment. Ain’t nobody telling me otherwise. If it didn’t happen, then let’s try again. Because SE is a thing.
4. The belief that we will gain Sudden Enlightenment if Swami touches our forehead.
5. Seeing a bright light during meditation means Enlightenment, so we constantly look for one in each session.
The misconception is so high that if we see that bright light, let alone sharing our experience with others, we straight up tell them, yep, I am enlightened.
6. Staring at an object for long will help me gain Sudden Enlightenment.
Just like the saint who gained SE whilst meditating on a frog. God knows where I read that.
7. Enlightenment is pre-destined.
I used to believe that it was meant to happen and I just had to wait for the right time.
8. Being physically close to a guru or going to shrines would increase our chances of enlightenment.
Religious pilgrimages or temple/shrine visits were the jackpot. We could even have a Sudden Enlightenment at any moment.
9. Sudden Enlightenment only happens in the Himalayas.
That too in a cave. With a bodyguard. Some people believe this. I did not completely believe this. I am part of the frog-staring gang, remember?
10. My life will change completely after Enlightenment. It will be sudden and afterwards, I will see only energy.
Yep! That’s what enlightenment is. I will be soo out of this world, literally and otherwise, that I will just be THAT and THERE. A life I cannot even imagine. Any. Minute. Now.
Bonus: If your aura is yellow, you are fun and spiritual. But if you have a purple halo, you are enlightened.
I once met a little 13 year old girl who came for a sight test. She came because she was seeing light around people. From my in depth expert google research, I figured that she saw people’s auras. So I asked her about my light and she said that mine was yellow. That’s it! Once I got home, I went on the google search of my life, only to find out that my crown chakra must be purple, only then would it mean that I am enlightened.
But I never met the girl again. I was off work when she came back. 🙂 The mystery remains.
So, my friends, if you are still alive and nodded away reading these 10 gems, welcome to the world of SE misconceptions! Haven’t we all been there? When in reality as Swami says:
One of the greatest misconceptions about enlightenment is that it will just happen. Not so.
It gives a big blow to the ego when we realise that truly, enlightenment isn’t sudden. And who can put it more beautifully than Swami:
True enlightenment is not a one-off special moment, but more a culmination of lifelong experiences and practices that result in the dawning of a great insight.
Sudden Enlightenment is sadly not a thing and oh boy was disappointed when I found out about this or what? You mean no sudden light emanating from me? I won’t see the world as just energy, suddenly?
What about you? Do you have any funny Sudden Enlightenment stories or past beliefs? Let’s have a laugh, share away!;)