Is Enlightenment Really Attainable?
Enlightenment is generally considered to be an out-of-reach goal, attainable by only a few of the most evolved yogis, monks, and sages. What many people do not realize is that if we find the right path, this seemingly unreachable goal can become a reality for every one of us. As Deepak Chopra notes in his book Super Brain, we are now on our way toward enlightenment: “One clue that enlightenment is real − and accessible − is staring at us already. We use common phrases all the time that edge right up to it: Wake up, See the light, Face reality. These are all pointers to a higher state of awareness. . . . Once the mind wakes up, sees the light, and faces reality, the brain undergoes its own physical changes.”
Any kind of shift in perception must involve a change in how our brain functions. The difference between the vast majority of people and an enlightened person is that the latter has gone further in transforming his or her mind into a vibrant, alert tool that can see the ultimate reality. The good news is that we can look for breadcrumbs along the way, such as aha! moments and experiences of awakening that will show us we are progressing on the path to enlightenment. The following feeling experiences are part of this evolutionary process and gradual shift we will undergo as our mind opens to higher states of consciousness:
I am part of everything.
I am cared for.
I am fulfilled.
My life is meaningful to God.
I am unbounded, a child of the universe.
As we shift into enlightenment, the real world where we are connected with everything and where God is present in everything, including us, becomes more genuine. The first step to start on your transformational process is to actually want enlightenment. Your brain will then start to adapt to this new reality and the following levels or degrees of enlightenment will start to unfold in their own timing and individual rhythm.
Seven Degrees of Enlightenment
- Inner calm and detachment increase – you can be centered in the midst of outer activity.
- Feelings of connection grow – you feel less alone, more bonded with others.
- Empathy deepens – you can sense what others are feeling, and you care about them.
- Clarity dawns – you are less confused and conflicted.
- Awareness becomes more acute – you get better at knowing what’s real and who is genuine.
- Truth reveals itself – you no longer buy into conventional beliefs and prejudices. You are less swayed by outside opinions.
- Bliss grows in your life – you love more deeply.
When you begin to notice that the above degrees of enlightenment are already aspects of your awareness in this very moment, enlightenment becomes more palpable. The only thing you need to do is expand your awareness and realize that enlightenment is no longer out of reach.
Meditation as a Path Towards Enlightenment
Developing a meditation practice is one of the ways to start cultivating connection with the true nature of reality, with the real us, and with higher states of consciousness. As we dive into the vastness of our being, we begin to get a taste of our essential nature and a deeper connection with the universe. This new expanded awareness of ourselves allows the seven degrees of enlightenment to unfold naturally and effortlessly.
About the Author
Teresa Long is the Director of Chopra Center University. She oversees all of the Chopra Center’s teacher trainings and certification courses and is the worldwide liaison to our global network of more than 1,500 certified instructors. Teresa is the daily touch point along their journey to become certified instructors, and her nurturing team is their support system once they have become certified.
As a Vedic Master and certified Ayurvedic consultant who has completed every teacher training the Chopra Center offers, Teresa’s wisdom, gentle spirit, and guiding support helps students on the Teachers Path successfully complete their certifications so that they can share the knowledge of yoga, Ayurveda, and meditation in their communities.