What is enlightenment?

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As a child, I often pondered the question of enlightenment. I had plenty of experiences of self-realization, knowing that I was not just this body; I knew I was more. My unanswered questions caused a lot of inner stress and anxiety.  This inner turmoil cost me my eyesight.  It was a Monday Morning in 1996.  I woke up blind in my left eye. I had to know what those incidents meant in spoken language. I started contemplating.  I wondered how I myself could have contributed to my problems.  I started a daily meditation practice following the guidance of a male voice on tapes that I had found.  Somehow, I knew that my answers were going to be revealed to me during the silent bliss which followed my meditation practice.  My consistent daily meditation practice was the main spiritual practice that I kept up with.  

Upon receiving an invitation to join a yoga training introductory meeting, a deep knowing began to shine through my restless heart.  The moment I walked into the yoga studio, I started to feel calmer.  I enrolled in the two-year program that day. I learned that Yoga was a non-religious lifestyle change. I experienced much of my true Self during the training.  It was during the yoga training that my body healed many life-long misunderstandings which I had.  Those misunderstandings made me feel inadequate, unworthy, and small. I eventually learned that it was not my thoughts nor what had happened to me in the past. I experienced a true phoenix process; my old self died, and a “New Me” was born.  My yoga became my spiritual path to enlightenment.  Enlightenment is to awaken truth, to be led from dark to light, and to be liberated from confusion, fear, and anxiety.

Most of us grow up feeling insufficient and unworthy. We then long to be approved of by others to feel worthy and good enough;  validation is what we are thirsty for.  The need to be validated by others leads to disease, burnout, and suffering.  Once we awaken to our own truth, we feel more present in our bodies.  We realize that we are the sacred innocent children of the Divinity expressing ourselves as human beings. The chase for external approval comes to a halt. We realize in spite of our imperfections, we are perfect. Reaching Enlightenment feels free, light, and right. 

Growing up, I felt that most others were better than me. Occasionally, I would run into some that felt equal, and we got along. Most of my younger years were spent feeling small. I never felt safe “rocking the boat.”  It felt like a huge black cloud followed me, preventing me from seeing the reason why I could not dare to be me.  I faithfully practiced Yoga. I practiced yoga poses for two hours twice daily. I meditated in silence for an hour twice daily.  I studied yogic scriptures for many hours each week. I continued to journal daily about my feelings and experiences. The cloud started to get lighter. One day I could unveil the dark cloud and see the light, the truth.  I gently and quietly was ushered from dark to light by the grace of the Divinity. It felt freeing and very clear.  I no longer felt the black cloud following me.  I no longer needed to compare myself to others. I knew that I had measured up from the beginning. I started to feel a deep sense of oneness with everyone and everything.  I felt that we all are from the same energy. I felt taller and more grounded. Indeed, reaching the threshold of enlightenment felt wonderful.

Far too often, we give our power away by mistrusting ourselves and our own answers to our important questions.  Continuously needing and seeking validation and confirmation from others leads to disappointment and confusion.  When we give our power away, we most likely feel isolated and lonely. Lack of faith and trust within ourselves is disempowering and painful.  When we get used to hiding who we are and stop what we really want to say, we feel unfulfilled and chaotic inside.  When we are scared to show up as ourselves, we feel anxious and afraid.  We feel confused and scattered. It was on my yoga mat that I started to experience my real identity. My spiritual path included my regular daily yoga and meditation practices; then, my body created a profound healing shift.  

During meditation, the mind stops the chatter. It is only then that we may hear the soft voice of the heart.  According to Yoga thought, it is the heart that reveals the Soul’s agenda, for the Soul lives in the heart. This alchemy of transformation during meditation is the enlightenment.  My enlightenment transformed my fears into courage and my anxieties into peacefulness.  Slowly, a new me arrived within me — it expressed her feelings through me. It is no longer scared when I stand up for myself. I had reached the threshold of enlightenment.  It was a miracle that I called my “New life.”  My eyesight returned within four months of my Yoga and spiritual practices. 

I surrendered at last. I asked for guidance and help from Divinity. Reaching higher levels of being requires self-discipline and humility. Sometimes our spiritual practice comes to a standstill, and we wonder if we have lost our way.  However, we must plug along because we know we matter. We know we must. In yoga discipline, no effort goes wasted.  Our efforts pay off in a big way. Remaining on a spiritual path requires a mentor, daily spiritual practice, faith, and tenacity.  When we deviate, we suffer.  We learn along the way that suffering is a choice.  Enlightenment is when we choose not to suffer anymore. Now, I invite us all to rise to our full power, our enlightenment.  The world needs enlightened, awake, alert, courageous, grounded, strong, and confident people who speak with conviction.  The world needs enlightened Souls who stand for truth on all levels.  The world is calling us to show up as authentic people who are at peace with who we are.  Enlightenment is choosing to speak on behalf of those who do not have a voice at this time.  Enlightenment is claiming our power which is our birthright. Choose it. 

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