By Benjamin Raven Pressley
When using the term ‘enlightenment’ I would venture to say that most people immediately think of Buddhism or some eastern Indian religion. I would like to propose it is not exclusive to Buddhism and far eastern religions and it isn’t some mystical out of body experience as I have heard various gurus from India expound.
Like many aspects of spirituality this is usually one of those carrots dangled just out of reach of the regular person so the person who claims it can be admired and appear to be god like in some way. I have listened to many gurus from India who claim to be divine and dangle their enlightenment before ignorant and naïve followers who often are more than willing to pay out tons of money for their seminars, books and videos, which in most of these cases is their true motivation anyway; bilking the sheep and making money. Indian gurus are not the only ones guilty of bilking their flocks though, there are plenty of TV evangelists who claim to be Christians who do the same as well as various cults. I am amazed and saddened that intelligent human beings can be so easily deceived. Educated people, lawyers and CEO’s give away all their money in some cases to follow this or that enlightened one. Extreme examples would be Jim Jones’ followers of the Peoples Temple in 1978. This cult started out in America and his followers gave up everything to move to Guyana and he ultimately persuaded 900 people; men, women and children, to drink poisoned kool-aid and die. 1997 Marshall Applewhite of the Heaven’s Gate cult convinced the men of his cult to be castrated and eventually convinced 21 women and 18 men to drink poisoned vodka so their fleshly bodies could be shed and their real selves could join a spacecraft embedded in the Hale Bopp comet that passed close to the Earth that year.
So what is enlightenment? I love Raven Cain’s definition of enlightenment. He is a Buddhist priest from Utah. He describes it as “A state of ‘Awake’ a condition of being fully actualized, and enlightened. Awake from the illusions that cling to the mind, Awake from the unnecessary resentment in the hearts of man. Awake from the blinders on the eyes of humanity. Awake from the lack of compassion, Awake from the harmful word. Awake from the lost, Awake from the confusion. Awake from the cause of suffering. Their eyes no longer veiled with a conditioned film like those of the Sleepwalker. They are no longer attached to the words like the Seeker and unlike the Pathwalker they have had a direct experience of the ‘Ah-Ha’. They are at peace, free, and authentically themselves. They are AWAKE!” (I highly recommend Raven Cain’s book ‘The Journey‘.)
I also love Sunni Gail, Contemporary Writer and Thinker’s definition: “I think part of it is being in a place where you can take any piece of information and get something out of it.”
And before we get into the deeper aspects of enlightenment I also would like to offer my simple definition of enlightenment as I see it: “I don’t think it is some super-duper spiritual one of a kind exclusive only to one religion experience. In brief it is that moment of awakening where your relationship with God and life are at peace. It is clarity. It is casting off chains of interpretation of religious moorings. I think it applies to many people of many cultures and their journey that brought them to their moment of clarity. It is a time you come to where the inner struggle ceases and you just know that you know that you know. It isn’t religious. It may come to you due to your religious or spiritual path but I don’t think it is exclusive to any particular religion.”
Allow me to give you an idea of who I am. I consider myself a spiritual person, not religious. I am a follower of Jesus Christ and the apostles’ teachings but do not allow any particular church, denomination or religious organization to interpret to me what being a follower of Christ means for me. I consider myself open-minded and have friends of varying beliefs Christian, pagan, Wiccan, Buddhists, atheists, deists, theists, New Agers…just to name a few. But I don’t allow them to interpret what spirituality means to me either. My story is below if you want to read it. Just look for ‘Benjamin Raven Pressley’s Enlightenment Experience’. That being said I hope you will read on as I explore the topic of enlightenment.
At its simplest and most literal definition enlightenment is the shedding of light and expelling darkness. That can be as literal as turning on a light in a dark room or it can be extrapolated out more abstractly into a spiritual experience which is what this writing is about.
The fact is we are composed of spirit, soul and body. I go in more detail on this subject here but briefly the human spirit is that part of us that is our higher consciousness, where our intuition and conscience reside. It is the seat of our moral compass and depending on how much we train ourselves to listen to this part of us the better person we are morally. It is also where we spiritually discern things, like when something just feels off but we are not quite sure why; in some cases it can even warn us of danger. The spirit tries to offer correction and steer us away from a possible course of action that could harm us, in many cases. The body is pretty obvious. It is our five senses. It is how we relate to the physical world. It is where we receive input and physical pleasure. The soul is the mind, the will and the emotions. It is the bridge between the spirit and body and it is where we make the choices and decisions in our life. If we yield to only what the body wants we weaken the voice of the spirit until it is no more than white noise. The body generally wants instant gratification and what feels good with no regard to how it will affect our spirit, soul and body in the future. The spirit is always calling us to a higher, stronger version of our self. Our spirit though is generally disconnected and has little influence on a general level, unless nurtured. And before it can fully do its job it needs to be reconnected to God and awakened. John 3 calls this being ‘born again’, which denotes a rebirth and quickening and awakening of our spirit.
I will be referencing the Bible many times throughout this treatise because I believe it explains many things very well if you will cast aside whatever religious influence you have had and refuse to be influenced by the general opinion of what the public perceives the Bible to be. Many are scarred by their experiences in a church or religious gathering or organized religion in general and wrongly reject the Bible just because the injuring organization claimed to go by it. Many consider themselves ‘enlightened’ because they have accepted the parroting of the masses that science trumps the Bible and that the Bible is only a superstitious outdated book. I say don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Just because it has been used as a tool to form religions and to control people does not invalidate what it really says and you will have to actually read it for yourself to benefit from it. I have many books, blogs and resources that will help you understand and instruct you on how to do this. A truly spiritual person will not just wholesale toss the Bible aside. I have read other so-called ‘holy’ books and I have found none of them to compare to or be the Bible’s equal. I also go into detail why I believe the Bible is valid and not like any other book in a three part written study on my website entitled Holy Bible, God’s Word.
Stay with me now. I am trying to keep this as universal in nature as I can and respect everyone on their individual spiritual path whatever that may be.
As I offered earlier in my brief definition of enlightenment I do not believe it is some point you ‘arrive’ at and you are there and the race is over and you suddenly become spiritually and intellectually superior to everyone else. I believe life goes on and you will learn more and you will change and adjust and continually be forming into the best version of yourself if you stay on the path to spiritual learning and enlightenment. I do believe though there is an ‘Ah-Hah’ moment where it suddenly makes sense and you have clarity and understanding like never before. This will be an imperfect example but to me it is like buying a shiny new knife; this represents that ‘Ah-Hah’ moment. You use the knife day after day and you wonder how you ever did without that knife; this represents the continuing journey where you learn more and more and achieve confidence on a level you never had before. Then the knife gets a little dull; this represents the occasional crossroads and challenges to what you believe that will arise. At this point hopefully you don’t throw the knife away because it doesn’t work as well as it did before. Hopefully you sharpen it and maybe even hone a better edge on it than the factory did where you bought it from; this represents where you dig in spiritually, you meditate, you pray, you read what the masters say. Then you continue using that knife and constantly oil and maintain it and you know what to expect for you have learned and accepted that the knife will get dull but now you know what to do when it does; this represents that part of enlightenment when you accept things as they are and you are at peace. Read Buddha’s story below how he came to that place of peace where he accepted things as they are. There is a peace that comes from realizing that control is only an illusion and you just let go and let God. I think Buddhism explains very well how to just live a life free of worry, casting off illusions, focusing more on yourself being the best version of yourself you can be and not to overthink things (They call it ‘the monkey mind’.)
One thing I have realized as a follower of Christ is that being ‘born again’ is not necessarily enlightenment. It can be that ‘Ah-Hah’ moment but more times than not most churches tell you to recite a predetermined ‘Sinner’s Prayer’ and to join their church and follow their teachings of their particular denomination or church. I have seen too many time and time again get all worked up emotionally, go down to an altar and cry their eyes out and genuinely feel better in that moment and confuse that with actually being born again and having a spiritual experience and enlightenment. They confuse the release they get of a good cry with a true spiritual life-changing experience. These often get over it in a few days and go right back to the way they lived before.
If you have read my story below you will see three very significant spiritually awakening moments in my life. I was not one of those who cried off a little emotion in the altar. I had a genuine life-changing, life-altering moment when I prayed that first prayer to be born again. I had another moment of awakening and enlightening at an all-time low in my life and a vision of being out of my body. The next came later as I grew and shook off all the religious chains and traditions that bound me and allowed God to teach me unafraid to question even the most dogmatic of teachings and traditions I was entrenched in. But when I reached that moment of true clarity and enlightenment it was like Neo flexing his muscles in the Matrix and instead of him bending to it the Matrix bent to him. If you ever have a moment of clarity like I am talking about you will know it. Read my story/poem below about it entitled ‘A Moment’ and see if you can identify.
Now look at a passage of scripture with me in 2 Corinthians 3:10-18
10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.
11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remains is glorious.
12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:
13 And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:
14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remains the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ.
15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart.
16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.
17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Apostle Paul was the writer of this passage and he was talking to some Jews and Gentiles who followed and adhered to that which Moses taught and the 600 or so interpretations of the religious leaders of their day, the Pharisees. In the same chapter prior to these verses he is trying to respect their beliefs and honor what Moses gave but then he also tries to get them to see that the law of Moses was never meant to be a permanent or ideal solution. He expounded to them in as plain a terms as he could (“we use great plainness of speech”). He reminds them of the account recorded in Exodus 34:29-35 when Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with the Ten Commandments engraved on stone that his face shone so bright from being in God’s presence they had to put a veil over his face (talk about enlightenment!). He then brings it around and tells them that when Christ came to Earth in human form that he fulfilled the law of Moses and showed them the next step in their enlightenment confirming Jesus’ very own words recorded in Matthew 5:17. He continues on and continues to use the example of the veil. Now what does a veil do? It allows the wearer to see only partially and it blocks someone else from seeing the face of the person that is wearing it clearly. Think about a bridal veil. He tells them that as long as they stay stuck in Moses law and live according to the Pharisees’ interpretation, even fearing it, that their view is obstructed from seeing the truth; like a person wearing a veil can only see partially. He says in verses 17- 18 that the person who listens to the Lord (speaking of God/ the Holy Spirit/ Jesus) is like someone removing the veil off of their eyes and looking through a glass. You can see better through a glass window than you can a veil can’t you? And what does this person see as he looks through this glass? They see the image of God and not only see it but “are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” This is the next step that must be taken by sincere seekers of truth! I respect and don’t doubt the enlightened life-changing experiences of Buddha and anyone else who describes a life-changing experience they had but I admonish them all, Don’t Stop There! Take your enlightenment to the next level. Your eyes have been opened for a reason, your veil has been removed, but now look into the glass that the Holy Spirit wishes to present to you and see that the path continues, it does not just stop at that ‘Ah-Hah’ enlightening moment. Whatever religion, experience, writing or prophet God used to bring you to your awakening don’t stop there he has so much more. He wants to lead you into ALL truth. I say this same thing to Christians who claim to be born again and go to church every service that are stuck in that one life-changing moment, as good as that was, it gets even better, don’t stop, continue on! Paul describes it as God wants to take you from “glory to glory”. He wants to indwell you and partner with your spirit and lead you into all truth. James 1:18 and Romans 8:23 imply these are only the ‘first fruits’, in other words, just the beginning.
So, in summary and conclusion let me say and reiterate:
Enlightenment is clarity, peace and settledness. It is seeing the world clearly and though there be suffering, sickness and death it cannot disturb your peace. You have peace in the midst of the storm (Buddha was one of the ones who realized this.).
–Enlightenment can be a sudden awakening and supernatural experience. It begins as an “Ah-Hah’ moment but that is just the beginning. It is just the removing of the veil so you can see and hear clearly.
–Awakening can happen to anyone wherever they are if they are sincere seekers of truth and no matter what belief system they are in at that moment.
–This enlightening/awakening/ah-hah moment is just the beginning. Don’t stop there.
–All religious systems are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He respects all sincere seekers and systems of truth but declares they are now at liberty to seek no longer, to only believe on him and the truth that he brings. This is good news! An end to the searching! The end to striving and being good enough! The end to wondering whether this person or that person, this religion or that religion speaks the truth! He even boldly declares that HE is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) and that if a person truly wants to live in this life and the life to come beyond the grave that all they have to do is come through him, believe and let his Holy Spirit guide them.
Anyway, that is the way I see it and I have thought about this hard and long. I hope I have in no way disrespected anyone and what they believe. It is only my desire to connect anyone willing to listen to the Holy Spirit who will guide you into all truth.
Benjamin Raven Pressley’s Enlightenment Experience
I was raised in a Christian home and was never allowed to miss church. Around the age of 15 I began to explore the world as it was and for about 4 years enjoyed partying, drunkenness, promiscuity and recreational drugs. At 19 years old a friend of mine committed suicide and on the day of his funeral looking into his casket I heard a voice speak saying, ‘That will be you in 10 years if you keep living the way you are living’. I went to the grave site and stood there long after everyone left until a friend took me home where I was living at the time with my parents after losing my job, rental house and girlfriend. My parents inquired how I was and I rudely outburst to them to ‘leave me alone!’ I walked down the street not knowing where I was going at first and sensed a presence around me of multiple beings that I believed were demons questioning me about where I was going. I answered, ‘To Church’ to which they replied ‘Why? God doesn’t want you or care about you, you have done too many wrong things.’ To which I replied, ‘If God doesn’t want me then you can have me this day because I can’t continue living like I am living.’ They continued to torment along the way and I finally arrived at the church where the funeral was held and the pastor of the church was still there. I found out later that he had intended to leave but it seemed like the phone kept ringing and kept him talking to people that kept him there. We both felt this was no coincidence. I told him I had to pray and was crying. He said, ‘I will pray with you if you are ready to turn your life around and never go back to that life again.’ It was good that he asked me this question. It made me realize this was it, that I had to mean business, no crying off a little emotion and going back to the way I was. I thought of all the partying and so-called friends I might lose and answered unhesitatingly, ‘Yes, I am ready!’ It did not come easy but 30 minutes later of pleading with God thinking maybe he didn’t want me I had a breakthrough and it was literally like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders and I felt freer than I had ever felt in my life. I found faith, peace, understanding and fellowship in Jesus Christ and it continued to increase in the years to come.
This experience eventually became tainted by legalistic requirements of their particular religion that I tried to live up to for a while but eventually realized these things had nothing to do with being a disciple of Christ. My life-changing experience was too real to deny though and as I had become accustomed to I continued to study and search the Bible for answers and continued to be taught by the Holy Spirit as Jesus promised (John 16:13). I was out of work for 6 months and this was 1975, before the internet, so I bought a $9 Strong’s Concordance in a yard sale and used a Bible someone gave me. I tell people that to this day that 6 months laid the foundation that has kept me believing all these years.
My journey took me from church to church. I should also mention that four years after my conversion I was married and that was followed by the birth of four children spread out over a 26 year marriage. I need not get into all the reasons this marriage did not last but suffice it to say she eventually left us and I began my journey as a single father. I spent two years or so dealing with fear, abandonment, stress and realizing how drained I was from dealing with her indiscretions through the years. I had very few people around me for a support system and was pretty much left to deal with my issues on my own. I did keep a game face on though for the three and seven year old I was still raising and made sure they had good lives.
One night at an all-time low while the children were sleeping I was in tears and weak and worn out and felt as if I was out of my body looking down on myself lying on the floor in a fetal position crying my eyes out. I felt the presence of someone with me, like we were sitting on the same bench looking down on this. He said, ‘That is not you. You are here with me.’ I knew it was Jesus and from that moment on I knew I did not have to be that person any longer. From that moment on I began to be stronger and more confident day by day. I read a book by Joyce Meyer called ‘Battlefield of the Mind’ and learned so much from that book. I learned I was not at the mercy of my thoughts. I learned how to control my thoughts and to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts and affirmations.
One day I was reading in 1 Kings 17 about how the ravens fed Elijah the prophet meat and bread when he was at his lowest and on the run from a queen named Jezebel. Then that voice spoke again whom I now know as the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I want you to feed my people spiritual bread and meat.’ That was the day I became Raven and took on a name of purpose and power. The two younger boys and I moved to the coast, while the two oldest were now old enough to make it on their own. It was there I met many people that helped me in my journey to get back on my feet for by now I was behind on rent and losing my job. I moved in a while with a kind family whose patriarch ended up being a pseudo cult leader of sorts and controlled and manipulated people telling us that ‘God told him….’ followed by what he wanted us to do. By now though I was stronger and would not allow myself to be manipulated by him. We were there for about a year before we met another kind couple that had a mobile home they were willing to let us stay in for whatever we could afford. I took a job in retail and at last we were out on our own.
I had got to a point in my life where I could live a Godly high moral life as a single man and had overcome much weakness and many temptations. It was not long after this that I met the woman that is the best life partner I could ever have. She too had been through a lot in a previous marriage and come out if it. We both know and appreciate the fact that we are not together out of need for we both have proven we can make it on our own but we also realize we are better together than apart.
I feel that I have become enlightened for I am no longer bound or shape my belief system based on traditions or fear of people or religion. This enlightenment has carried over into my relationships with people and given me an empowerment and confidence that allows me to see through many of the schemes and manipulations of people and the supernatural. I am not saying ‘I have arrived’ as in I have obtained the highest place mentally, physically and spiritually that I can obtain. I believe life is a continual journey and I am thankful that the Holy Spirit and the Bible are guiding me and will guide me.
OTHER SOURCES, EXPERIENCES, OPINIONS AND VIEWS OF ENLIGHTENMENT:
Generally when you think of enlightenment you think of Buddhism or some of the eastern Indian religions, so let’s start there. Here is THE STORY OF BUDDHA
Siddhārtha Gautama was born into a royal family who where a clan of warriors in what is now Nepal, close to the border in India about 2600 years ago. It was predicted by a sage and mystic that he would become either a great king and conquer the world or a holy man who would be a spiritual leader and a person who would achieve enlightenment. Since his father wanted a powerful ruler to succeed him, he prevent Siddhartha from seeing the pain, death and sickness in the world. They surrounded him with every kind of pleasure. He knew nothing of sickness, death, old age or suffering. He indulged himself for 29 years before the simmering illusion of pleasure burst. A paradigm shift was about to happen to Siddhartha.
He went for a ride through his kingdom and while riding through his kingdom he had four encounters that would ultimately change his life. The first is that he sees an old man. Siddhartha asks his attended what it is and the attendant said, ”That is change, one does not always stay young and perfect.” Then he sees a sick man and he does not understand what it is. He asked his attendant and his attendants say “That is sickness and that happens to all of us, do not think because you are a Prince that you won’t get sick. You will get sick, your father will get sick, everyone will get sick.” Siddhartha sees that this is a universal problem and something inside him starts to stir. He continues to get his driver to take him out into the kingdom. The next trip out he discovers a corpse. He was shocked and realized that the true world had old age, sickness and death. He was aware that the world he was living in was a protection from the realities of the real world. On the last trip he sees a Holy man living totally opposite as him in an attempt to escape the suffering of life. He is traumatized by the realization that he himself and everyone he loves will grow old, get sick and die. Siddhartha was profoundly affected by his troubled mind. He resolved to leave the palace in search of the answers. How can one escape suffering, sickness and death? He left the palace leaving behind his family in search of the answers. He was alone in the world for the first time becoming a beggar and homeless. He would only eat one grain of rice a day, he drank his own urine, he slept on nails and meditated all the waking hours. He was almost to the point of dying when he remembered a joyous time when his father took him to a spring planting festival, while he watched the dancing he looked down at the grass and thought about the insects and their eggs being destroyed as the field was planted. He was overwhelmed with sadness. He had a realization that everything is connected and felt intense compassion. Almost by instinct he crossed his legs in a yoga pose and began to meditate, he sat underneath a rose apple tree and there he felt a sense of pure joy. The interesting thing is he now understood that the joy he felt in the world was already broken. He did not find it in escape but rather inside what he was trying to get out of. It is the underlining fabric of this world even though it can be so tragic is where the joy arose from. It was that moment when he had that insight that he abandoned his ascetic ways and began to eat. His five friends instantly turned against him. Up until this point he had be an absolute failure. He failed as a Prince, he failed as a husband and father and he had failed as an ascetic. But he was a man on a mission and he was about to change everything, now he knew what he must do. He must look inside to find the answers. He bathed and put aside the rags of the ascetic and regained his strength and sat in the shade of the Bodhi tree. It was springtime and the moon was full and Siddhartha vowed to sit under the Bodhi tree until he had reached enlightenment. Siddhartha meditated all through the night and he describes Mayra the God of desire and temptation coming to him with an army of demons and attacking him shooting arrows ablaze. Siddhartha did not move and the arrows turned into flowers. He then says he remembered all of his past lives and his consciousness expands to where he understands the workings of the universe. At the appearance of the morning star. Siddhartha cried, ‘My mind is clear!’ and the heavens shook and the Bodhi tree rained down flowers. He had become the awakened one, the Buddha.
SAUL’S CONVERSION could be described as his moment of enlightenment:
In the Bible book ‘Acts of the Apostles’ in chapter 9 discusses Paul’s conversion experience at three different points in the text, in far more detail than in the accounts in Paul’s letters. The Book of Acts says that Saul was on his way from Jerusalem to Syrian Damascus with a mandate issued by the High Priest to seek out and arrest followers of Jesus, with the intention of returning them to Jerusalem as prisoners for questioning and possible execution. The journey is interrupted when Saul sees a blinding light that communicates directly with a divine voice.
Acts 9 tells the story as a third-person narrative:
“As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.”
— Acts 9:3–9, NIV
The account continues with a description of Ananias of Damascus receiving a divine revelation instructing him to visit Saul at the house of Judas on the Street Called Straight and there lay hands on him to restore his Ananias is initially reluctant, having heard about Saul’s persecution, but obeys the divine command:
“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.— Acts 9:13–19, NIV
This man, Saul who was formerly a murderer and persecutor of Christians becomes one and he writes most of the New Testament we have today.
Raven Cain, Buddhist priest from Utah, describing his moment of enlightenment:
“One morning I came home particularly burdened so I sat in my living room alone and started to meditate. I meditated into the night and all of a sudden a feeling of absolute connection came over me. Like a wave of light I was engulfed in a power that was indescribable. I could feel and see everyone all at the same time. It was if I were in the presence of God. My anger and my fear dropped away. My doubt and my ego dropped away and it transcended into quiet peace. When I opened my eyes everything was bright even though the house was dark. I began to sob out of utter joy and happiness. All of a sudden I knew. In that moment I changed 180 degrees. Literally overnight I went from being an angry lost man to a happy and compassionate man. The anger was gone as well as the hate and the hopelessness. I had attained enlightenment. That compassion and friendliness is still with me today. The connection I feel with everything is still here.” —Raven Cain is a Buddhist priest in Utah. He is also a recording artist and martial artist. This excerpt is from his book ‘The Journey’
OTHER PEOPLE EXPLAINING ENLIGHTENMENT:
Benjamin Raven Pressley’s brief definition of enlightenment:
I don’t think it is some super duper spiritual one of a kind exclusive only to one religion experience. In brief it is that moment of awakening where your relationship with God and life are at peace. It is clarity. It is casting off chains of interpretation of religious moorings. I think it applies to many people of many cultures and their journey that brought them to their moment of clarity. It is a time you come to where the inner struggle ceases and you just know that you know that you know. It isn’t religious. It may come to you due to your religious or spiritual path but I don’t think it is exclusive to any particular religion.
Sunni Gail, Contemporary Writer, Thinker, Philosopher:
I think part of it is being in place where you can take any piece of information and get something out of it.
The Age of Enlightenment:
The era known as the “Age of Reason” in the 17th and 18th centuries is also called the Enlightenment where people like Thomas Paine projected Deism or the belief that God exists but does not interfere in the affairs of men. It is characterized by belief in the power of human reason and by innovations in political, religious, and educational doctrine. It emphasized reason, individualism, and skepticism. The Enlightenment presented a challenge to traditional religious views.
MindBodyGreen.com describes enlightenment this way:
- Accept there is no escape from yourself. You cannot escape: not through drugs, sex, alcohol or junk food.
- Find your true identity.
- Consciously reduce your attachment to material comforts.
- Be the love you’re seeking.
- Stop Resisting.
- Create your life how you want it.
Raven Cain, Buddhist priest from Utah defines enlightenment as:
A state of ‘Awake’ a condition of being fully actualized, and enlightened. The Zen Warrior is Awake from the illusions that cling to the mind, Awake from the unnecessary resentment in the hearts of man. Awake from the blinders on the eyes of humanity. Awake from the lack of compassion, Awake from the harmful word. Awake from the lost, Awake from the confusion. Awake from the cause of suffering. Their eyes no longer veiled with a conditioned film like those of the Sleepwalker. They are no longer attached to the words like the Seeker and unlike the Pathwalker they have had a direct experience of the Ah Ha. They are at peace, free, and authentically themselves. They are AWAKE!
By Benjamin Raven Pressley
Can there be a moment so intense it is as if all energy, all perception becomes one? A moment when there is seemingly no distinction of present or past or future, of time or space, even darkness or light. All your senses meld into one intense sensitivity with no limitation. Is there a place we so meld into the mind of God that we see things with such clarity and have no need to label or identify anything? Just clarity, clear understanding of all things. Not in the sense that you could put it into words and explain everything but just truly plugged into a source so full of light, so intense you become one with all things, one with God. Not above Him or equal with Him just One with Him. Clarity, you can’t put into words, clarity, that if you had to explain to someone they would not understand anyway. A moment in time yet not of time that everything just suddenly makes sense. You suddenly understand evil and good, why the material world is what it is. It is as if you are out in space looking at the swirling storms on the Earth’s surface rather than being in them. Have you ever experienced a moment like this? Perhaps it was in prayer so intense that you didn’t feel you were even in the world but lifted to a heavenly place, a temple, a house of the holy…and though a holy place you felt odd even calling it that for it defied all labels and seemed the most natural place to be. Perhaps you felt it in the embrace of that one other person on Earth that you and only you were one with. Perhaps you were standing in the midst of the water and it began to rain and as you faced upward and it fell you became one with the raindrops as they became one with the water all around you. Perhaps it was a waking moment when you woke to absolute peace with no thoughts and no agendas or demands of the day were rushing in and you just lay there and smile. Have you ever known a moment such as this? Could it be this very moment that you stand in now?
By Kevin Ravenhawk Cain
This is a story will inspire you with his struggle and his indomitable spirit. Raven’s journey through some of life’s trials and tribulations will prove to you that regardless of one’s position in life, education, family history or upbringing that anything is possible. This is a story about a survivor who went from desperation to achieving all of his dreams. In a way this book is like a treasure map, at the end if one follows the example one can achieve a greater happiness and appreciation for life. There is nothing more valuable than learning from someone who has already been through hell and knows the way out. This book will inspire, motivate, and ignite a passion for your own personal dreams. Click on image to purchase.
True Spirituality. Just saying it brings to mind a myriad of responses and reactions, some very emotionally charged and most polar opposites of each other. It is said if you want to start an argument then mention religion or politics. I have to agree. However, I propose to you that true spirituality has nothing to do with religion. I think a big part of the problem is the messed up definition most of us have of what it means. True spirituality has nothing to do with religion or any particular set of beliefs. It is an all-encompassing view of life and not denying that things are more connected than most want to accept. True spirituality carries over into every aspect of your life. It’s not something you have to stir up, pay up or wind up. It becomes as real as the air you breathe, invisible in many ways but so real and vital to you as an individual. True spirituality is something that comes alongside everything you do, every thought you think and everything you see. It becomes a filter through which you view all things on a level that just makes sense. CLICK ON BOOK IMAGE TO ORDER.