What Can Help Me Achieve Enlightenment? Begin Your Journey with the Right Tools
When it comes to living in the moment and being more enlightened, you might have some questions that you’d like answered. For instance, you might be saying, “Dr. Puff, how do I reach that point? Is there anything I can do to speed up the process of waking up and of having a life filled with the present?”
Enlightenment is beyond our concepts, so merely attempting to apply concepts to it causes its secret to remain hidden. It’s similar to that Chinese puzzle where you put a finger in one end and another in the other end, then you pull – but merely the act of pulling makes you stay stuck. When you relax, you become unstuck. Living an awakened life is much like that: we have to let go.
But there are a few things you can do to help you let go.
The first one is: you have to really want to wake up. If this and only this is your ultimate goal, then all your energies are going to be put into seeking this awakening and enlightenment. It has to be done at the expense of everything else. We have so much egoic identity that we cling onto in life and this causes us to be stuck. We have to let go of everything, which can seem frightening.
Imagine an explorer who has left his home to find the treasures of the world, and after years of searching he finally reaches his destination. Before him are vast treasures that he can’t even grasp because they’re so infinite. Before he can enter and have all these treasures, however, he has to let go of everything: all his clothing, belongings, memories, egoic identities and all labels, even his name. This frightens him and us. We’re not willing to let go of everything. Sometimes we hang onto anger, attachments, fears, goals, achievements or loves. We hold onto what we know seems so real right now, even though we might have only lived with it for a few years or decades. We identify with our ego so much and all that is accumulated in our lives. But to locate the treasure, we have to let go of everything.
There is a story I once heard that I think illustrates this point pretty well: it was about a man who had spent decades seeking enlightenment. When he finally felt as if he had reached that destination, he went to a door and knocked on it. He heard a voice from behind the door asking “Who is it?” and the seeker whose name was Michael replied, “It’s Michael.” The voice from the other side said, “There’s no room for Michael here.” The door remained closed. Michael went away and spent a lot more time trying to figure out who and what he was, and then he finally got it. So he returned to the door and knocked on it again. When the voice on the other side asked, “Who is it?” he replied, “No one.’ He was allowed to enter.
Enlightenment is like this; you have to leave everything behind before you can enter. So earnestness and desire are the first key components of reaching enlightenment quickly if that’s what you really want.
But the second component that I think is also very helpful is quiet time. Time in silence to just listen to your inner self is vital. You have to be still, with lots of time of quiet stillness that does not include any thoughts. You can just quietly watch within and see who you are. In the silence the greatest discoveries will be found. Probably one of the reasons why people meditate often when they have an awakening is because they have been doing this for years.
It isn’t a requirement but if today you’re interested in moving things along and you’re tired of the life you’ve been living, then seeking it wholeheartedly and with lots of silence (just being present and still) are crucial factors that will help you.
There are no guarantees but it’s much like many other things in life: if you want something that’s very hard to gain which very few people have achieved, such as a top ten album, an Academy Award or a Nobel Prize, it does require a large amount of earnestness and effort. It also requires, or is helped by, large amounts of silence.
Simplify your life. Get it to where you can be still, present and really dive into this state. Stop watching so much TV, reading other books or being involved in pointless conversations. Make this the focus of your life. Choose to start this journey of self-discovery with lots of time being still. What may happen is you’ll discover who you are.
Then what becomes possible is that you might wake up to the true supreme reality of who you are, who you have always been and who you will always be. The rewards of discovering who you are, are truly infinite; beyond measure and compare. They are simply priceless.
Dr. Robert Puff, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, author, international speaker, and meditation expert who has been counseling individuals, families, nonprofits, and businesses for over twenty years. A contributing writer to Psychology Today, he has authored numerous books, including Spiritual Enlightenment: Awakening to the Supreme Reality and creates a weekly podcasts and articles on enlightenment, spiritual enlightenment, nonduality, Advaita Vedanta at: http://www.EnlightenmentPodcast.com