The world is brimful of different cultures, traditions, religions and languages. People living in one geographic location comprehend things in a different manner as compared to those living in another geographic location. However, one thing that is common in people all around the world is their constant search for spiritual enlightenment and the spiritual experience itself. Spirituality, unlike religion, is universal and gives you freedom to choose your path and experience.
Throughout history, people have yearned for a spiritual awakening because real revival helps you comprehend things differently; it enlightens your experiences and strengthens your senses. It is a spirituality that gave Buddha the peace of mind, heart, and soul. It is the spirituality that gave Muhammad and Jesus the power to lead people and perform miracles.
The whole concept of being spiritually enlightened is having an ability to completely comprehend yourself, life and the world around you. However, spiritual enlightenment is a sudden experience which makes it hard to define as the experiences vary from person to person. Besides, one thing is very much clear—you don’t need to be a follower of a particular religion to achieve spiritual awakening.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a distinct set of steps that you can take to attain spiritual awakening. However, since we are living in the age of information, people who have experienced spiritual enlightenment have shared their stories. Interestingly, there are a lot of commonalities between their experiences, through which we can make educated guesses about the ways to achieve spiritual enlightenment.
The problem, however, remains that since whole awareness process is an experience, following the steps of someone else doesn’t guarantee that you can achieve it. But surely some of the following ways to achieve spiritual enlightenment will raise your consciousness and give you a feeling of quietness and tranquility that are two essential ingredients for spiritual awakening.
But before we discuss the ways to achieve spiritual enlightenment, let’s examine the stages of spiritual awakening and its benefits.
You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you; none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your soul. – Swami Vivekananda
Three Stages of Spiritual Awakening
Though spiritual enlightenment is an experience, you can divide it into three different stages on the change in your viewpoint of things as you experience the spiritual awakening.
In 1st stage, you will experience and understand the actual reality of the things in your environment and feel calm and relaxed. Your will find yourself completely at the present, without any worries about past or future.
In 2nd Stage, you will find yourself connected to the environment; be it other human beings, animals, or trees. In this juncture, you will feel like your soul is merging with the soul of nature and will find happiness in every little thing.
Finally, in the 3rd stage, you will experience this sudden realization that you are not connected with everything around you but in reality, you’re everything.
Ways to Achieve Spiritual Enlightenment
There are different ways to achieve spiritual enlightenment. We have compiled a list of some of them below.
1. Be Honest with Yourself
The first of the ways to achieve spiritual enlightenment is, to be honest with yourself. For every person trying to obtain spiritual enlightenment, honesty is a baby-step in the long journey – small, yet crucial. Spiritual awakening is an experience that completely changes your perspective of how you look at things around in your environment, but before you achieve that change, you must have enough strength to be able to look at yourself with honesty and answer “what you should change.”
Being true to yourself is a painful process, and many people are scared to take this step. They need to understand that to transform, change and heal the problems within themselves, they first need to comprehend the problems.
2. Kill Your Ego
There is no place of egoistic people in the enlightened crowd. Spiritually-aware people are kind, caring and down-to-earth people but were they like this all their lives? The answer is no, but they managed to kill their ego and stepped beyond to be greater and achieve eternal happiness.
The ego is merely a product of your thoughts and customs of the society. Once you kill your ego, you understand that sometimes being first to apologize and putting aside your ego can save relationships and help you achieve respect.
3. Forgive People and Yourself
I realize some people have hurt you to the core of your heart, and it is nearly impossible to forgive them but think for a second, and you will understand that your not forgiving is making you think of the situation even more and is eating you from the inside. Try to forgive others and yourself for the things of the past and start living in the present to achieve peace and happiness.
4. Embrace Your Fears
After you have implemented the ways to achieve spiritual enlightenment that I have mentioned above, the next step is to embrace your fears. Never allow your fears to grip you and hold you back from doing something you always wanted to do. One of the main differences between spiritually-enlightened people and ordinary citizens is that they never let their fears control their life. It’s not that they’re not afraid of things such as risks and failures that they develop the strength to embrace the dread.
One of the most ancient and widely practiced ways to achieve spiritual enlightenment is meditation. The whole purpose of meditation is to help you get rid of external noise so that you can concentrate on your real being. Though there are different types of meditation that may or may not require physical strength, the goal of all of them is to help you achieve serenity.
For example, sitting meditation is one of the most widely-practiced forms of meditation. Sitting meditation leads you directly to the last stage of spiritual enlightenment. The focus of this type of meditation is in the sitting posture of the person instead of concentration in thoughts. You just have to sit in a particular position and keep your mind free from any ideas.
Read more about the benefits of meditation.
6. Prayers and Pilgrimages
Though religion and spirituality are two different concepts that do not depend on each other, both of them help you understand things through a different and compelling perspective. Every religion has a particular method of prayer and expect its believers to make pilgrimages.
Prayer is much like physical meditation in that it helps you achieve serenity and to experience a connection with the soul of nature or in religious terminology, with God. Pilgrimages are much like traveling experiences where you meet different people that build your viewpoint and help you relax, calm down and achieve peace of mind and soul.
7. Detach Yourself from Worldly Things
Once you become honest with yourself and kill your ego, you will find yourself very less attached to worldly things. You will find yourself in more calm and peaceful situations instead of a constant pursuit of material things. Detachment doesn’t mean leaving everything aside to live in solidarity but merely not being dependent on material things.
Aloofness for material things makes you kind, and down-to-earth.
8. Learn YOGA
Different YOGA centers help you practice yoga and achieve mental freshness and calmness. Yoga is similar to meditation and helps you get rid of external noise so that you can listen to your inner voice and concentrate your thoughts on the central point of yourself.
9. Taking Psychedelics
One of the ways to achieve spiritual enlightenment is to use Psychedelics. Though consumption of the Psychedelic drugs such as mushrooms, LSD or marijuana is considered taboo in different cultures these drugs have been a source to achieve spiritual enlightenment throughout the human history. These drugs have a different kind of effect on your brain such as mushrooms are and LSD can induce various mental and visual hallucinations while marijuana can help you calm yourself and will give you a sense of time dilation.
People might fear the side effects and the overdose of the psychedelics but in reality, their side effects are yet to be determined, and you will have to consume the huge amount of drugs to overdose on them.
Hindu Pundits and Sufis (Mystics) in Asia widely consume Marijuana for spiritual enlightenment. Similarly, Other Psychedelic drugs are used by different people throughout the world to experience a mind trip to achieve spiritual enlightenment.
To understand more about Entheogenic use of cannabis plant, read this Wikipedia page.
We have listed a few different ways to help you achieve spiritual enlightenment, though you may or may not acquire spiritual awakening by following these methods as it is an experience and everyone achieves it differently. That being said, we do encourage you to explore other resources.
We would love to hear from you the different steps you have explored to achieve spiritual enlightenment. Please share in the comments section below.