How to Attain Enlightenment

Spiritual Enlightenment

Meditation For Enlightenment

Can enlightenment be attained?  Is there something that can be done to bring it about or are you altogether at the mercy of chance and luck?  Do you simply set the stage and wait, or can you be more proactive? In fact, can you be proactive to the point of actually bringing it about?  I think the answer is probably going to surprise some of you.  The answer is both.

I know I have myself mentioned that mostly enlightenment experiences are not in your hands and that they are a gift for living a particular way, with certain energy, awareness and intelligence, but, in this article I want to speak of what you can actually do to bring about enlightenment, first hand, consciously.

This type of enlightenment I refer to as "Direct Enlightenment", versus the enlightenment that takes place unannounced and mostly on it’s own, which I refer to as "Indirect Enlightenment".  Examples of indirect enlightenment are the openings that take place when you are deep in meditation, silently watching your breath, or are practicing some pranayama, koan, mindfulness or other such technique. 

Direct enlightenment though is when you consciously bring about the explosion of insight and the ensuing state of enlightenment follows.  Let me explain by giving you an example of my own experience with this approach.

An Enlightened Day – Spontaneous Living

This event took place at my parents home many years back, but the enormity of the experience makes it an unforgettable part of my life.  Here is how it transpired.

I was alone upstairs in the guest room (which has since become the computer room after the internet took over our lives :-), contemplating what J. Krishnamurti spoke of with regard to ideals and that our actions are based on these "shoulds".  In other words, we act based on what we feel we should do, in the hopes of achieving something by such action.  For example, "I should watch my thoughts", that will help me attain enlightenment, or "I should let go", "I should be aware", etc. etc.  If you examine your thoughts carefully, you will see that you are constantly operating under the authority of "shoulds", chasing goals.  Here is more about what that means.

To be operating under the authority of "shoulds", means to always be caught in psychological time and caught in the process of becoming.  It is really important to understand this very clearly.  When we act according to what we "should" be doing, we are acting with a goal state in mind.  Like the example above, when we say "I should watch my thoughts," I have the future state of being enlightened in mind and am hoping to achieve that.  So I am currently not enlightened, but by "watching my thoughts", I will become enlightened.  This process of "becoming" is infused into every aspect of your life.  I am violent, I will become non-violent, I am selfish, I will become unselfish, etc.  The battle between "what is" and "what should be" rages incessantly.

As I was contemplating this topic, it occurred to me that this process was actually underway at this very moment in my mind and I could observe it "live" right then and see it action.  So I closed my eyes, put my head down and decided that I would like to see this in actuality, instead of just intellectually.  I was absolutely determined to make this happen right then and there.  The demand was urgent, uncompromising and intense.

I focused all my energy on watching the fact that shoulds mean I am caught in the process of becoming.  I looked very very carefully at this happening in real time.   The mind, in pursuit of a goal, determining what should be done next, repeatedly.  I examined and perceived this fact in every movement of the mind.  This is when the explosion took place.  The mind realized that any movement on its part was just the continuation of more of the same.  That all it could do was present another goal and thus perpetuate the endless cycle of becoming.  The clear and complete perception of this fact obliterated the entire process.  Becoming ceased.

I felt a tremendous release take place in the stomach, as all tension evaporated and the actuality of happiness took it’s place.  It is then that I realized that the tension was always there and that we have taken it to be the "normal" state, when in fact it is actually constant stress and suffering.  The mind completely stopped presenting any "shoulds", and all action became spontaneous responses to the moment.  It was unbelievable.

I recall heading downstairs, pure happiness in my belly, mind free of any trace of becoming, but nonetheless fully functional and outwardly completely normal.  I interacted with my parents and even worked on problem solving with my father who was working on fixing some electronic device.  The mind functioned perfectly fine, it’s just there was no inward attempt to pursue any future state whatsoever.  This state of pure spontaneous living, free of all ideals and the actuality of happiness continued throughout the day.

Direct Enlightenment:

This is an example of direct enlightenment and what sets it apart from indirect enlightenment are the following three aspects…

1. You apply yourself intensely with the aim of enlightenment.

2. You bring about the explosion of insight via the application of acute intelligence and swift awareness.

3. The enlightenment state descends directly as a result of the insight which shatters the time bound, desire driven thinking process.

The process I described above eventually matured into what I call now the Silent Mind Meditation Technique and I describe the technique in the following article, Silent Mind Meditations.  In that article you will also find a more through analysis on what I was explaining above with regard to "shoulds" and the process of becoming as well.

Frankly I have not met many people who can do this type of meditation and bring about this cessation of the mind or dissolution of the ordinary time bound, goal oriented thinking process, but, from all the meditation techniques on this website, if there was one I would want you to grasp this would be it.  This technique is not easy, but it is the one that puts enlightenment in your hands.

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21 Responses to “How to Attain Enlightenment”

  1. 1
    axel g Says:

    Beautiful post!

    As a novice, I meditated for hours on end. I was after deep concentration and tried so hard until the shoulders started to ache.

    The beauty of relaxed attention, or shall I call it relaxed awareness, must be experienced. It’s very soothing and it’s as easy as it’s natural.

    A still mind is a beautiful thing but enlightenment is a big word. Perhaps presence sums up what I’m trying to point to…

  2. 2
    Anmol Mehta Says:

    Hey Alex,

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your knowledge and experience with us. A still mind is really the name of the game :-D.

    Cheers,
    Anmol

  3. 3
    Ann McCarthy Says:

    I believe the process of becoming is what it is all about.
    Just imagine you are planning a holiday for next year. You read the brochures and all of a sudden you long for it so much it hurts. You want instant gratification but know you can’t and this is painful. You plan what you will do on your holiday and think about what you “should” be doing to make it more pleasurable and perhaps bring the date forward. You know that if you did this or that – well maybe.
    Then you stop and realize that the best part of the experience is the waiting and the planning. You then are able to enjoy the little insights you have of enjoyment and know that it will be all you hoped it will be. Instead of simply longing for the time to come you are able to stay in the moment and enjoy, for the process of it happening is what it is all about. You know longer have to stress and plan each moment for you know all will happen in good time. You are at peace with where you are and where you are going.
    Ann

  4. 4
    Anmol Mehta Says:

    Hi Ann,

    I think you just described how to move from the process of becoming, to the process of just being in the moment. Perhaps our difference was just in how we looked to define the “being at peace with where you are are”, and leaving the rest to work itself out “in good time”.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Best,
    Anmol

  5. 5
    Lisa Says:

    Anmol,

    Once again I find myself spending lots of time reading post after post on your site. Thank you for making this one of the best sites out there.

    Lisa

  6. 6
    Anmol Mehta Says:

    Hi Lisa,

    That’s music to my ears :-D. Thanks for such positive feedback.

    Cheers,
    Anmol

  7. 7
    dan Says:

    hi anmol
    can i obtain enlightenemnt in this life?
    what are your comments on Merkaba?

  8. 8
    Anmol Mehta Says:

    Hi Dan,

    The moment you drop all seeking, you will realize you were always enlightened.

    I am not too familiar with Merkaba techniques.

    Best,
    Anmol

  9. 9
    sukhas Says:

    hi,
    my mother passed away couple of days back quite unexpectedly. I am not still able to come to the terms that she is no more. i spoke to her at 9 am and she left this world around 12. I really dont know how i am going to live now… i feel totally deserted and lonely….any one can help me???
    sukhas

  10. 10
    Anmol Mehta Says:

    Dear Sukhas,

    I am very very sorry to hear of your loss. I do not if my words will help you in such difficult times but I would like to offer you another way of looking at the situation.

    In reality, there is just Oneness and where it now appears that your mother has left you is just in the how we see things with our ordinary minds. So remind yourself that although the body is no more, she could not have left you as this sense of separate existence is not the true nature of things.

    We are all there with you and all there for you during this time, so please don’t feel alone.

    Love & Light,
    Anmol

  11. 11
    Mahesh Says:

    Dear all,

    I got read some books regarding enlightment. Now I feel same like Anmol. I did not do even a continous meditation. I got kundaline presure in my spine too. I got only love, all other are same like before. Happiness but no reason. I have told to my wife.

    you know, I feel more happy and i never felt before. Nothing thats it.

  12. 12
    Anmol Mehta Says:

    Dear Mahesh,

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. Great to hear your inner world opening up.

    Best,
    Anmol

  13. 13
    Best Mind Meditation | Most Advanced Meditation Technique Says:

    [...] The Silent Mind Meditation Technique is part of the overall Silent Mind Meditation Program, which has received stellar feedback by those of you with the passion and persistence to complete it.  This meditation though can certainly be practiced independently and can be integrated into any personal meditation program.  This is the meditation technique I practice till today.  It is the only direct approach to Enlightenment, explained in How to Attain Enlightenment.  When I wish for an indirect technique, the other mind meditation technique I practice is the Zen Meditation Technique or Zazen. [...]

  14. 14
    zend Says:

    Meditation is the awareness that is in the daily life…
    say u c a painting and recognize a million hues…
    listen to water thats guzzling in a stream…air that blows thru the windows…sound that created when trees move by the force of wind….space b/w tick of a clock , perfume that air carries…the feel of fresh air that u breathe so on…sounds that u r heard of when u still can’t speak(childhood) ,the scenery of a building / work place as a whole u haven’t noticed(a Head’s Up view). If u r aware then ur meditating.

  15. 15
    Overcoming the Fear of Death - Krishnamurti on Death Says:

    [...] Overcoming the Fear of Death – My Thoughts: So the last paragraph is the experiment I want to you try for 1 full day.  Here are 3 things you should try to do during this day.   1. STOP WORRYING ABOUT EVERYTHING:   This is the key.  Just stop worrying… completely.  Don’t worry about anything. Drop all your worrying, fretting and obsessing about the future and past.  Leave everything to life and put yourself in her care.  Just tell yourself whatever issues come up in the future, you will deal with them then.   Worrying is not just a huge waste of precious energy, it is the also one of the activities that binds you to psychological time and prevents you from cherishing the moments of your life.  Worrying creates other problems as well, such as stress, suffering and fear, so just for this one day let it all go and live without any worry to see what happens.  I assure you it will be quite a liberating experience.   Here is an article and Zen story that delves deeper into the concept of time and living in the moment more: The Zen of Time Management.   2. GO WITH THE FLOW:   Throughout this one day experiment, go with the flow of life completely.  Just doing what needs to be done and allowing life to carry you forward.  Don’t try to control or manipulate the day, just relax and go with it.  Do the task that is presented to you and just let yourself be simple and spontaneous.   Here are 2 articles that expands on this topic:  Embrace Reality and Let the Universe Fulfill Your Desires and Zen Definition of Enlightenment.   3. DROP YOUR SELF-IMAGE:   For this one day, don’t try to live according your who you think you are.  Don’t be anything at all, in fact just be nobody.  Drop all that you know about yourself and just be empty, letting your natural personality and self come through.  Don’t try to live according to all the beliefs and ideas you have been conditioned with, instead drop them all and just live innocently from moment to moment.   For those interested, here is an Advaita Vedanta technique with which to shatter the false sense of "I" and penetrate non-duality: Enlightenment via Advaita Vedanta "Who Am I" Neti Neti Meditation.   Overcoming the Fear of Death – Summary:   The object of this experiment is to completely break away from the past and future.  Dropping all that you know and all that you are trying to become.  This is the art of dying while still living.  This is how to be free of the fear of death.  This is the way to the Now – into the unkown, where resides Truth and God.  So for this 1 day I want you to experience what that is like, and it may very well lead you to living everyday just like that :-).   Here is an article on advanced insight meditation, which challenges the fiction of psychological time and helps you break free from it instantly and explosively:  How to Attain Enlightenment.  Subscribe to Mastery of Meditation for Free [...]

  16. 16
    Prahlad Yeri Says:

    An excellent article. I regularly practice meditation and really appreciate the most filtered and pleasant state of mind that you get into when the thoughts run their course. However, the generation of unwanted thoughts itself need to be stopped or controlled by will, in order to achieve the ultimate goal of enlightenment. The generation, in turn, depends on our samskaras/impressions, that are a result of several millenia of lifetimes, binding us to this earthly plane. Maybe, apart from doing meditation, we should be ready to receive enlightenment. The nectar is given only when we are ready to swallow and digest it.

  17. 17
    yoga holidays Says:

    Meditation indeed enlightens a person. thanks for a very enlightening article

  18. 18
    Koolikahn Says:

    Hey, I thought you would be glad to know that I did achieve some level of enlightenment after reading your words. I had an intense desire to know the truth. And with your description I ‘sank in’ and started to laugh at my own thoughts.

    I asked myself ‘am I enlightened?’

    It was continuous joke! I decided to come back to the delusion of thought. After knowing the truth. My ego told me I needed to support myself. It was kinda like a job interview.

    Have a good one!

  19. 19
    daz Says:

    This is good news for someone when this occurs.

    But the key to complete understanding – is in realizing that it ‘occurs.’ This means it begins and ends. It is a happening in awareness, but it’s passing as a ‘state’ means it is not ‘enlightenment.’ It is an awakening experience. ‘Enlightenment’ is not a state. It is a finality of comprehension of the nature of creation and your true nature as consciousness.

    ‘You’ never vanish. You do not come and go. The world, mind, personality etc., come and go. Experience, comes and goes – in your awareness.

    The true Self – has no issue with anything that happens, and is not opposed to the mind.

    Peace

  20. 20
    norid Says:

    Good for you that you said not that you attain samadhi.

  21. 21
    Ramzo Says:

    Yes I had many extremely blisfull experiences beyond mind, BUT Enlightement is permanent state, it is not becoming it is Being, you are that already, full aknowledgment of You are That is enlightement

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