A Voice in the Wilderness
WHAT IS REQUIRED TO ACHIEVE
PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION OR ‘ENLIGHTENMENT’?
Editor’s Note: For the next several months this space will be used to explore — one-by-one — the messages, metaphysical principles, and spiritual meaning of the material found in the nearly 3,000 pages of the Conversations with God dialogues. This series of observations and interpretations is offered with my continuing disclaimer: I could be wrong about all of this.
CWG Explored/Installment #5: What causes transformation?
Much has been made in the New Thought Movement of the word “transformation.” It has been said repeatedly in New Age circles that personal transformation is the ultimate goal in life. Yet what is “personal transformation,” and how does one achieve it?
This is not always addressed in specific terms within the community of New Spirituality authors, teachers, and messengers — who tend to speak in broad general terms, such as “higher consciousness,” or “awareness.”
I’m going to go out on a limb here and declare that in my own inner world — which has largely been created by the Conversations with God experience — the term “personal transformation” means the changing of one’s identity, or the embracing of a “new thought” about oneself, seeing oneself from this moment on as One with, and an expression of, God.
It is in this context that I have called myself, and every human being, a Singularization of The Singularity, or an Individuation of Divinity.
I have held the thought that a person who walks through the world holding the Identity of Divinity deep within changes the exterior experience of everyone else everywhere she or he steps, every room he or she enters, every space she or he occupies.
In my last entry here I said that if our entire species walked through this world holding such an identity deep within, it would produce Heaven on Earth.
The question is, what could cause our entire species to do so? Perhaps more to the point, what does it take to be “transformed” — or, as some have labeled it, “enlightened”?
So let’s look at that here. Let’s discuss this elusive magical mystical experience for which so many seem to be searching.
I’ll begin by observing that there is a pitfall here, and even a danger. The danger is two-fold. The first danger is thinking that there is something specific that you have to do in order to be Enlightened, and that if you don’t do it, you can’t be it. The second danger is thinking that there is only one best way.
Werner Erhard created Erhard Seminar Trainings (est) about 25 years ago or so, and the people who were involved in it were absolutely convinced that this was the fastest way to enlightenment. They began recruiting people to take est, and it was almost an urgent matter with them. And if you didn’t get the urgency, they would look at you and say, “You just don’t get it.”
I enrolled in the est program and I “got it.” In fact, I became so enlightened that I realized I did not need est to be enlightened – which really upset the est people, because they wanted me to take the next level and the next level of the training.
est was a program with multitudinous levels. Once you got into the program you had to almost extract yourself from it. And if you did get out of it, you were made to feel by those who were still inside it that you had done something desperately sad. Not wrong, just very sad. Because you just didn’t get it.
Many years ago Paramahansa Yogananda came to America with a technique for “self-realization,” which was his phrase meaning “enlightenment.” When you realize the Self, he said, you are more aware. You are more at peace with the world. You are internally serene, content, and able to experience Divine Presence in you, as you.
Now I want you to understand that I am not putting this down or belittling any of this. This is all very real, and that is why every person who has ever achieved mastery has wanted to share it with others. Human beings who are truly enlightened, truly aware (and there are many of them), experience at a deep level that most of us are operating from a place of pain, extreme suffering, emotional turmoil, physical dis-ease, and are, as a result, creating an entire world like that. Yet Masters know that none of this is necessary. You can overcome it, create yourself and your world in a new way. But first, you have to know Who You Are.
Paramahansa Yogananda knew who he was. He described himself as being enlightened. And he was enlightened. He was enlightened because he said he was.
Yes, I hate to break the spell, but to be enlightened is to say that you are. It is as simple as that.
A fascinating man named Maharishi surfaced a few of decades ago and he announced yet another path to enlightenment. His path was called Transcendental Meditation or, for short, TM.
Now, I learned a little about Transcendental Meditation and I learned it from students who learned it from other students who learned it from other students who learned it from the Master. And there is some sense of quiet urgency with some people in the transcendental meditation movement, because they will tell you that TM is a tool that can bring you to enlightenment in a very short period of time – and they want that for you.
There are many other programs as well. Many approaches, many paths, developed by many Masters. There is Dahn Hak and there is the Avatar Training and there is Lifespring and the list goes on and on. Which path, then, should we take?
God says, “No one calls to Me who is not answered.” The promise here is that each of us will be answered in the way that most effectively responds to the vibration we hold and create and carry in the center of our being.
Many people are inspired to this day by the man known as Buddha, and so have become Buddhists. It is, perhaps, good to tell the whole story of Buddha.
His name was Siddhartha Gautama. His father was the ruler of a large area who wanted to protect Siddhartha from any knowledge of the outside world. Siddhartha was kept on the grounds of the family compound, but one day he ventured beyond the walls because he wished to learn more of life. He gave up his riches and his whole family, left his wife and children and disappeared, to embark on his search for what was true.
Immediately he encountered people who were enduring much suffering. There was poverty. There was disease. There was cruelty. Siddhartha was stunned, and he knew, he just knew, that life was not meant to be like that. But what, then, was the truth? What was the path?
“What can I do?” he asked himself, and he underwent a series of extreme physical and mental disciplines of every imaginable sort, including fasting and prostration and self-denial. This went on for years. He sought out Masters and did as they told him. Yet nothing brought him the experience of enlightenment. It only brought him an arduous life and an emaciated body.
One day Siddhartha Gautama said, “I’ve tried everything. I’ve done all the physical disciplines, all the trainings, all the exercise, all the starvation, all the diets, all the fasting, and all the meditation. Now I’m just going to sit here beneath this tree and I’m not getting up until I’m enlightened.”
And there he sat, doing nothing. No exercises, no meditations, no fasting, no nothing. Now that is hard for many of us to do, because we think there is something we are suppose to be doing in order to be enlightened.
Suddenly Siddhartha said with a start: “I’m enlightened.” And people came to him and cried out, “What did you do? What did you do? Teach us, Master! You have become the Buddha, the Enlightened One. What is the secret? What did you do?”
And the Buddha said something quite extraordinary: “There is nothing that you have to be, do, or have.”
Imagine. After all that time. After the life he had lived and all that he did and saw. After all the luxury and then all the self-denial, after wearing a silk shirt and then a hair-shirt, after thoroughly satisfying his body and then starving his body, after no spiritual or physical discipline and then tons of discipline…after all that time, he realized it was not about doing or having anything and it was not about not doing or having anything. It was about the middle way.
It was about just living life, non-attached to anything in particular. Not attached to your luxuries and joys, and not attached to your poverty and tragedies. It was not about any of that. It can be if you want it to be. It can be if that is what suits you. It can be if that is your path, but it is not necessary to be, do, or have anything in particular.
The Buddha said, in effect, “I’m enlightened because I have realized that enlightenment is knowing that there is nothing you have to do to be enlightened.”
Isn’t that interesting? Think of all the effort that people are putting in, with years-long programs and trainings, only to find out that enlightenment requires nothing at all! You were “enlightened” when you came here, because you were Who You Were.
You were, are, always have been, and always will be, Divinity Expressed. You are Divine, and you simply don’t know it. Or don’t believe it. Or have forgotten it. Enlightenment is about remembering, declaring, expressing and experiencing Who You Really Are. That’s all that any spiritual master has ever done. Think of any spiritual master you wish to think of. That’s all that any one of them has ever done.
So if you think there is a Path to Enlightenment that is the only path, the best path, the fastest path, you may suddenly find yourself feeling pressure, stress, a false urgency, even upset, and your ego may become deeply involved in convincing as many people as you can that the path you have found is the path they just have to experience.
Suddenly you will start acting not like a master at all, but like someone who is under a terrific amount of pressure and stress, because it will suddenly matter to you whether I “get” what you are trying to tell me.
If you are not careful, you even start having quotas or goals. You’ll have to get a certain number of other people to agree with you every week, or every month, or every year. And if you don’t meet those goals you will think that you have not done a good job.
And yet enlightenment, when it is all said and done, has nothing to do with what you do with your Body or your Mind. It has to do with what you do with your Soul. If you learn to love yourself and everyone else, and life itself, unconditionally, you will be “aware,” you will have reached “higher consciousness,” you will be “enlightened.”
In short, you will be transformed. You will be acting as The Divine. Because Divinity, in a word, is Love. Love without restriction, love without limitation, love without condition.
So this moment is the moment of your liberation. You can be liberated from your life-long search for enlightenment. You can be released from any thought that it has to look like this…no, no, it has to look like that…no, no, you have to get to it by this path, by that program, by the other process or activity.
You may still do those things if you choose to, but if you feel stressed about them, if you feel pressured by them, then how could they be a path to enlightenment?
So set yourself free today. Stop working so hard on yourself that you don’t even enjoy life anymore. Do what works for you, but make sure it brings you joy and harms neither yourself nor another. Enlightenment is enJOYment. It is the pouring of joy into Life.
Now here is one thing that I know will bring you joy. Spend the rest of your life giving people back to themselves, that they might love themselves, and know that there is nothing they are lacking, nothing they are missing, nothing they need, nothing they are not.
A sure way for you to experience that you are enlightened is to cause others to know that they are. That is the message and that will be the teaching of the New Spirituality. That is why Namaste’ has become such a powerful, such a meaningful and special, exchange of energy:
“The God in me sees the God in you.”
There’s nothing more to be done if we really mean that. Of course, if we are saying it because it sounds good, then there is a great deal more to be done. But if, when we say this, we really mean it…then the struggle is finished, the search is over, and enlightenment, transformation, is ours at last.