What is enlightenment? The word ”religion” originally means ”to return to the source”. It means to rediscover the contact with our inner being, with the source of life within ourselves. The deepest pain in our heart is that we are disconnected from our inner being, we are separated from life. The deepest thirst and longing in our heart is to return to our being, where we are one with life.
Whatever Happened to Personal Growth, Meditation and Enlightenment?
Over the last fifty years, we have seen a widespread interest in ideas of self-development drawn from Western psychology. Not all of the practices that evolved from these ideas have been effective, but then it is hard to quantify or measure individual or collective growth and development in this field. The contemporary exploration of the inner world has been championed and derided, met with enthusiastic advocates and equally passionate detractors. Have the Western attempts at self-awareness and raising consciousness failed or is the evolution of collective human consciousness underway? First, let us look back in summary.
The Promise of the Human Potential Movement
In the 1970s, therapy and personal growth were in their bright infancy. The idea of freeing oneself by expressing repressed emotions and shedding conditioned behavior patterns was exciting and liberating. The counter culture – the sexual revolution, recreational drug-taking and ‘progressive’ pop music, all mixed with Eastern mysticism – had promised a lot and fallen short of its dream. Personal growth seemed to be the flowering of that cultural upheaval, the fulfillment of the dream, the keeping of the promise.
The new therapies, collectively known as the Human Potential Movement or simply, the growth movement, proposed a new paradigm of individual well-being and collective consciousness-raising. They elevated therapy above the traditional psychoanalytic concern with mental illness. Not only the casualties of society, but everyone, could benefit. The growth movement promised a glorious world of vibrant, unselfconscious, self-regulating people motivated towards change and self-transformation.
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