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Happy, Relaxed, or Knowledgeable: Which One Leads to Enlightenment?

Updated on November 6, 2017
ValKaras profile image

Val is a life-long student of psycho-philosophy of living, and a devoted practitioner of many techniques enhancing personal evolution.

Not to Be Learned  -  Simply Experienced
Not to Be Learned - Simply Experienced

A Busy Traffic on the Wrong Road to Enlightenment

Those folks aspiring to attain some version of enlightenment are bound to get confused over the technicalities of mental tools needed for that noble undertaking. Namely, some will tend to amass an impressive fund of information, somehow hoping that "knowing" a right direction will suffice.

Yet others may seek a right role model to follow, believing that if they duplicate his path, everything else may naturally fall in its place and they will be just as enlightened as their guru is promising with his example.

Certain others see the end of their tunnel of suffering in a metaphorical shape of a relaxing person, expecting to see the best of the worlds once when they succeed to totally relax, free from the burdens imposed by stress.

And the last, but not the least seem to be those aspirants aiming at a financial security, while believing that removing those money concerns will automatically pave their path with daisies and roses, as nothing of the mundane nature will pose as an obstacle to their spiritual advancement.

Each of those choices seems to take happiness for granted as a side effect that must follow naturally once when they are implementing their method. In reality, none of those approaches would be necessary if happiness was the main course on their daily mental menu. As we are about to see, happiness - when understood correctly - is the synonym of their pursued enlightenment.

Those Old-Looking Books Only Mean That They Have Changed Many Hands  -  Not That They Have Something to Offer
Those Old-Looking Books Only Mean That They Have Changed Many Hands - Not That They Have Something to Offer

Being Smart about It - Isn't "It"

So, what is enlightenment really? It may become somewhat better understood as we progress into the whole matter of it, but for the time being suffice it to say that word within the word is hinting at a "light", or awareness of the spirit dominating in our hierarchy of mental forces.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: "Nothing succeeds like success", and I believe he meant that only diving into the end result brings about success - not a protocol of various techniques towards those desired ends. While exceptions may be those undertakings where technical know-how would be a must, enlightenment is a merely a state of mind attainable without any preparations.

Thus all that getting smart about it may be nothing more than another intellectual adventure satisfying the mind's appetites for complicating matters. There is a garden variety of gurus available on the culture market to help us in this practice of intellectually beating around the bush and merely making us capable of yapping about it with phrases of "higher learning", while slightly disturbing that emotional crap in ourselves and getting really nowhere close to enlightenment.

They remind me of certain famous personages in the field of mental health like Sigmund Freud, the alleged "father" of psychoanalysis - who needed it more than his patients, but couldn't use it for the simple reason that his theorizing had no practical value.

Or his one time co-worker in the field Carl Jung, who was for the good part of his shiny career contemplating suicide. Thus, what was all that elegant theorizing good for, if neither of those gentlemen and scholars moved one bit from their own troublesome emotionality, while merely experimenting on all those poor messed up souls.

Enlightenment Is about Welcoming, Not Running Away From
Enlightenment Is about Welcoming, Not Running Away From

Letting Go - Merely a Sort of Sedation from Stress

Relaxation, while it may hint at a visible display of happiness - is not happiness. Namely, once that we are happy relaxation will surely follow, but it doesn't work in the reverse order. You see, relaxing automatically contain that what we are relaxing "from", and which is not a part of genuine happiness.

Thus relaxing could also be seen as "sedation", with an escapist attitude of running away from what bothers us - not experiencing the joy that would be void of a need to "fix" anything. Not being unhappy doesn't automatically mean happiness.

That's where a great majority of folks make a huge mistake as they are applying the logic of elimination. "I'll be happy once that the house is paid off...I'll be happy when kids grow up and leave, which will give me time to devote myself to myself...I'll be happy when she says Yes...I'll be happy when my candidate wins the election"...etc.

Indeed, relaxing a problem away doesn't bring us any closer to genuine happiness meaning enlightenment. For, enlightenment has nothing to do with circumstances, but is a special organization within mental forces, not an echo of reaching some favorable outcomes in life.

For the lack of a better word, we often mistake children's joyful disposition for "happiness". Children are not happy, they are explosively excited, like we are when we win on lottery. Happiness is that profound mix of wisdom and a genuine heart's content, when we truly feel at home in our own skin - not wanting to be anybody else, or being anywhere else.

Crowned by wisdom, that state also means a divinely awakened sense of our god-like essence, a personalized spin-off from universal intelligence. And yet, no words can really give it a justice with a proper definition, since happiness is an experience, not a logical item explainable in a manual with all instructions lined down.

However, there are human exceptions of those who already carry a seed of enlightenment in their soul, and a little push of an inspiration puts them into that frame of mind. For those I am basically writing this article. I am talking about those folks who may be absorbed by the beauty of a sunset over the ocean and experience an epiphany - as opposed to other tourists to whom that sunset means the time for their evening martini and exploring the chances of getting laid.

In other words, they are looking for ways to relax, and again, relaxation doesn't spell happiness. No matter how otherwise beneficial relaxation may be, it's temporary, while happiness stays with us. Just like love can lead to sex, but sex doesn't lead to love.

In the World's Gallery of Faces They Are the Least Recognizable
In the World's Gallery of Faces They Are the Least Recognizable

Would You Recognize an Enlightened Dude?

People tend to envision some fireworks of vitality and a glow of pure joy emanating from an enlightened person. However, unless you are mentally on the same page with that person, you won't recognize it there. There is something almost telepathic in the exchange of energies between two enlightened humans. To everyone else they may look pretty ordinary.

It's only the front of those gurus who have to advertise their craft by appearing "holy" of a sort. By a strange paradox, those from whom you could really learn something never bothered to make a big splash and a name for themselves on the spiritual vanity fair. They simply don't need it.

Appearance is usually an important item to those who tend to observe others' behavior or mind-style by cataloging them. Meaning that they already have a list of labels to pin one on you, so that they "know" whom they are dealing with. The phrase is : "Knowing where you are coming from".

So they need a charade of a "spirited behavior" in order to buy the person's "enlightenment". Which always reminds me of the old Latin proverb that I mention from time to time: "Si duo faciunt idem - non est idem" (If two do the same - is not the same"). An enlightened dude or dudesse may act very casually, very similar to anyone else within the range of "normality", and they don't need to feed their ego by impressing you.

Some Things Bigger Than Life Seem Impossible to Decode
Some Things Bigger Than Life Seem Impossible to Decode

If There Was an Instruction Manual...

Finally, let's see how enlightenment gets achieved by following the mentioned Emerson's quotation - "Nothing succeeds like success". Obviously, we have to assume that we already are "there". What is usually called the "path of enlightenment" doesn't mean the path "to" it, but the path of its refinement and advancement.

So, don't try to "become" enlightened, assume that you already are, by experiencing that "orgasmic spirituality", that unutterable harmony and ease flooding your personal space. And when doubt pops up - which it will - shower it with love; and when it doesn't seem "enough", love that lack of it; and persist riding on the crest of your imperfections like a skilled surfer manages to stay afloat - on that board of love and without sinking into your lower self. Experience that "high" no matter what.

Now, don't jump to wrong ideas about enlightenment meaning a "constant" state of bliss. It goes like this when expressed by numbers:

Suppose that your usual "emotional climate" is within a range between -20 and +5. That 5 is not producing energy frequencies that would allow the state of happiness or enlightenment. So what do you do? You practice feeling +50, so that your emotional climate changes to the range of -5 and +20.

Unlike the global "climate change" that is a hoax after all, this one is quite possible. If you interpreted the above numbers right, the idea is not that we stay in that "high" and go through the rest of our life with an idiotic grin on our face, but - it's all a matter of intensity of feeling bad.

Namely, we preserve the whole human specter of emoting, but we minimize those lousy emotions to a point where they don't mean much, don't interfere with our positivistic outlook, and don't make us take wrong steps in life.

In terms of energy frequencies, we starve our vulnerable ego to death when we don't vibrate in its low frequencies. Everything changes in our intimate reality, but funny thing is that we don't even know that there has been any change - because we equally used to identify with the previous one as we are with this new one. We feel quite comfortable in our enlightened beingness, as if we have from ever been this way.

Unlike the previous style of introspection where we had that standard of comparison between good and bad emoting - now we don't have much to compare, because we don't need it anymore for that inner struggle for equilibrium. When you feel quite fine even with small momentary spikes of displeasure - you are a happy camper, or an enlightened one.

Interestingly, wisdom doesn't come "before" enlightenment, but as an intellectual echo of it. Scientists are telling us that our heart generates "hundred times" stronger electromagnetic field than our brain does. So it stands to reason that enlightenment is not an exception, as it spreads its high harmony to our minds, harmonizing everything there as well. Then your body follows the pattern. Like someone said: "When you are happy, your big toe is happy."

Which should remind us of that earlier mentioned fact that we can't do it in a reverse order - by stuffing our minds with "higher knowledge" in order to get to enlightenment.

Ultimately, enlightenment is an experience, and as such it can only be generated in our hearts, not in our minds. By writing this article I was not ambitious to provide a "manual" for achieving it. But, for those few of you with a predisposition to have that mentioned epiphany at a sunset over the ocean - who knows what little push may hide somewhere between the lines of this modest literary attempt.

If you are one of them - don't thank me, thank yourself for recognizing it there.


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    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 13 months ago from Canada

      Audrey - It's such a pleasure to hear from spirited people like you, with your cultivated talent to help people express their hearts through singing. I am wishing you to discover even more of that fine human being that you are. All the best in 2017! - Your friend Val

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 13 months ago from Canada

      Gilbert - Yes, balance is often that missing ingredient in life; but, just like you say, a loving heart has a way of taking care of it.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 13 months ago from Nashville Tn.

      I want to be all that I can be ... to grow, explore and experience. You've touched on this and I thank you for your thoughts. Happy New Year Vladimir!

    • rebelogilbert profile image

      Gilbert Arevalo 13 months ago from Hacienda Heights, California

      It's important to lead a balanced life. Hard work, relaxation, self-taught knowledge and knowledge we learn from others is important. Like you say, loving from the heart is the most important emotion we can experience.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 13 months ago from Canada

      Happylovejoy - Great comment, indeed. In my view, acceptance is good as a "side-technique", useful for furnishing an inner environment resilient to stressors. If we stay at that phase, we tend to grow into a spiritual passivity, because there is no element of growth, of dream, of inspiration, of the next step into the unknown of our advancement.

      I hope you understand what I mean. The idea of enlightenment is not in creating a comfort zone where we are protected in a cocoon of accepting, but in outgrowing ourselves, in exploring what else we can possibly be, what new patterns of experiencing we can cultivate.

      So, stress is out of the picture, and the attitude of happiness is there to provide frequencies that resonate with that higher sense of harmony in our mind - so that heart and mind in a tandem spell enlightened state.

      Again, acceptance is great, as long as we don't stay at that defensive stage but allow ourselves to have a dream. You know: "Dreams die first - then we die".

    • Happylovejoy profile image

      Kawai 13 months ago from Singapore

      Very interesting and deep view on enlightenment. I personally think enlightenment is a form of acceptance - accepting what is happening right now, not worrying about things that you have no control of or have solutions for, acceptance of the present (something like mindfulness). If we can control how we think and respond, positive feelings will follow suit. This thinking process has helped me a lot in my struggles.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 13 months ago from Oklahoma

      Always an interesting perspective.