What is it like to be enlightened

Spiritual enlightenment doesn't make you a saint 24/7. It's still possible to be triggered and to trigger others through casual misunderstandings. Enlightenment is a process of continuously noticing and addressing the causes of suffering as they arise.


Certainly monks and nuns who practice constantly have the best chance of non-reaction and responding most appropriately to all the slings and arrows they may encounter, however those who devote their life entirely to the spiritual path may enjoy a bit of shelter from the constant onslaught of insults. Householders who embark on a spiritual path have it harder in some ways. It's easy to be free of road rage when one is not called upon to do the driving. Finding yourself caught up in a firestorm of online hate after a simple comment rarely happens to those who are not engaged in the community.


So how is it that the ordinary person might experience what it is to be enlightened? Mindfulness. Are you aware of your awareness? Are you able to be in choice right now about your feelings?


Spiritual enlightenment is less like switching on a light, and more like the transition of dawn on a summer's morn. The first rays of sunlight cresting in the east lend significantly more illumination to the landscape than the depths of a moonless night, but the glare of high-noon is still yet to come. To one at the relative lightness of mid-morning, anyone who's spirituality is only dawning may appear dim, toxic, and volatile, but don't fall into the trap of judging them. Those feelings of moral superiority are within the ego, so you may still have some clouds of your own yet to burn off.


What it looks like for a householder to be enlightened is to be on the path to non-reaction. When an enlightened being finds their ego injured by some slight or difference of opinion, they retain the ability to notice and hold their injured ego with compassion. Soon you may find the space between trigger and reaction lengthen and the ability to choose a kind response emerges.


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