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Enlightenment is a subject that one cannot dive into lightly. It has a very mystical and mysterious feeling about it to the average person. In fact, I hadn’t really considered the meaning as a yogi until writing this paper! I assumed that one needn’t worry about defining it because when it happened, I would know.
No matter where in Canada or the world you live – Vancouver, Bali, Thailand, Toronto, Hawaii, New Zealand, Sydney, Calgary, Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne – enlightenment can be de-mystified through the magic of language and be understood on some level in the intellect.
One of my favorite teachers, Sadhguru, explains enlightenment very well and in accordance to what I intuitively feel as well. He says enlightenment is an unblemished life. I understand this to be free of karma.
This means all of the good and bad karma we have attained freedom from it all. We live in perfect harmony and attain moksha (liberation). I must also include here a vital key to understanding freedom I learned from personal experience.
I have been diagnosed with bi-polar personality disorder. I had my first manic episode recently. I view this as liberation and enlightenment, but that I chose to be more grounded and stable (mundane).
I then walked myself into the hospital, I was required to stay against my will because I was frightening other people by singing, dancing, and not listening to rules. We were restricted to a lot of solitary confinement because of COVID.
I did a meditation retreat while I was in there and realized because I did not have the freedoms I once had, I also had so much decreased responsibility.
No longer was I responsible for cooking food or what food went into my body, or what I “did” that day or where I went. It made it possible to focus on spirituality so much more.
When I was released I vowed to take on the responsibility that is a free life. Because we have so much freedom here in the west, we have too in exact quantity, the same magnitude of responsibility.
Responsibility does not actually take away from the experience of freedom. Only by recognizing personal responsibility can one truly enjoy these freedoms, notice and care for the karma accumulated, feel the gravity/joy of situations, and hold properly one’s own personal power and will.
Love also pours forth out of taking responsibility for everything you can in life.
This is what Sadhguru talks about in his book Inner Engineering, but until I experienced the solitary confinement in the hospital for a week, I didn’t truly understand.
Through taking responsibility, one starts to untangle one’s karma. You can just learn that from doing yoga or yoga teacher training. The other key to enlightenment is clarity of seeing. Seeing the truth about things such as “daybreak” actually being night break.
This is a realization Sadhguru gives in one of his talks. Having the light shed on what to do and what not to do is a part of enlightenment too. This is the wisdom of discernment.
So enlightenment is freedom from one’s karma, but the path there requires taking responsibility, and seeing with the light (discernment).