What is Self Transcendence?
“The full delight of being is intrinsic, self-existent, automatic; it cannot be dependent on things outside itself. In the spiritual knowledge of self, the first step is the discovery of the soul, the secret entity, the divine element within us.” —Sri Aurobindo 19th century Indian philosopher on spiritual evolution
According to both ancient wisdom and recent scientific findings, there is a passageway into an extended awareness of our true nature. As you enter through this passageway, you lift the veil that shelters the inner realm in which your authentic being lives in a higher state of consciousness.
Are There Enlightenment Buttons in the Brain?
Enlightenment is a traditionally mystical and slippery concept. However, Andrew Newberg, M.D., conducted brain scans of people experiencing moments of awakening in a deep meditative state and found remarkable evidence that the brain behaves in extraordinary ways during these experiences.
In our previous blog about enlightenment, we talked about Newberg’s theory on the difference between big “E” Enlightenment and little “e” enlightenment. Newberg found that his subjects’ brain scans showed actual physical changes when they reported having enlightenment experiences.
Newberg found that those meditators having the “enlightenment experience” had the most intense sensations of lights, sounds, and colors they ever had.
During these experiences, the brain’s limbic system fires up. This is the part of the brain that processes emotion. The parietal lobe also fires up. This section of the brain organizes our sensory information, creating perceptions of time, space, and self.
When people experience “enlightenment,” they frequently report losing their sense of self, and scientific analysis confirms that brain activity is a driving cause of this altered state of consciousness.
“While enlightenment is typically associated with religious individuals like Mother Teresa or the Buddha, people from all walks of life can experience essence changing events, sometimes just walking down the street…
Perhaps, enlightenment experiences are like a pair of glasses. We are born into the world with bad vision until we experience corrective lenses. Whether these lenses are applied to our eyes or our brains may matter little…”— Andrew Newberg, M.D. Neurotheologist and bestselling author of 10 books, including How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain: The New Science of Transformation (2016)
What is Enlightenment?
Enlightenment is not a destination; it is an ever-changing, expanding inner state and a surrender. It is “a knowing” that we are all one. It is a deep connection with everyone and everything. One becomes free of fear, anxiety, sorrow, hatred, loneliness, inner conflicts, jealousy, envy, greed, possessiveness, competitiveness, and attachments. Enlightenment is transcendence from suffering. One becomes completely free from the sense of a separate self and connects with the True or Higher Self.
The enlightenment experience brings deep spiritual peace and wholeness. Wholeness is the state of being at peace, being taken care of, and healed from the inside out. You’re no longer victim to the things of your past. Wiped away are the stains of regret. The worries of the world have grown dim.
Wholeness is the essence of who you are. The reality is that you are and have always been whole—never separate, for there is no separation.
What is Spiritual Awakening?
Spiritual awakening is a shift in consciousness in which thinking and awareness begin to separate, moving away from the ego and into the spirit of your true self. You experience non-duality, no longer separate but one with all. You begin to have an awareness that there is just One Eternal Spirit in existence and that everything in the Universe is an inseparable part of it.
Spiritual awakening is not a single event but a process you undergo on your path toward enlightenment. Each shift leads to a higher vibrational frequency. Learn more in our blog post: Emotional Vibrational Frequency
Prepare to be Awakened
First, you need to prepare your body, mind, and spirit for the experience. This journey is a search for your inner truth. It is not about being perfect.
We are energetic beings, and sometimes energy gets trapped, making it necessary to clear it. Some things you can do to clear your energy is to:
Chakras are a channel for the way energy moves through the body. They are subtle energy fields spinning at different velocities like a vortex within the body and in the etheric field around the body. Chakra balancing is done by focusing on each chakra and imagining that they are spinning wheels of energy. Read more about the science of chakra balancing here.
Be in the Now
Practice focused attention. When you overthink the past and the future, it pulls your attention from “being in the now.” Living in the now leads to a state of awakened understanding. If you look at your life and deeply feel into it, you can sense a guiding principle behind it.
Everything is Impermanent
The nature of all things is indeed impermanent. It may seem paradoxical, but embracing impermanence can be a great gift. It can also be one of life’s great wake-up calls. No matter how we try to escape impermanence, we will eventually have to face it and be forced to deal with it. When losing a beloved possession, when losing a job, the end of a relationship, or the death of a loved one—can be a catalyst for a profound shift in perception and a transformation of our sense of self.
When you hold something with the full realization and acceptance of its impermanence, it becomes especially evident how precious it is. Impermanence is a gift.
Be in Alignment with the Flow of Life
This flow, or alignment, is a choice you make, and you can either hinder it or welcome it. When you live in alignment with the flow of life, fear, and worry drop away. Sure, there can be moments of fear or worry that come up, but you can quickly redirect yourself back into alignment again, and the fear is no longer there. Fear can no longer draw you in anymore. We find we are becoming less reactive when chaos in our life arises and feel more grounded and centered in our being.
When you are in flow, you are being true to yourself and expressing the Self that you actually are.
“As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love – even the most simple action.” ― Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
Know Your True Self
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” —Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, French idealist philosopher, and Jesuit Catholic priest
We enter this world ingrained with the wisdom of our infinite and spiritual nature―our true self. However, through conditioning and facing the challenges of life as it unfolds, we slowly forget who we are and how magnificent we really are. You could say that we get smaller, and begin believing that who we are or what we are made of is just a collection of the roles we play: our accomplishments and failures, the obstacles we need to overcome, the opinions we hold of ourselves, and the opinions others have of us.
What separates us from our infinite nature? The answer is thought—endless thoughts, many of them negative. We can choose to believe them—or not. Many choose to believe them. This fixation with our thoughts causes us to be lost in a trance most of our lives—not actually where we are in the present. We become distracted and disconnected from our senses. Our senses are the portal to our authentic self, our essential being, our spirit.
Coming into the body, feeling the breath, the sensations that are happening right now—this is our gateway into the present moment. This is how we can remember our true selves—the infinite presence that we intuitively know we are. Meditation and yoga are among the many techniques that can help open this portal to your authentic self.
Your true self appears when you’re at your most open, vulnerable, and carefree. As you raise your vibration, your perspective will shift and alter your truth.
Acceptance and Attachment
Detach from needing to have things work out precisely in a certain way. Observe with acceptance and trust and surrender to the process. To surrender is to accept the present moment unconditionally. Let go of fear and desire. Accept that you cannot control the outcome of some things and trust that it will all work as it should. Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is not found in finishing an activity but in doing it.
Let Go of Negativity
When you experience a negative thought:
“Recognize the negative thought. Observe this thought as if you are an outsider. Then realize the futility and destructive nature of that negativity, so that you want to let it go, then replace that thought with a positive thought of gratitude and love.” — Eckhart Tolle
Our minds can only hold one thought at a time. It can either be a negative thought or a positive thought. When you practice detachment from these thoughts, you begin to realize that most thoughts are not important.
Try to surround yourself with positive people and forgive those that aren’t. Furthermore, forgive yourself for not being positive. Striving for perfection is not beneficial in your path toward enlightenment. Also, don’t judge others for not being at your level. Comparison is the thief of joy.
Don’t Fear Uncertainty and Change
Lean into experiencing life to the fullest. Seek out new things to do and to see. We are here to experience life to its fullest extent. This means taking risks and learning hard lessons. Make fear, uncertainty and discomfort your compass toward growth.
Change Your Mind
When you change your thoughts, only then can you change your life. How can you expect to see something different show up in your life when you think the same thoughts, perform the same actions, and experience the same emotions every single day? When you continually think about your problems, you will only create more of the same difficulties. You must break your mind’s negative feedback loop. Changing your thoughts actually leads to changing the anatomy of the brain. Our brains are similar to flexible plastic that is constantly being reshaped by our experiences. This flexibility is called neuroplasticity. Learn more about neuroplasticity in our blog post: Change Your Brain Change your Life.
“Scientists have shown that thinking, learning, and acting can turn our genes on or off, thus shaping our brain anatomy and our behavior — surely one of the most extraordinary discoveries of the twentieth century.” —Norman Doidge, M.D. Bestselling author of The Brain That Changes Itself : Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science, 2007.
When you learn something new, change your beliefs, or become mindful of your habitual reactions to unpleasant emotions, you alter the brain’s neurochemistry and structure.
See Pain as a Catalyst for Spiritual Growth
Starve the Ego and Feed the Soul
The ego is our self-constructed sense of identity. When people live in their egos, they tend to be materialistic and worry about what others think of them. They fear failure and are driven by desire and materialistic ambition. They tend to be selfish, judgemental, and impatient. They are inclined to be obsessed with plans for their future, which consumes their mind, thus creating unnecessary resistance. Some people continuously strive for success, yet it always seems to be just out of reach for them, leading to disappointment, anxiety, and competitiveness.
What you fight weakens you; what you cooperate with strengthens you. Slow down and journey into your authentic inner being with humility and compassion.
“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, love is knowing I am everything and between the two my life moves.” —Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
It was Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj’s mission to guide the individual to understand his true nature and the timelessness of being. He taught that the mind must recognize and penetrate its state of being―not “being this or that, here or there, then or now,” but just timeless being.
“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”― Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
Love and Gratitude
When we focus on gratitude the tide of disappointment goes out and the tide of happiness rushes in. We are so fortunate to be alive and possess the potential to create the life we truly imagine. Love and gratitude carry great power that can help us enjoy life and raise our vibration. Recognizing the big and small things to be grateful for every morning will increase your path toward enlightenment. Gratitude opens us up and allows us to explore our spiritual potential; it’s an essential element in our path to enlightenment. Learn more about the power of gratitude in our blog post: Can You Create Your Own Material Reality?
Open your heart; embrace vulnerability. Loving is how you can master your life. Love to live, and you will be on your way.
“Stop pushing yourself, and feel gratitude and awe for what is. Your life is controlled by something far bigger and more significant than the petty details of your lofty aspirations.”―Lao-tzu, Ancient Chinese philosopher, founder of Taoism, and author of Tao Te Ching