Positive Possibilities: The Absolute Freedom of Enlightenment, by Parvati Devi
I understand enlightenment to be part of every human being’s destiny. We each are called to this state, to reach the “goal” (as some traditions call it) at some point through our many incarnations. In truth, we are one with pure consciousness. The process of our soul’s evolution involves a purification of our distorted perceptions so that we may realize our true, divine nature. This process is of personal benefit, and also of benefit to all beings, as we are all connected.
There are various stages of enlightenment. In the early stages, we begin to awaken and realize that there is more to life than wanting and our perceptions. We start to question the nature of the mind and the grip of the ego. Then there are various stages of purification of the mind as the ego dissolves and we feel more interconnection. As we evolve, the ego holds less power and we slowly merge back to the One. Finally, we reside in a permanent state of oneness with pure, divine consciousness and feel a unity with all that is. In this final stage, we are no longer identified with the body or the mind. We have transcended even death itself.
My guru, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, Amma, speaks of this state of being with first hand experience:
“As the realization that everything is pervaded with Divine Consciousness dawns within you, you also see that every human being, everything in creation, is already Divine. The only difference is that you know that you and they are one with Divinity, but they do not. It is only a question of uncovering the truth.”
It is my understanding from my meditation practice, and from guidance from great teachers, that our state of unity with the One already exists, but we, for the most part, cannot see it because we are so busy, so caught up with our mind. We are used to identifying with our mind, to feeling that our ego is in control. We do not allow ourselves to trust and to let go. It is a bit like we are so focused on a tiny speck of cloud, thinking that it is the entire world, we miss the vastness of the sky and the infinite expanse of the universe.
When we explore the mind, we see that in fact, it does not exist by any other means than by the energy we give it. Most of what we think and feel we “know” is a configuration of the mind, mental constructs to help make us feel in control, powerful, important. But all thoughts are passing. There is no thought that is fixed, permanent or eternal. It is the nature of the mind to think. It goes on and on – thinking – until we bump up against grace and notice that perhaps what we think may not be so fixed and solid after all.
When we look at our lives, we see that what we think in fact is not all that reliable. We think for sure we will get that promotion, or that we won’t get it. We get ourselves all worked up about it, either with excitement or with foreboding. When the thing we like happens, we are happy. When it does not, we are sad. We are like weathervanes turning in the winds of our ever-changing thoughts.
So then what is beyond the mind? If we remain open, we begin to see that between our thoughts is a space, just like the pause that exists between each inhalation and exhalation. In that pause, lies possibility. Yogis have taught this wisdom for millennia through meditation and breathing practices, in which the aspirant learns to observe the space between.
In the space between, we open up to the field of pure consciousness that has been there all along. The change we are inspired to embody in the process of enlightenment is one that dissolves the grip of the mind and opens us to the field of possibility that lies as a substratum beyond it. This, in essence, is at the root of meditation practice and ultimately, enlightenment: becoming one with the space through which pure consciousness arises.
Enlightened masters tell us to watch the rise and fall of the mind, like the waves of the ocean. The waves are not the ocean, just the surface agitation. The ocean is deep, powerful and vast, just like the space beyond thoughts.
“When you have reached enlightenment, ignorance will delude you no longer. In the light of that knowledge you will see the entire creation within your own Atman and in me.” – Bhagavad Gita 4:35
Parvati Devi is the editor-in-chief of Parvati Magazine and an internationally recognized Canadian musician, yogi and new thought leader. As a chart-topping touring musician, Parvati spearheads the Post New-Age musical genre with her independent success hit single “Yoga in the Nightclub” and accompanying show “YIN”. She founded YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine, a powerful yoga method that combines energy work and yoga poses. Her critically acclaimed self-help debut book “Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie – A Revolutionary Life Makeover for the Sincere Spiritual Seeker” is currently in its third edition.