Path to Enlightenment
THE PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT
© By Jacques Tombazian
Edited by Clare Rosenfield
What is Enlightenment, Illumination and Awakening?
Illumination is also a very popular word for a similar concept. Most often it’s used in a slightly different context, that of the strictly mystical quest, such as the quest of monks in a monastery. However, the quest for Illumination is essentially the same as the quest for enlightenment. Although they are from different linguistic roots, the two words mean exactly the same thing.
The idea of awakening is somewhat different. It is mostly used by people who believe that individuals have the power to transform themselves on their own. Although this is possible, most schools of thought recommend a form of teaching; finding a Teacher who will guide the person to awakening. This is a more personal path to follow. The Teacher, or the Guide, is not conceived as the “transmitter” or initiator of enlightenment or awakening, but as a practical Guide who teaches what is necessary in order to awaken oneself.
Still, enlightenment and awakening are not quite the same concept. Usually, enlightenment has been used in the context of societies of Initiates (Occult groups) that had hierarchies and ritualistic initiations. These groups seemed to believe enlightenment was possible only through transmission from already enlightened human beings to those who walk in the dark, or are “asleep.”
Awakening and Enlightenment, in truth, are the conception, development and unifying our three Alchemical bodies, body, soul and spirit, into a single Consciousness. Along the Path, it implies a large measure of Self-realization, of actualizing your potential in all your dimensions. Your own Spirit must ultimately be your Guide and Master. You must grasp that although a true Master can show you the Path, no one but yourself can follow it. Your Guide might even be willing and able to give you a helping hand, but he or she cannot climb it for you.
When you awaken, you open your eyes and your other senses to the reality surrounding you. There is a difference in points of view between awakening and enlightenment. But, in reality, there really is no difference. The key here is that you awaken from your long sleep in order to perceive reality through your own Consciousness, the true reality, not the image you have inherited from your upbringing.
Therefore, you need to transcend many limitations and principles you might have thought immutable. This true reality is something you can read about in a book or hear about in a lecture, but, in the end you must realize it for yourself! The problem is not with the Light! The Light is always there for all of us. The real problem is awakening to our true Selves in order to open our inner eyes and ears to our true reality, to our Real Self. Then the real Work begins.
All schools of thought consider most human beings either “in the Dark,” “Asleep” or “Hypnotized” and they all believe it is the responsibility of each human being to awaken and to reach self-realization. This brings us to an important question: “where do we start?”
Most people start from their own need, anguish or despair. Sadly, it sometimes seems that this is often the only motivational factor. Fear of death and of what may or may not come after death is also a fairly common inspiration. A few exceptional human beings seem to begin the process through a kind of spontaneous awakening, as if they became interested in a glimmer of Light that came their way for no apparent reason. The truth is we do not realize who we are, what ultimate reality is, or the true meaning of life and why we are here.
The above-mentioned emotions (fear, despair and so on) are the way we first become aware (not yet conscious, but aware) of our deep ignorance, powerlessness, and blindness. That is when we begin searching for answers and paths. We may find a book or hear someone lecturing. We still do not know anything, but the book or lecture may give us a glimmer of hope that there just might be answers or a Path! Then this takes us to the next question: “How can we be sure about the authenticity of teachers, groups or paths?”
Although most schools agree that humans are “in the Dark”, “Asleep” or “Hypnotized”, there are some individuals or groups who are consciously or unconsciously serving the purpose of the dark forces.
There may be others who are not necessarily in the dark, but are not competent enough to carry out the task of guiding humans and end up misleading followers into a worse condition like powerlessness or loss of hope. Therefore, what follows is advice on distinguishing authentic teachers and paths.
Beware of groups, no matter how old they are, who promise the Light if you adhere to their beliefs and submit to their priests, gurus or masters! You should not necessarily run away from all of them, but thoroughly examine them and test them before becoming fully involved. The more a group’s message tends to be that you cannot get anywhere without them, that you must first obey and connect to their belief system before you receive an initiation, and so on, the more you should beware.
Beware the individuals who teach and guide! The power of being awakened seduces some. They may use you or go on a power trip with you. Also, many individuals know something, but not quite enough, find too much pride in what they know and in what little powers they’ve mastered! They think that they’ve “made it”! But they must keep you partly asleep so that their in-completeness, if not their falseness, will show! There is nothing as dangerous as a half-awakened human being who thinks he or she is fully awakened!
On the other hand, a half-awakened person who knows and admits his or her limitations can be very useful to you and can teach you a lot! Also, since there are extremely few truly Awakened teachers and Guides alive at this time on our planet, a half-awake teacher might be the most you can find for yourself. Remember this: talents such as Healing or Clairvoyance, even when they are true and proven talents, are still only talents! They are superior talents, surely, and require at least a partial awakening, but are never proof that the person is fully awakened! The same goes for magical powers and so on. As a matter of fact, people who are very advanced in the paths of the Dark or of destruction can have true and great talent for magic, healing and clairvoyance! So be careful! I suppose that, at this point, you are wondering how to recognize someone who is truly awakened? What follows are few pointers.
Truly Awakened Persons will not make you dependent on their power in order to awaken yours. You should never have to submit to them in order to gain something that you would lose if you left. They will tell you that powers or consciousness are parts of you once you develop them. This is not something that you gain if you are obedient or lose if you are disobedient and so on.
Despite the pitfalls one may encounter, those who want to awaken or become enlightened, must find a teacher or a proper group. Although it is possible to follow a Path on your own, it is not probable that you would completely succeed that way.
First find a Teacher or a Guide for a Path that works for you. Then, at the proper time, you must detach from your teacher or your group and proceed on your own.
One need to awaken the self, but first one has to learn the tools that can achieve that. In other words, awakening requires knowledge and tools, a learned practice. After learning and practicing, you must go out on your own and finish the job yourself.
The teacher or the guide never comes to the student. The follower of a Path must first find the Path. The student must find the Teacher, not the other way around. The Teacher or Guide or Master or Mistress makes himself or herself available, just enough so it is possible for them to be found.
One of the very first lessons a true teacher learns on their own Path is, “Wait until you’re asked!” The first step of any Path is to find it and the close second step is to choose a Teacher. This implies that you must find your Teacher yourself. It is the student who must determine who is a worthy Teacher; it is the student who must ask to be taught. And remember that it is quite possible that one may find more than one teacher along the Path, as if graduating from one to the other. Choose teachers wisely. If you realize you made a mistake, change! This will be a valuable experience and will make you advance more than you would think.
No Path can be easy and comfortable all the way, all the time! Since you are the one choosing your Path and your teachings, you are not allowed to complain! There is only one promise: you will find the teachings, people and circumstances along the way, as you need them. But most of the time, you will have to be able to recognize them.