When I first heard of enlightenment I pictured it as something that would eventually happen to me at the end of a very long spiritual journey. As if everything all of a sudden just made sense. I pictured myself meditating in the sunlight on a rock overlooking the sea while hovering a good couple feet above the ground. But the longer I had been on my spiritual journey, the more I questioned this idea I had in my head – not just because I found the idea of hovering above the ground a bit silly.
The thought of having reached enlightenment, and with that all the answers in existence, made me ask myself ‘and then what?’ It simply seemed a bit … boring…. I mean we are in this life to grow and learn and expand our horizons. So how can there be a stage where we learned everything there is to learn and experience? How is that possible? Time and time again we have heard or read phrases like “Once you stop learning, you start dying – Albert Einstein!” So how can there be a point in our lives where we learned everything there is to learn? That just did not make any sense.
The more I thought about it, the clearer a picture was beginning to form. Enlightenment comes at the end of the road – that part is correct – but I realized that this does not mean the end of our journey. It simply means that we have reached the end of our lesson, our growth spurt. Enlightenment comes with the end of a chapter in our lives, something we had to learn in order to outgrow ourselves. Let’s call it an ‘a-ha’ moment. Thus, enlightenment is the moment when we realize what that lesson was.
After this a-ha moment comes a time of rest, where we adjust to and work with our new found knowledge. Once our new found knowledge has taken hold within us, we start the next chapter on our spiritual journey and at some point again, reach enlightenment. So really, my idea of enlightenment was both true and false. We do reach enlightenment at the end of our journey, but with that we will outgrow ourselves and continue on our path.
Many people often describe this time of rest as chaotic. Everything seems to fall apart. Nothing seems to make any sense. We feel completely disoriented. This can be extremely frustrating, especially since this tends to happen right after the ‘a-ha’ moment. One minute we are euphoric, excited about our new found knowledge, passion or purpose. We can’t wait to get started on our new mission or to implement changes into our lives and then boom! We know what we want, we can see the end result, but we can’t see the road ahead. Rest assured that this is just the universe putting everything in motion for your new path and purpose. Enjoy the ride and don’t try to control it.