The story of the blind men and the elephant beautifully illustrates this. Each man feels a different part of the elephant and thinks they know what they are dealing with.
Every human being has a unique position in the universe which inevitably leads to arguments. Each person thinks they are right. And of course they are, from their point of view. What is required is the ability to try and understand a situation from somebody else’s perspective.
When we begin to consider ourselves it is obvious we have a physical body, emotions and a mind. However, as we think deeper we realise that we are the observer of these vehicles. We are much like the driver of a car!
This is why people turn to Spirituality. They want to discover the identity of the “Driver.” Spiritual Experiences are traditionally gained through deep Meditation, however, these days more and more people are having Spontaneous Awakenings. These Experiences lead to incredible Realizations about the Self.
We exist way beyond our human vehicle as Spiritual Beings and our Consciousness is not dependent on our mind. This State of Being is often described as being more real than our Earthly existence. We now have two completely different perspectives, a physical and a Spiritual. This again can be a source of debate. Which is real, is one an illusion?
The Journey of discovery does not end here. The Spiritual Essence has the potential to merge with God or the Oneness that pervades the whole Creation. This is when we say a person becomes Enlightened.
At this point they lose their sense of individual self. They cannot stay in this State indefinitely; they need to return and lead their lives albeit from a different perspective.
The Big Picture is now available to them. They are aware of an Earthly perspective courtesy of their lower vehicles. They can let go and sit in the Stillness which transcends all thoughts and intellect. And having attained Enlightenment they know that Everything is a manifestation of the Oneness.
This may lead to declarations such as:
- Everything is an Illusion!
- Karma does not exist!
- Reincarnation is a myth!
- God has no purpose or plan!
- Everything is perfect as it is!
While these statements can be considered true in an absolute sense they are not particularly useful to someone who is still walking the Path. When a Teacher tries to impart knowledge it is wise for them to pitch lessons at a level that the student understands. Otherwise they are likely to get disheartened and cease their studies. We often need to use basic models that are crude approximations to get a point across. At the same time it is good to indicate that there may be a higher Truth and a more universal perspective.
So when discussing Spirituality it is wise to declare what point of view is being adopted and when appropriate entertain several different views even though they may conflict with each other.
Oneness is often used to describe the State of Enlightenment. In Oneness there is no Light, no Sound, no time, no thoughts and most importantly no you. A person cannot be Conscious of Oneness – they can only Be It!
Enlightenment is not a Realization but having attained this State of Consciousness it is inevitable that Realizations will cascade into the mind. Much of what appears will be paradoxically and diametrically opposed to rational thought.
For example: it is generally understood that we are all born as individuals. But, to a person who has attained Enlightenment it is clear we are all simply expressions of God and therefore intrinsically connected.
Enlightened people will often talk about Oneness and give the impression that they are constantly aware of it. This has to be completely false! All it takes is a thought, a feeling or a sensory impulse which are manifestations of duality to interrupt the State. So by the fact they are talking to you means that their awareness is limited. They might say, “Yes but although I am not aware of the Oneness right now, that is what I am because of Enlightenment.”
Nice try! However this just creates a number of philosophical problems. If they declare they are the Oneness then so must everyone else be, whether they know it or not.
However, there is one piece of the jigsaw missing. On attaining Enlightenment, and after returning to the “normal” state of consciousness, something is definitely different. The sense of self which was perceived as locating in the physical body or mind, is missing. Everything is the same as before but you are not there! The moment you attain Enlightenment you lose your sense of individuality.
So even though it might be difficult to return to the Oneness, the myth of individuality has gone forever. Sometimes, if an Enlightened person spends a lot of time in the World they may begin to feel an individuality creeping in. However, as soon as they let go or sit and Meditate this is immediately dispelled.
It is a bit like playing a musical instrument. If you stop playing it you might begin to doubt your ability. However, as soon as you pick it up again, you discover the magic is still there. You may be a little rusty and may never reach the level you were at before, but you can still play.
So in conclusion, Enlightened people have bodies, emotions and minds just like everybody else.
It is often assumed that an Enlightened person would naturally acquire supernatural powers, sometimes referred to as the siddhis. They can take many forms and have been well documented throughout the ages.
Examples are as follows:
- Levitation: being able to defy gravity.
- Clairvoyance: includes the ability to see auras and past lives.
- Clairaudience: being able to hear at a great distance.
- Bi-location: being in two places at the same time.
- Materialisation or transmutation of objects.
- Control over natural phenomena such as the weather.
- Mind reading and control of people’s thoughts.
While these abilities may be useful, they have absolutely nothing to do with Enlightenment or high Spiritual States. Such a State is by definition way beyond the Earthly Planes. The siddhi powers are manipulations of the lower vehicles which comprise: mind, emotions and matter.
The reason for the confusion is that both can be seen as magic which implies something beyond our normal understanding. However, we would suggest that there is a distinct difference between the desire to manipulate matter and wanting to transcend it. So for those Seeking True Spirituality, the siddhi powers are simply traps generated by the ego and entertainment for the mind.
There is one Power not listed above that Enlightened people might acquire, that of Initiation or Energy Transference. There are many Paths and Teachings involving techniques that are designed to assist the Seeker. These might take the form of controlling the breath, visualizations and mantras.
There is also a very special system that involves Meditation on the Light and Sound of the High Spiritual Realms. Sometimes a person will have a Spontaneous Awakening and naturally becomes aware of these wonderful Energies. However, traditionally the Energies were revealed by Enlightened Teachers using a simple Touch. These days, they can also be transmitted Remotely.