What is Enlightenment?

Some people are well-developed and others are immature. Immaturity represents a lack of understanding about life and the world, and being emotionally undeveloped. Enlightenment is an individual’s emergence from his or her self-imposed immaturity. This immaturity is self-imposed when its cause lies not in a lack of understanding, but in a lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from others. It is so easy to be immature. I need not think, if only I can pay others to undertake the irksome task for me. Thus, it is difficult for any individual to work him- or herself out of the immaturity that has all but become his or her nature. Consequently, only a few have succeeded, by cultivating their own minds, in freeing themselves from immaturity and pursuing a more enlightened course.

That the public should enlighten itself is evident; indeed, if it is only allowed freedom, enlightenment is almost inevitable. But the public can only attain enlightenment slowly. The most important requirement for this enlightenment is freedom; and the freedom in question is the least harmful of all, namely, the freedom to use reason publicly in all matters. The public use of one’s reason must always be free, and it, alone, can bring about enlightenment among humankind. We do have clear indications that the way is now being opened for humanity to proceed freely in this direction and that the obstacles to general enlightenment—to their release from their self-imposed immaturity—are gradually diminishing. In this regard, this is truly the age of enlightenment. —Immanuel Kant, www.artoftheory.com/what-is-enlightenment_immanuel-kant/

 Achieving Enlightenment

To become enlightened, you need to develop both individually and spiritually. Contrary to what Kant asserts, I contend there are fundamental principles that help you grow in this way, as follows:

  • Accept God into your life and Jesus Christ as your savior — God is the Supreme Being and Creator of all things on Earth and in the universe. He is the ultimate arbiter of right and wrong. He loves us deeply and wants us to grow closer to Him, but in order to truly grow closer, we must first grow spiritually. Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten son, and He sacrificed His life on the cross to bring salvation to humankind. Love for Jesus brings hope for a more spiritual and meaningful life.

  • Complete your formal education — To meaningfully approach enlightenment, you must first acquire a basic understanding of how the world works, and the best way to do that is to educate yourself. You will gain much-needed knowledge and the skills to think critically. Becoming well informed is a vital step toward becoming enlightened.

  • Learn more about yourself, your health, and your mental well-being — Better understanding of ourselves and our bodies’ needs is essential to understanding how to nurture our physical and spiritual beings. We can’t effectively help ourselves grow unless we also take proper care of our overall health and nutritional needs. This includes our mental health as well. Self-discovery and self-realization are vital to getting more in touch with ourselves and achieving self-awareness. It is through these three pursuits that we can become enlightened more effectively.

  • Learn more about the needs of others — God wants us to have compassion and respect for our fellow human beings. The more we understand about ourselves, the more we will understand how others behave, since we have needs in common with them. Only after accomplishing both will we truly be able to connect spiritually with another person and thus become enlightened.

  • Learn more about the natural environment in which we live — Nature is very spiritual—it represents beauty and sustenance. Sustenance represents survival. Hence, becoming one with nature is among the most spiritual experiences we can possibly undertake. Because nature and the environment are deeply interconnected, what we do to the environment will also have spiritual consequences. The more we understand the environment, the more we can do to improve it—and it’s important to our sense of enlightenment that we do both.

To sum it up, you need to get in touch with yourself, God, and the world around you.

 Conclusion

We only live on Earth for a short period of time compared with how long our souls live in the afterlife. It simply makes sense to make the most of our time while we are here. We need to develop our minds and bodies for life on Earth and to develop our souls for our time thereafter. Doing so can only place us closer to God, therefore making it possible to share in His knowledge. Empowering yourself is one of the most enriching and liberating experiences you can possibly undertake. Since the path to spiritual enlightenment can be very challenging, it is my greatest wish that you derive inspiration in as rewarding and straightforward a manner as possible in order to accomplish this goal. Keep in mind the concepts presented herein do not constitute the end of your spiritual journey, but rather just the beginning…

I welcome any discussions on this subject in the comment box below. I look forward to interacting with you.

Frank P. Daversa was raised in South Hempstead, NY. It was during his college years that he honed his writing skills. He earned his A.A.S. degree in 1981 with honors. Two years after earning his B.S. degree in 1986, Frank moved to Houston, TX. He worked for 14 years in the corporate world before becoming a writer in 2007. He published his first web article on spirituality in 2008 and his first book in 2011. He published his second book in 2012. Frank has been on a spiritual journey since contracting a serious illness in 1997, which inspired him to write his latest book, Spirituality in the 21st Century.

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2 comments on “What is Enlightenment?
  1. makita says:

    Enlightenment … reason and individuality … requires complete commitment. In our world of media-blitzed ideas, one has to work very hard to reason through what is good and what is not. The next step is to take that knowledge and stand out as a thinking and caring individual; go live the higher path as we highlight the way for others. It is not an easy path but it is a well lit and beautiful journey.

    • I agree—enlightenment, reason, and individuality require a total commitment to realize. All three go a long way toward distinguishing the difference between right and wrong. It is incumbent upon enlightened individuals to employ their powers of reason and sense of compassion to lead others down a path that is greater than the one they started out on. Such an enlightened path may be fraught with obstacles and not always easy to comprehend, but it is a righteous one for those who possess a clear conscience. They will know in their hearts it is correct once they see it.

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