10 Steps to Full Enlightenment

When one who has been enlightened speaks, there are things he can say with relative certainty–as much certainty as is possible while still in a body in this world. There are other things he can say with considerable authority, but not with certainty. There are also things he would like to be able to say, but they are much more speculative–not without value, but subject to a great deal more disagreement and interpretation of meaning.

It is quite helpful if a guru identifies which degree of authority is attached to statements that they make. This is very much more important if the guru is in and out of the enlightened state rather than in the enlightened state more or less continuously. Generally, statements made while in the enlightened state can be made with relative certainty. Statements made based upon remembering what was seen and known while in the enlightened state carry significant authority, but not certainty. It is when statements are made as to method and techniques for helping others attain enlightenment that even a guru speaks speculatively, whether in the enlightened state or not. No one, including all enlightened gurus, can say with certainty how anyone else can gain entry to the circle of enlightened beings.

All enlightened human beings say exactly the same thing; they each just speak a different language. There are ten steps to follow to get from where you are to where you want to be. When you get there you will not have moved an inch.

There is only one thing. There is only one problem. There is only one solution. Now we know what to do.

You become aware of a longing for something more. You ask yourself: “Is this all there is?” You conclude: “Surely there must be something more than this.” You have actually taken the first step. You become aware of enlightenment as a concept. It is just another idea among all the other interesting ideas you have in your head. This is the second step. You turn a corner and start to believe that enlightenment is something real. This is the third step. You are curious; you want to find out more. You start to think about enlightenment. You start to talk with others about it. You start to read books about enlightenment. You start to want enlightenment for yourself. The desire begins to get strong within, but mostly within your head, i.e., you are still just thinking about it. Even though this is already the fourth step, in a way it is the real beginning; the beginning of the real. You begin your spiritual quest. The active search for enlightenment begins, but you don’t know where to look. You don’t know what it is and you don’t know where to find it. This is the fifth step; it is very exciting, but also scary. Your heart joins the search; you become aware of a deep longing in your heart to return home. You explore various spiritual practices. Your search is primarily directed into the world, outside of yourself. This is the sixth step. You may begin to make changes in your life; how you live, where you live, who you live with, your work, etc., but nothing you change in the world touches your deep longing for something more. You become confused, frustrated, overwhelmed; you want to quit and go back to your ordinary life that is more familiar and more comfortable. Finally, usually after years of study and searching, you understand that the lower cannot command the higher; you realize that you have been looking in the wrong place–outside of yourself, and that you cannot make enlightenment happen. NO spiritual practice can make enlightenment happen. You turn your gaze inward upon yourself. You understand that what you are looking for is that which is looking. Your mind begins to observe itself. You surrender to your high Self; you let go of the search—but you still have desire, a deep profound, burning desire to wake up. You continue your spiritual search, but your practice is now different. You have selected one spiritual practice from the great smorgasbord of possibilities, but instead of a search, it becomes more like a prayer of thanks, an offering up to God in recognition of your longing to honor him, to remember who you really are. This is the seventh step. One day, you simply wake up. The veil of the illusion of separation lifts. You realize that you are God; you are the one without a second. You see that there is only one thing, and you are it, all of it. Your fist awakening is the eighth step. But it only lasts for a short time, perhaps a few hours or even less, possibly a few days or weeks, but then it recedes and the more ordinary ego-centered consciousness returns. You experience a profound anguish at the loss of this perfect light, love, truth, and knowing. In spite of this anguish, you have already conquered death; you know that what you really are cannot die, only the physical body dies. Your life has now changed. You are living in the moment; not the past or the future. You continue along your spiritual path. Your longing is very strong. You remain surrendered in a cocoon of faith, with an inward knowing that you will return to that enlightened state–even if it is only at the moment of your physical death. You continue your inner work of transcending the ego, healing old wounds and burning accumulated karma. Re-awakening is the ninth step–the enlightenment returns. Now you are spiritually confident; not arrogant or egotistical, no longer afraid of anything–there is no fear. You just know, in a way that is unshakable, who you really are, what everything is, what it is not, what it all means, and what you are to do. With the tenth step enlightenment becomes stable. You are there more or less continuously. Your responsibility now is to help others awaken. School is out. Welcome HOME.

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Al Link and Pala Copeland own and operate 4 Freedoms Relationship Tantra. They regularly host lover’s romantic weekends near Ottawa Canada, and weeklong retreats in exotic locations. For more info Visit www.tantra-sex.com, www.sexyspiritualrelationships.com and their blog www.askaboutloveandsex.com or send email: 4freedoms@tantraloving.com

Eckhart talks about the concept of enlightenment.
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