What Does Enlightenment Mean?

When we think of enlightenment, we think of someone who has reached an inner state of peace and is no longer living the illusion of the life that we all live. That somehow an enlightened person is separate from us and is living or existing differently than we are. We believe that in order for the average person to attain enlightenment, there must be a physical, mental, and emotional sacrifice. But when we lift the idea of enlightenment up to this level of the unobtainable, we create something we cannot reach. The idea of enlightenment seems complicated, but only because we do not know what it really means or how it is done. We imagine hardship and sacrifice because we think it is necessary, but this is not so; you can become enlightened now, where you are, and with what you have.

We think we must give up our attachments, both physical and emotional, to attain enlightenment, but these are our ideas and not the reality of finding peace. Enlightenment is existing in a way that releases you from struggle in life, and it allows you to exist internally in peace, happiness, contentment, and satisfied in every moment. Does this sound like something that requires you to live in a hut to understand? Must you survive on nothing but rice to grasp the reality that peace is simply a way of being? You do not have to be or live a certain way to attain peace. You do not need rules or methods to accept and be enlightened. There is no hard road, other than the one we choose when we struggle against life.

Being enlightened is about living differently than you are now. It is about existing with life from a different angle. Right now, at this very moment, wherever you are, enlightenment is attainable. It is already within you, but unseen because of your other ways of relating and interacting with yourself and the world. Happiness and peace are possible continuously when you let go of the struggle and accept life and yourself. By letting go of our attachments, our ideas of what must be, we can accept everything and every moment for what it is.

We are the ones who keep ourselves away from enlightenment, for we choose the harder road over the easier one in life. We choose conflict when we could accept. We choose emotional upheaval over acceptance and letting go. We choose the idea of what we think should be over accepting what is happening. Enlightenment is a shift of consciousness and a way of being that allows you to be just as you are, without the struggle and the pressure we think life creates. We create the world we live in. We create our emotions and thoughts that we live with. We can create acceptance of the world, ourselves, and whatever happens; that is enlightenment. When we accept, we are free to be happy, at peace, and without struggle. When we let go of our attachments to what must be, we are accepting what is. When we release our need to control, we are free to be where we are and are much happier because of it. Shifting how we think, feel, and interact is really all it takes to reach an enlightened state of being.

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