The concept of Enlightenment is most often attributed to Buddhism and is the goal of this and many other spiritual practices. While exact definitions of spiritual Enlightenment can vary, most of them point to a state of consciousness that is free from suffering caused by the mind.
However, becoming Enlightened may not actually be a final destination, but a step on the road to higher and higher states of consciousness for humanity. Some of the practices used to cultivate a consciousness free of the suffering caused by the mind include:
Meditation is the central practice of Buddhism and a tool for training the “monkey mind” to behave itself. The human mind tends to race, speculate and live in either the future or the past — anywhere but the present moment. Regular meditation helps to quiet the mind, settle racing thoughts and cultivate a more tranquil state of being. Focusing on the breath is one of the most basic forms of meditation, for breathing always takes place in the present moment. A mind that is unperturbed and not swept away by thoughts is on the path to a more Enlightened state of being.
Being “The Watcher”
This practice goes hand in hand with meditation, but it can also be implemented throughout your day in any circumstance. It refers to watching our thoughts and emotions as they come up and knowing they are not us — not who we really are. “The Watcher” refers our pure, peaceful, powerful non-linear consciousness, separate from the fleeting thoughts and emotions that characterize the mind. The more we strengthen this “Watcher” dimension, the less mind activity can take over, and we draw closer to Enlightenment. We cease to identify with the mind and it becomes a tool in service to our true self.
While some people have shifted spontaneously into higher consciousness without a spiritual practice, meditation, developing your Watcher, and an intention for freedom from suffering can all help to cultivate the conditions for Enlightenment in your life.