If you were getting dressed to go to a party, you might spend a lot of time imagining and predicting how you want to look, what the surroundings will be like, what you will do there, who you will see and who will see you, how they will react to the way you are dressed, and exactly how you want things to go.
But what if you showed up and found out that the party had nothing to do with what you imagined, or with what your predictions were, or with the way you had prepared yourself for it?
Enlightenment is like that party. Some people know that they want to go to that party. They have ideas about what it’s going to be like. They are making a lot of preparations to get ready to attend it.
One way of getting ready is to work on yourself. You find ways to become a better person who is more deserving of an invitation to this party. Perhaps using resources from the self-help industry, you think yourself into a new perspective, or you re-order your priorities, or you process your old patterns and hang-ups.
You might even control your behavior to emulate that of a saintly person. You tell yourself to have fewer attachments, or to be free from negative feelings, and so on.
This could make you into a better person, and I sincerely congratulate you for that. And all it means is that you have become a better person. It’s not enlightenment.
Enlightenment doesn’t mean that you better yourself to the point of being enlightened. It isn’t the final improvement on the list of improvements. Enlightenment is a change of identity that comes through yielding to eternal being.
As long as you engage with your unenlightened self, your attention is on your problems. To be enlightened, you need to go where enlightenment is and dwell there.
Answers From Silence says, “Everyone has an Enlightened Self. It is the part of you that already is enlightened, already knows peace, and already has attained the goal of your evolution.”
Engage with your Enlightened Self. Then your state of consciousness rises to approach its level. Finally, you inhabit that level, and the difference between you and your Enlightened Self evaporates.
How to do this?
Another way is to have an active dialogue with your Enlightened Self. You can find answers about your daily life, the meaning of life, and everything in between. Meanwhile, your attention is turned in the direction of enlightened consciousness the whole time. There is a “how to” section in Answers From Silence about this.
Eventually, you don’t have to go anywhere to get to the party. You are the party. And you bring it with you wherever you set your foot down.