The Age of Enlightenment was a philosophical movement that emphasized rationalism and rejected the traditional social, religious and political norms of the 18th century. Buddhists define enlightenment as a final blessed state where both desire and suffering are absent. This article, however, will focus on the most common interpretation of the word enlightenment…the state of being enlightened. Since the process of enlightenment is often burdened with tedious religious dogma, the six following stages are designed to capture the process of how to embody love’s purist form on earth.    

Imagine experiencing something so expansive that yesterday’s agenda and your previous life feels meaningless the instant love’s purist form explodes within. The spontaneous awakening triggered from this form of love is so potent people immediately want to leave their old world behind and run into their new one with the boundless energy of an enthusiastic child. 

Rarified forms of love are so compelling that poets, prophets and philosophers dedicate their lives trying to describe. Smitten beholders are the ones creating the countless poems, songs and stories about love. How do we find this love? Do literature or Internet searches enlighten? Of course, there is mind-numbing religious dogma and plenty of opinions describing what to do or not do. Enlightenment is the process of attaining or the state of having attained spiritual knowledge about the true nature of our body and soul and all of divinity. This article will attempt to boil down the complex process of enlightenment down into understandable stages. 

Love is everywhere, has many illusions and is quite illusive at times. Everyone struggles to experience, enjoy and embody what awakens your heart and soul. Love’s purist form will wipe out misguided agendas, make the future seem irreverent and remind you that the present moment is the only really important consideration. The following six stages are designed to help you become more successful on your journey.

Stage #1 Love yourself completely and truly know you are worthy.

Mystics and sages often describe enlightenment as a path that leads to and from our heart. In order to accomplish this task, we need to be willing to examine every positive and negative quality we possess. If we can learn to truly accept ourselves flaws and all without conditions, wounds heal when our heart embraces darkness with love. Illusions release and love’s purist form fills voids where illusion once dwelled. This is how darkness turns into light in love’s earth continuum. When we look at our own reflection and see what we like, positive mirrors occur. This crucial first step requires us to believe we are worthy of love and before we become an engine of love for our self and everyone around us.

Stage #2 Give love to others and the world will mirror our reflection back to us.

 Stage two invites us to accept the good and bad in others without conditions, the same way we just learned how to accept the dark and light in our selves. Some religions refer to this stage as the Golden Rule. When self regard blossoms there is a natural tendency to meet our own needs and function in healthy ways. This tends to bring the mirror of truth or what some call the law of attraction from the universe. Divine energy kicks into gear and begins to mirror love back to us in forms we treasure the most. 

When love expands without boundaries, synchronicity occurs. Poets, for example, mysteriously find more words, objects and people to love. Athletes notice how their body responds better. Goals are reached easier with less resistance. Hearts discover how love bounces back in subtle and/or not so subtle forms. As positive reflections from the universe occur, the following transformation occurs within the individual who initiated everything.

Love grows profoundly within our heart during this stage. Soulful energy starts to fill every crack and corner in our wounded neural networks and actual cells. As this enlightened process deepens more messages are sent out to the universe to deliver more love. When we experience more success, we start believing we deserve love and begin to expect positive mirrors from the universe. Self-esteem soars, which ignites a very important internal fire. 

We believe more deeply we deserve love and then expect more positive mirrors from the universe in our daily transactions. This approach helps us greet the world from a self-assured confidence and expectation that love is everywhere. Knowing that the world is a loving place starts to take root deep down into our bones. As these patterns anchor into our mind, heart and body like a solid three-legged stool, stage three starts to unfold.

Stage #3 A spiritual awakening occurs.

When our mind, heart and body bathe in this sea of love sufficiently, a deep longing and spiritual awakening births within. Since our soul is made of and is love, a thirst for all things spiritual begins to develop during stage three. Inspiration expands because the soul is connected with our body and all of divinity. The soul has access to universal spiritual wisdom and all of conscious creation. When we tap into divinity, we tap into an ocean of love that is more amazing than anything we treasure on earth. So much more than a personal commuter or the Internet, this loving web has access to all of divinity and the universal energy within every single being on earth. This includes every plant, animal as well as every spiritual being on the other side of the veil. 

Those on the other side of the veil swim in an ocean of love everyday. Divine beings love to saddle up to us at this metaphorical bar to drink, sing and laugh with us. We can all get drunk with them on the various nectars and micro-brews we enjoy. It’s a talkative group of extroverts who hang out at this bar. That’s why so many blab and blab like most spiritual teachers. Enlightened souls willingly share their enthusiasm for love and will continue to do so throughout time immemorial.

Stage #4 When the soul merges within a body, our heart remembers its origins. 

When the soul is activated and accessed, our heart becomes exquisitely alert and receptive to love’s purist form. When this seminal event occurs, the desire to experience our divine origins awakens. The fourth stage happens when we truly remember who we are as the soul physically enters our body and infuses every cell of our being with love’s divine form. When the process of enlightenment begins, our fears, isolation and sense of abandonment that often drive our unconscious behaviors start to peal away like an ill-fitting skin. Illusions evaporate as fast as shadows disappear, like how a powerful light enlightens a darkened room. 

During this stage we realize love is everywhere. A powerful sense of safety and serenity wash over our heart, mind and body whenever we remember our divine connection to all of creation. Some people call this fourth stage a soul merge others call it the rapture. Various mystical traditions have different names for this process. You may think merging your mind, heart and body with your soul is hard to do. All it requires is saying yes to love, allowing love in and letting the purist form of love itself do all the work.

The process of allowing a deep connection to one’s soul is similar to pregnancy. Once conception occurs (a soul merge), the body knows what to do and a natural progression of a deep, internal spiritual wisdom takes over. This instinctive intelligence knows to allow more love in, which in turn begets more love. This is the cycle of life that every enlightened lover has known throughout time on planet earth.

Stage #5 Service to others becomes a compelling force

The fifth stage is organic. As unconditional love expands within our heart, the urge to pass share it with others is very compelling. This divine cycle recycles love and helps us remember our roots when we experience oneness with all of divinity. As this process deepens service to others flows naturally. When the soul enters the body, this awakens ancient memory codes and the real truth of our divine origins. Stage five occurs when every part of our mind, heart and body has a powerful desire to share this newfound joy that leaps out of our heart and soul. 

The desire to share love without conditions and provide service to others grow as naturally as limbs of a baby in a mother’s womb as this stage evolves. Generosity, holding others in high regard and seeing the goodness in our selves and everyone else organically occur. This process of experiencing, expecting and sharing this source of unconditional love is of course infectious. The universe loves generosity and the mirror of truth naturally reflects more love back to us.

Stage #6 Enlightenment is not a linear process…regression and disillusion will occur. 

Straight lines rarely last long in nature. The art of healthy living requires adjustments to blockages, impasses and regression. Love and light are very motivating but they also stir up powerful illusions, which can be very difficult to overcome. Darkness exists so we can experience what love is and what love is not. Sometimes our deepest illusions rise up immediately after an enlightening experience. There are many paths to nirvana but Confucius describes stage six best.

Depression, disillusion and regression let us know what needs to be addressed so we can embody the stage we initially tasted. It is extremely difficult to become enlightened, which is why so few have accomplished this feat. Every spiritual master from our wonderful religious traditions has pointed the “moon” to show how they became enlightened. Everyone falls, the trick is to get back up and dust your self off again. 

In Summary, how love manifests on earth is a wonderful story. The process and state of enlightenment is so powerful that it can wipe out your pain, trauma story or victimization attachments. The reason why addictions are so powerful is because they wipe out the memory of your problems by making you happy momentarily. Problems return when the addiction quick fixes wear off, the good feelings leave and your original negativity settles in again. Love’s purist form embraces the good and bad with equanimity by letting love burn away the dross of illusion.

The natural progression of the six stages described in this message are green, renewable and can permanently wipe out the emotional charge around any bad event, negative feeling or trauma. You will be able to remember the event intellectually, but the pain and emotions leave when the loving energy described in each stage has the opportunity to heal the original problem. 

As stated countless times, love is the most powerful force in the world. Darkness exists so that humanity could experience something other than love to experience the difference between the two. Love and pain are masterful teachers. All we need to do is to turn on the light of love, become impregnated with love and be love in our daily transactions. Our mind, heart and body know what to do when the purist form of love enters the room. Darkness turns into light when we see it as the illusion it is. Let love into your life, accept yourself without conditions when you fall down and then get up again. Be love. Let love light your way home, towards enlightenment or wherever you want to go.

Aug 2019 Eric Ehrke LCSW, LMFT is a psychotherapist at Ommani.  He sees clients on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Call our office at 262.695.5311 to schedule an appointment.