Enlightenment is like a seed becoming a flower. It is the blossoming of who we are, who we are meant to be, and who we are becoming even from the moment of birth.
What is Enlightenment?
There are many concepts of enlightenment. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi described enlightenment as a reality whereby one is happy 24 hours a day, independent of outside circumstances. Even if something bad happens on the outside, the person can still experience momentary sadness, but the emotion does not overshadow the underlying stable inner happiness. In addition, enlightenment means living one's full mental potential, and being in harmony with natural law.
A Mother Cultures Her Child's Enlightenment
The transference of a mother's love and joy to her baby cultures the child to become strong and happy; this nurtures the growth of enlightenment. Children are like a sponge absorbing everything from their environment. The more love and support they receive, the more they will grow to be integrated citizens able to contribute to the well-being of society. If a child does not receive the love and attention he needs, he may experience many problems as he matures into adulthood.
Does Education Develop Our Full Potential?
Education should further the growth of one's well-being and potential; its aim is to develop a fully rounded, integrated, happy human being. However, during the educational years many situations can restrict the growth of our mental potential. These include stress, drugs, alcohol abuse, and an education that does not satisfy the thirst for knowledge.
Unfortunately, an epidemic of stress pervades the daily life of college students, resulting in the widespread use of drugs, prescription pills and alcohol. Neurological imaging research shows that drug addiction can create "functional holes" in the brain--areas of the cortex which do not receive blood flow and are thus less engaged in the task at hand, whether it be decision making, judgment, or planning, as in the case of the prefrontal cortex.
Meditation Increases Brain Functioning
Research on meditation, particularly Transcendental Meditation (TM), shows an increase in one's brain functioning, and particularly shows high prefrontal coherence during transcendence. Research also shows that practice of TM significantly reduces stress levels. If we introduce meditation to students in schools at an early age, around 10 years old, we can help them grow up with significantly less stress, while at the same time improving their ability to focus and learn.
Education for Enlightenment
Education can and should be a journey of enlightenment through which students graduate happy, healthy, and with the ability to use their full mental capacity. If we allow students to graduate without reaching their potential, then we cannot expect them to be happy well-adjusted individuals able to come up with the holistic solutions necessary to solve the many urgent problems facing our world today. These problems are caused in part due to shortsighted thinkers who do not have the broad comprehension to see the effect of their actions on society as a whole.
Enlightenment -- Our Birthright
Enlightenment should no longer be considered a foreign, impractical concept. It is the birthright of everyone to be happy, healthy, and living full potential -- life in higher states of consciousness. Anything less should be considered abnormal.
Transcendence -- the Gateway to Enlightenment
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has described seven states of consciousness. We are all familiar with the first three -- waking, dreaming, and sleeping--that we experience in our day-to-day lives. The fourth state, transcendental consciousness, has unique physiological parameters and is the basis and gateway for unfolding the other higher states of consciousness.
Lao Tzu said, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step". The journey of enlightenment really begins when you dive within and experience the silent depths of your mind.
Through the process of transcending, you open your awareness to the whole range of the mind. Just as importantly, the ocean of inner happiness fills your Being, and the wisdom of silence starts to steer you through life in a more harmonious, productive way.
Everyone should enjoy the light of his or her fully awakened consciousness within. This most natural state fulfills the purpose of life -- to become the fully blossomed flower you are meant to be!
My breath has become breathless
as I merge with the stillness of the gentle hour--
the holy time is hovering everywhere
my heart no longer beats yet has a power
of purest love flowing here and there.
I feel fully blossomed like a flower
dancing in the evening air.
The universe, my soul, my mind
are one harmonious song that shares
the sweetness--the rhythm beyond all time.
1. Maternal support in early childhood predicts larger hippocampal volumes at school age. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 109 no. 8. Joan L. Luby, 2854-2859, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1118003109
2. WALLACE, R. K. Physiological effects of Transcendental Meditation. Science 167: 1751-1754, 1970.
3. WALLACE, R. K. The physiological effects of Transcendental Meditation: A proposed fourth major state of consciousness. Doctoral thesis, Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., 1970.