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Through careful reading and deep meditation of Alma Lightbody's books for spiritual growth and guidance, a practitioner can find ideas for pursuing spiritual enlightenment.
Spiritual enlightenment is a key goal in many religions, cultures, and spiritual practices. Generally, it is the name given to experiences wherein the individual's sense of self, their ego, overcomes the limitations of the finite, physical world, becoming one or being able to interact with the infinite and divine realm that transcends and encompasses all truth. There are many variations of these experiences, but all hinge on the mortal human establishing a connection with an immortal entity or consciousness, which may either be "God" or a being, which in all respects, is one.
What Does Spiritual Enlightenment Look Like in Other Cultures
In many cultures, the gifts of spiritual awakening come with an intense and overwhelming sense of knowing, self-understanding, and realization. This profound feeling of universal insight is usually accompanied by experiences of peace, ecstasy, bliss, and the fulfillment of purpose. Some practices claim that spiritual enlightenment allows one to walk beyond time and space, as well as be separate from finite mental and physical stimuli. Although there are different outcomes to enlightenment, the process is more or less the same, meditation through sacred texts and books for spiritual growth and guidance and monastic living.
The most common understanding of enlightenment is wherein one becomes disconnected from the ills of the world, becoming truly pure. But in other cultures, enlightenment takes on vastly different forms.
In Ancient Greek philosophy, ataraxia is the state of absolute equanimity, the persistent sense of freedom against distress and worry. It was the mental state that all men, including soldiers and philosophers, should strive towards, wherein the consequences of the world no longer disturbed the tranquility of the mind. This meant that one who had achieved ataraxia was a stoic of the highest order, someone who was both outside and inside the chaos of reality--they were still a part of causality but was also an observer of it. According to Pyrrhonism especially, ataraxia came about when the individual disregarded all dogma; this was necessary to obtain a good spirit.
Theosis is a state of enlightenment sought after by the mystics of Eastern Orthodoxy. In the pursuit of theosis, the individual acquires the likeness of, establishes a union with, and makes reconciliation with God. Eastern Orthodox followers believe that this is the only goal in life and can only be achieved through the spiritual cooperation between human activity and God's uncreated energies.
In contrast, Western Christian practices follow divinization. This is similar to theosis in that it seeks a perfect union with God, but where it differs is in its process. In the Western Christian tradition, divinization is the culmination of three stages of perfection through which the human soul passes: the purgative way, the illuminative way, and the unitive way.
The most popular state of enlightenment (that is, the one most well-known in popular culture) is the state of nirvana, shared by Indic religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. It is representative of the ultimate stage of being, where one overcomes the endless cycle of suffering and rebirth. Although differing slightly from religion to religion, it is commonly accepted that nirvana is the condition of perfection and freedom, where the individual feels the highest happiness, separated from the worldly suffering of reality. In Hinduism, nirvana presents the union of the soul with Brahman, the divine consciousness; while in Jainism, it is the transcendence of the soul from karma; and in Buddhism, nirvana is getting rid of the three evils of greed, anger, and delusion.
In the mystic Sufi tradition, baqaa, meaning permanency, is the state that describes life with God, through God, in God, and for God. It is the highest stage of manzil, deep contemplation of the Qur'an, the destination. There are three degrees in baqaa, each referring to a specific aspect of divine existence. In baqaa, the individual is in a constant vision of God.
For Japanese Buddhists, satori is the highest stage of enlightenment. It is the state wherein one sees their true nature, experiencing their own existence in relation to the world around them deeply and, thus, becoming transcendent of them.