Partial Enlightenment

Michael McAlister Blog Leave a Comment

If it feels like I’m picking on Deepak Chopra a lot, pleas know that this isn’t my intention. It’s just that he’s so prolific that he leaves himself vulnerable to spiritual nit-pickers like me.

Over at IntentBlog, Deepak endeavors to define “enlightenment” as:

… the transformation of personal consciousness to universal consciousness. According to the wisdom traditions of the world, this transformation is not an anomaly or departure from human nature, but rather the actualization of human potential.

But this is only half of the equation, from where I sit. Recognizing universal consciousness only gets us to the mountaintop. The view from that height has inspired countless humans to “eff” the ineffable in many different ways throughout human history. But the view isn’t enlightenment.

Actualizing human potential involves not just the seeing of the view, but rather the deepest possible integration of what has been seen with what might be done. Consciously engaging our experience from this realization offers up an entirely different kind of enlightenment, where awakening to the Absolute inspires a different kind of living, practiced in every moment, with all beings.

If this deeply inclusive participation doesn’t reflect what is seen on the mountaintop, then the enlightenment is only partial; defiled by one’s own personal attachment to the experience of what was seen.

To be fair, Dr. Chopra gets at this point well when he deepens the application of his definition of enlightenment:

As we move more fully into the universal values of the cosmos, we progressively express the qualities of love, compassion, intuition, insight, imagination, and creativity. We find that our thinking and behavior begins to function in harmony with the forces of the universe, and we notice more conscious choice-making , observations of synchronicity around us, the spontaneous fulfillment of our desires, and the manifesting power of our intentions.

And then he says:

Enlightenment means bringing complete light to all areas of life that were in darkness before.

And I agree, as long as that which is bringing the light has the courage and wisdom to let this radiance burn itself away in the process. This keeps the ego from thinking it’s awake. What’s left after this happens is the answer to prayer.

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