How Do You Know If You’re Enlightened?
Many people ask, “How do you know if you’re enlightened?” This is the big question everyone wants to know. How do you know if you’re enlightened, and then once you’re enlightened how do you stay enlightened?
Well the formula is actually pretty simple. Always staying in the present; always staying in the here and now… that’s the first step.
The second step is to just forgive yourself when you fall asleep! For the rest of your life there’s going to be states of enlightenment. You’re going to feel “laaa!” I’m enlightened. You’ll feel that your really staying in the present moment very well, at certain times and then at other times your going to fall back to sleep. This is going to happen for the rest of your life. Back and forth; falling asleep, waking up; falling asleep, waking up. This is all right.
What you’ll find is that as you become more proficient and learn more to stay… (to develop more of a habit, not learn!) create the habit of staying in the present moment, then you’ll have those enlightened states for longer periods. It will feel as if you “stay enlightened” for say… three days instead of three minutes when you first start out. When you first start this you’ll have moments, you’ll have glimpses. If you’re watching this [YouTube Video] right now, you’ve probably had glimpses of what enlightenment feels like, what it is. And then you’ve also had the experience of falling back to sleep and forgetting that state.
Now enlightenment is not a 24/7 bliss, 24/7 always vibrating at a high rate and passing out darshan to everywhere you go. That’s not what enlightenment is. We’ve covered this in some other talks, but enlightenment is (just to be brief) knowing who you are. Enlightenment means “to know.” So enlightenment means knowing who you are… not have a perfected personality. I did cover this in other talks. Not having a perfect personality, not having manifested a great bounty… you can be homeless and be enlightened. You can have a terrible personality and still be enlightened, knowing who you are, which is eternal awareness; the consciousness of God incarnate in its own imagination. We’ve said this before in other talks, and so now the question is how to stay enlightened.
Well, you’ll know that you’re not enlightened when you’re in these moments of the human condition, the emotional angst, the emotional fluctuations, the ebbing and flowing of the mind coming back and forth, forgetting that you’re eternal self having a momentary experience of being human. If you can remember that all the time, you won’t go back and forth between falling asleep and waking up. But you can rest assured there’s a guarantee that you will fall back to sleep. Happens all the time.
Even great masters who seem very enlightened, who never seem to waiver… even they go through falling asleep and waking up… falling asleep again and waking up. The difference is that they can hide it better because they don’t act out the human moments when they have fallen back to sleep! They’ve learned to have the feelings and have the passing weather (I call it weather) when the human condition rears its ugly head and you feel certain emotions again or have certain thoughts, or feel like the petty small human again, having issues and opinions or thoughts about this or that. What happens with the great masters however is that they remember more quickly again who they are. So this weather could pass through in a few seconds and phewwwsh… go right back into the enlightened self because they remember, “Oh this is just human weather. This is just the human condition resurfacing, and it’s all right.”
Now if you twist around, become upset with yourself for falling back to sleep, then you’re going to prevent the waking up again for a longer period of time. So allow for the waking up and the falling asleep, and I guarantee you that as time goes on and you practice more and more being here in the present moment you’ll stay awake longer… longer and longer.