Many Paths to Enlightenment
There are many paths to enlightenment and no particular right or wrong way to get there. Essentially it is about going within, working on your thoughts and belief structures and taping into your sub conscious mind. There becomes a time where the conscious and sub conscious minds merge; where as before the sub conscious was hidden, yet still influencing your thoughts and day-to-day living. To me this defines what enlightenment means, to have greater awareness. One-way of accessing your sub conscious is by meditation and daily affirmations. Affirmations are stated in the now, as if it has already happened. Use words such as "I am" and "I am now", rather than "I will be" or "Try to be". Essentially affirmations can be used on any area of your life that you feel needs improvement. Think of your sub conscious mind as simply something running in the background on "auto pilot". It is only when we start going within, does the unknown begin to become the known.
Meditation is essentially focusing your mind and intent on something you desire. There are no short cuts to enlightenment and it takes many years of practice and diligence. It is about becoming a master over your body, mind and spirit and feeling empowered with this knowledge. The ego is quite happy for us to play the victim through life, as it does not know any better.
In a sense our soul has to teach our ego and this is where many people feel resistance. To become enlightened does not mean to ignore our ego, hoping it will go away. It is about acknowledging our lower emotions, balancing them and keeping them in check. The only way to do this is through intent. We have all been in situations, where we have let others influence our emotions and reactions. But over time, one realizes that we also have a choice how we respond to situations.
There are only two emotions in the universe, love and fear.
As a free-will human being we have the choice whether we react out of love or fear. With practice, we become more in control of our thoughts and less likely to react to situations in our life. It is okay to feel fear, as we all do at certain times of our life. The trick however is not to feed the fear with negative thoughts and anger.
Being enlightened means to have greater awareness of yourself and the life around you. You simply don't just wake up one day enlightened. It's a conscious choice and a gradual process of processing and releasing lower emotional states. It is work in a sense, because you have to peel away layers of pain and hurt in order to be rewarded with a higher awareness. This pain can be very old, carried from previous lifetimes or early childhood. It remains trapped in time in a sense, until we are ready to deal with it again. With the release of old wounds, we can be rewarded with new healing abilities and psychic abilities from spirit.