There is no Enlightenment

A person meditating on a patch of grass by a waterfall

Many people throughout the world are on an earnest search for spiritual enlightenment. I myself spent many years obsessed with the idea that I might somehow become enlightened. I now believe the whole idea is a hoax, and I will try to explain why.

I used to spend my days meditating. I would focus on my breathing, and attempt to simply observe, without any effort, what was going on in my body and in my mind. This was a regular practise for a few years, and I sometimes experienced feelings of peace and calmness. On one occasion, I had a deep spiritual experience, and I witnessed my bodily form dissolve into a feeling of bliss. The feeling only lasted a few seconds, before I came back “down to earth” and began reflecting on what I had experienced. I don’t know whether meditation gets much deeper than that.

I was definitely trying to get somewhere with my meditation practice. I was desperate for peace. In a sense, I was trying to escape. It wasn’t until, after years of struggling, I finally decided to give psychotherapy a try, that I began to realise what I was trying to escape from.

No doubt, I was a mess when I began attending psychotherapy. My mother had passed away after a terrible illness, and I was still merged with my mother in the way that children tend to be merged with their parents. I had loved my mother dearly, and been obsessive about looking after her, but in the meantime I had lost a great deal of myself.  What psychotherapy did was begin to put me back in touch with myself.

As I explored my frustrations, fears, anger, and suffering, I began to find words to convey to my psychotherapist the deep loneliness that I had felt for many years. With frequent tearful outbursts, I began to talk through emotions that had been repressed, and I began to be much more self aware. A big part of being an adult is simply finding words to express emotions. This is something I never learned how to do as a child, and it was liberating to learn how to do so as an adult.

The more I attended psychotherapy, the less interested I was in meditation and enlightenment. This is because I was finding the peace that I had been seeking through meditation by being able to express myself openly and be in touch with my feelings. It surprised me that the enlightenment I had been striving so hard to attain became relatively unimportant. All I had really needed was to explore what my fear of not being enlightened meant, in terms of my past, and my present emotions.

When God began to reveal Himself to me in my mid-twenties, this brought a whole new dimension to my life. The reality of God puts the idea of meditation in a completely different perspective. I became aware that the supreme reality was not just a feeling of bliss, it was an active God. I realised that God is in control of everything, from the movement of thoughts to the movement of bodies.

What troubles me about meditation is that it tends to neglect God as doer, as it focuses so intently on what can be personally achieved. I also believe it can be an attempt to escape from emotional states that we are afraid of.

It bothers me that there are people who consider themselves to be spiritual gurus, who have supposedly attained enlightenment, because I can clearly see now that there is no such thing. Having doubts, frustrations, and fears is simply part of life – there is no magical state where we are free from these things. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t experience these emotions.

There is no supreme peace in this life, because we are all in touch with other people, who have their problems, and we have to deal with them. Even if you sit under a tree for decades and meditate, you are still 100% dependent on God for any peace of mind that you experience. God can bring or take away your peace in any moment, so no one has ever really attained stable peace or enlightenment.

If anyone claims to you that they are enlightened, alarm bells should ring in your mind, and you should ask that person to explain precisely what they mean. If it doesn’t make sense to you, on your terms, then you must reject the idea. It is quite probable that the supposedly enlightened person is deluded.

There is a culture in India where those who are supposedly more enlightened gain devotees and win the respect of many people. This is analogous to the pop stars of the West. But please realise that the so-called enlightened one has absolutely nothing to offer you. Don’t think that they are great. Don’t think that they are special.  In the same way that the guru is a child of God, so are you. The guru has nothing that you don’t have!

There is no enlightenment. Give up the search, and realise that your happiness or sadness in this eternal moment is totally dependent upon the will of your creator and sustainer, Almighty God.

The above article is a modified extract from my book entitled Ultimate Truth: God Beyond Religion. For more information or to buy the book, click here.

25 Comments on “There is no Enlightenment

      • Your post was thought provoking. I can relate as I lost my best friend, soul mate, two years ago. He was gay and we were not lovers, but he was the world to me. I really lost it, despite all the spiritual knowledge and training. At the time I was not in a good financial way or I would have sought out a psychotherapist. I knew some and spoke with them casually. Instead I escaped, I think psychotherapy is a really great thing. We all need someone to help us with these emotions. Indeed very helpful. However one to me doesn’t negate the benefits of the other, meditation. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. (lol)

        I know what you mean about people saying they are enlightened, which they are not, in my opinion. I bet there are a few fully self-aware human beings. I guess I should explain what enlightenment means to me. A person incorporating much more of their Source Self than their Psychological ego. Those fears and angers are to be observed and learned from. One of my favorites is “Man Know Thyself,” for me that about sums it up. I believe it is important to know you aren’t the body but that life force that animates it. Just my personal belief, not trying to convince anybody else. I spent years in classes on meditation and my mind/ego just wasn’t having any of it, so I daydreamed and occasionally tried to still the mind.

        I have found meditations that work for me now, not complicated and no rules, just awareness.

        I know those mere seconds we achieve that connection don’t seem worth it, but for me they were the only times I got to experience MY TRUE BEING. I was doing a very simple mantra one day recently….I AM and really just focusing and I had one of those few seconds of knowing who I AM.

        So? Like Ram Das said “Be Here Now” that moment to moment, second by second awareness. We can meditate as walk, eat, brush our teeth or row a boat.

        I believe we need to be aware when we sleep and dream. I believe that human existence or consciousness is just a drop of an individualized segment of Source, the All-ONESS; Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Alpha, Omega, Zeta, Everything and Nothing at the same time.

        I believe the physical body is a vehicle, like a car, the heart, an engine and the brain/mind the computerized electric system. (lol) The ego inhabits the brain. My I AM has no fear, my ego/mind has many fears, angers, resentments and so on. My Being does not experience these things, but it choose to allow a tiny segment of itself to drive this car in this density, and in this game of dualism. So I think it all boils down to I AM A SELF-SOVERIGN Being. I AM responsible, but the love of others helps a lot.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks so much Sindy for writing such an in depth and thoughtful reply, I read it with a great deal of interest. I’m not sure what to say in response. I think we have quite different views on meditation, God, and awareness. The most important thing I think is that you are at peace, not struggling, striving, and stressing (and I know from experience that meditation can include all these things!). In my opinion, any peace we do experience comes directly from God acting in our lives – there’s nothing we can do to achieve it! Good luck with everything and stay in touch. S x


    • I think we all interpret these concepts in our own paradigm. I do not think I am right and anyone else is wrong, because no one of us knows for sure what truth is. So I think everyone has their own idea of truth and so it is. It is my great pleasure to make your acquaintance. I hope you are having a super day! Thank you for your response.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Steven!

    I think you made the mistake to search for enlightenment. So you created a huge attachment to this idea. I practice Zazen – for no purpose. I just do it, I don’t follow a purpose.
    If I may quote Shunryu Suzuki:
    “Our effort in our practice should be directed from achievement to non-achievement. […]
    So just to do
    something without any particular effort is enough. When
    you make some special effort to achieve something, some
    excessive quality, some extra element is involved in it. You
    should get rid of excessive things. If your practice is good,
    without being aware of it you will become proud of your
    practice. That pride is extra. What you do is good, but
    something more is added to it. So you should get rid of that
    something which is extra.”

    I don’t seek enlightenment which I define as actually feeling/realising one’s true nature compared to the mere philosophical concept of “Oneness”.
    But well, I come from the “Zen/Taoism corner”, and even there you can find all sorts of different opinions. 😉

    I think you would definitely be interested in the following blog post by Brad Warner which caused quite a commotion in the “Zen community”:

    Be patient, the beginning is casual, but he gets to the point. And the comments showed me one thing: lots of attachment… 😉

    Interestingly, according to the famous Zen master Dōgen practice itself is already enlightenment…

    Sorry for this long comment…




  3. Hi Timo!

    Many thanks for your comment. I read it thoroughly, and I read some of the article by Brad Warner that you linked to.

    I agree that I made the mistake of searching for enlightenment, but this is what thousands of people are doing, so I wanted to publish a blog post that highlights that there is no such thing. People shouldn’t adopt the position of guru or spiritual teacher because they give a false impression that they have attained something.

    If enlightenment is anything, it is realising that God is in control of everything. That is an insight that is revealed by God, when God chooses. But that is not the way spiritual teachers tend to talk about enlightenment.

    Best wishes,



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