The Blissful Emptiness of Enlightenment


By Wes Annac, Culture of Awareness

When some people think of enlightenment, they probably think of some amazing higher state of consciousness. Like a lot of spiritual teachers have said, however, it isn’t as ‘big’ as we like to think and it’s actually pretty calm and peaceful.

Our fixation on enlightenment, ascension, spiritual evolution and various other concepts is bred partially out of our need for spiritual fulfillment, which society has replaced with material fulfillment. The spiritually ‘aware’ usually try to fill the void in the same way, but they fill it with spiritual concepts because they think they’re supposed to.

They basically fill their life with things they associate with their spirituality. There’s nothing wrong with having pride for one’s spirituality, but it can be used to fill the same void that other people fill with an amplified ego or expensive material things.

An inner emptiness is being filled in both cases, and as spiritual seekers, we tend to think the things with which we fill our lives will help us evolve. We envision our eventual evolution, ascension, etc. as something grand and magnificent. We imagine all of our troubles being gone, and for the first time, we can finally relax into a joyous and blissful existence.

We hunger for the day when this eventual evolution is finalized, and on some days, we take issue with God over the lack of progress or positive circumstances in our lives. We hunger for a time when the pain and struggle are lifted, and it hurts to see the bad guys with all the money and power continue to get away with destroying the world.

The moments we’re closer with this higher consciousness are blissful and vibrant. Credit:

We imagine enlightenment or ascension taking us away from these problems, as well as our individual struggles, and the moments we’re closer with this higher consciousness are blissful and vibrant. We learn a lot from the insights that pour in, and once it’s gone, we want more than anything to have it back. We want to make it permanent, and to us, enlightenment is the final realization of this goal.

What most of us, including me, fail to understand most of the time is that enlightenment is the void we try to fill. It is the emptiness we run away from by covering with all kinds of concepts and associated material things, whether for a spiritual purpose or not, and it’s the one thing we’re afraid to explore or relax into.

When we feel low or void of love and spirit, we tend to try to avoid the emptiness that results. As hard as we might try, we can’t avoid it or any other aspect of our existence, and it’s part of our reality for a reason. It wouldn’t be here if it weren’t meant to help us grow in some way.

Emptiness is the portal we’ve all waited for, and it’s the same thing most of us have avoided in search of the fulfillment we’d find if we embraced it. It’s available in every moment if we can stop, slow down and let it come up from within, and this doesn’t require any strict religious practice. It requires us to simply be, and as simple as it sounds, it’s harder than you might think.

When was the last time you stopped and just did nothing for a while? Meditation and stillness open us up to profound insights about life and spiritual evolution, but they require us to stop, relax and understand that our existence is enough. Most people don’t even open their eyes when they meditate, because the best visions are seen with them shut.

Credit: Yoga Nine Vipassana (

The stillness of meditation drives the insight and visions, and this stillness and acceptance of life lead us to enlightenment. The miracles we seek will naturally spring forth when we stop avoiding the void and embrace it, and the magic will pour out from within in abundance because we’ll no longer resist it. Little did we know, all we had to do was stop and be still for it to express itself.

Spiritual evolution is a process, but enlightenment can be practically instantaneous if we let it in. All we have to do is take the first and most difficult steps, and we’ll become aware of our own frantic attempts to fill the void when we stop trying to avoid it. We’ll realize how strong the desire to fill it actually was, and we’ll bid our habits and compulsions adieu as we relax into the blissful emptiness of a higher consciousness.

Everything will be filled with the spirit, because we’ll have finally allowed it to become a part of us. We’ll no longer ask for anything from life, and we’ll be grateful for the blessings we have available. We’ll receive more of them as our gratitude increases, and we’ll joyfully explore the emptiness we used to frantically cover up.

It’ll reveal some pretty amazing things to us, and we’ll discover them in a space of simple joy and calmness. They might not be the big experiences we hoped for, but they’ll be powerful and transformative nonetheless. They’ll give us far more than what we anticipated, but the way we receive them will be different from how we might’ve expected.

We could receive divine visions in our living room or backyard instead of being whisked away to a higher dimension and enlightened by legions of angels, but the fulfillment will be all the same. We need only to relinquish our preconceived visions of what spirituality and enlightenment are like and let them reveal their true form, and we’ll see that they’re better than we ever imagined.

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