By Wes Annac, Culture of Awareness
Some people in the conscious community have turned their back on religion because of the ways it’s used to distort spirituality and control the masses, but others look to it for little bits of wisdom and insight.
Some have studied different religions in hopes of finding similarities between them all, and they’ve discovered that different religions are united under the common theme of enlightenment.
They’ve also discovered that the original purpose of religion was to help us understand that we are God and come closer to enlightenment as a result of this understanding, and they strive to share their knowledge with anyone who’s open to approaching religion in a less negative way.
As we’ll learn here, there are various stages of enlightenment so we risk confusion by using the term generally or vaguely. Each religion is believed to have a sliver of knowledge about it, and a committed study of various religions and cultures can uncover the puzzle, piece by piece.
Few have worked harder to illuminate each piece than Steve Beckow. Steve is mainly known for writing about channeled messages and hosting a channeled radio show with Linda Dillon, but his public interest in spirituality originated with cross-cultural religious study.
His commitment to spreading the word about enlightenment has resulted in thousands of articles and an entire database, ‘From Darkness to Light’, dedicated to highlighting the commonalities in various religions.
When we decrypt the teachings, the theme of enlightenment starts to emerge.
I’ll let Steve describe it:
“[From Darkness to Light] draws on the words of saints and sages from all centuries and paths.
“It demonstrates that, while they may use different terms, all the masters of enlightenment are talking about the same thing. Behind all religions and spiritual paths is a perennial philosophy or ancient wisdom that reflects the Divine Plan for life…” (1)
The purpose of life is to find enlightenment and realize God, and the original purpose of religion was to share this truth.
“Three themes are pursued here. The first is that enlightenment is the purpose of life. All the masters cited here agree that, if we do a hundred things in life and do not realize God, it is as if we had done nothing.
“Realizing God, knowing our own true nature, liberating ourselves from the cycle of birth and death are all ways of speaking about the same thing – enlightenment, the goal and purpose of life.”
“The second theme is that there are three levels of reality that we are to know or realize fully to complete this human round of existence.
“They are known to different religions by different names. Christians call them the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Hindus call them Brahman, Atman, and Shakti. They could be described as the Transcendental, the Transcendental in the Phenomenal, and the Phenomenal.” (2)
The database’s third theme is that enlightenment never ends.
“The third theme is that enlightenment goes on so far down the road, taking us to domains higher than the human, that we may as well say that enlightenment is endless. It is certainly endless as far as we are capable of seeing.
“While some years ago, I considered Brahmajnana to be full and complete enlightenment, I am now aware of so many levels beyond it that my mind cannot form a picture of what beings are like who have scaled the loftier peaks. It may be more useful to speak about Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi as a goal and to take another look from there.
“The fact that enlightenment is virtually endless can lead to some difficulties in communication. Some writers will use the same word ‘enlightenment’ to refer to events located at different places on the spectrum of illumination.
“Some may call ‘spiritual awakening’ enlightenment; some may use the term to refer to ‘baptism by the Holy Ghost’; some to Brahmajnana; others to Sahaja or to the higher level of Nirvana. The one word is used to fit all events, a practice that is not accurate and blurs useful distinctions.” (3)
I’m guilty of this; I tend to use the same label to describe what, to me, is a general higher consciousness.
This can cause confusion, especially for those who’ve studied the material and know that there’s more than one stage of enlightenment. Rather than becoming enlightened once and being done with it, we’ll continue to evolve until we’ve merged with God and we know and feel that everything is One.
Then, we might come back down just to do it all over again. Conditions will be different if we do, so I think we should enjoy this life and appreciate what we have right now.
Another setback when discussing enlightenment is that people tend to give the same experience different names.
“A second difficulty is that some may refer to the same event by different names. I suspect, though I do not know for certain, that the following names all refer to the same stage of enlightenment: Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi, Vijnana, Turiyatita, and the experience of No-Self. Only a sage could clarify the situation.” (4)
Even though the various stages can be inaccurately labeled or lumped together as a singular moment of enlightenment, each religion seems to offer, even in small doses, a glimpse of the truth about enlightenment and what we truly are.
While many religions don’t seem to mention any form of spiritual evolution, in spiritual writings are found clues to what we’re doing here, where we go when the body dies and why we’re doing all of this in the first place.
Personally, I encourage a personal form of spirituality that isn’t reliant on any belief or philosophy but allows us to explore spiritual writings with an open mind to find the little gems that are there.
I consider love to be my religion, and with it comes nature, creativity, meditation and spiritual study. Other people are on a different path to the Source, and our task is to learn to respect every path.
No two people will totally agree about spirituality, and we won’t collectively achieve much until we start respecting the differences in how we each think and live. In the meantime, we have plenty of spiritual writings to scour over in hopes of finding some truth.
If we remember that the truth lives within, we can get the most out of religious and spiritual writings while rejecting divisive or violent philosophy and encouraging an honest study of the texts, many of which are here to help.
- Golden Gaia Database: “From Darkness to Light” – goldengaiadb.com/From_Darkness_to_Light
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