Enlightenment and the Middle Ground

by Wes Annac
The Culture of Awareness

“Knowing others is wisdom; Knowing the self is enlightenment; Mastering others requires force; Mastering the self needs strength” – Lao Tzu

I write about enlightenment so much because of its importance to the spiritual path, especially for the person who has unresolved habits and tendencies that keep them from raising their vibration. I’m not saying we shouldn’t take any advice we’re given with a grain of salt, however, and we should always be discerning with the things we learn, no matter who they come from.

Only the advice we receive from within should be taken with minimal discernment, and even when it comes to inner guidance, we’ll want to take what works for us and let the rest fall away.

Some people are against the idea of learning about enlightenment (or spiritual evolution in general) from spiritual teachers who’ve been put on a pedestal, and it’s understandable that we’d want to empower ourselves instead of a teacher who gives us a bunch of rules to follow.

The last thing we want is to give our power away to a spiritual authority figure who tells us we can’t achieve enlightenment unless we live up to a standard we didn’t knowingly create. However, there’s a difference between this and a genuine offering of teachings and philosophies that could help us transcend the Babylonian elements of our society and enlighten ourselves.

There are a lot of valuable teachings out there from spiritual teachers who genuinely want to help us find enlightenment, and all we really need to do is find the ones that resonate the most with us.
“There are many paths to enlightenment. Be sure to take one with a heart.” – Lao Tzu
Some teachers claim to be earthly incarnations of Source him/herself, and if we have trouble believing they are who they say they are, we don’t have to follow them. We can if we want to, though, even if we choose not to believe they’re God incarnate.

We don’t have to believe certain teachers are actual incarnations of God to benefit from their advice, but again, discernment’s always necessary.

Personally, I’ve reached a place in life that requires me to be completely open-minded, lest I want to stop believing in any spiritual material out there. Almost all spiritual material should be studied with a level head, because things will always be said that are too awesome or paradigm-shattering to readily believe.

For example – with spiritualist material, the hardest thing to believe is that mediums have actually connected with real deceased spirits who’ve given detailed descriptions of the afterlife. With ascension/new age material, it’s hard to believe that angels and extraterrestrials exist and are actually communicating with us through channels in an attempt to help us ascend.

With enlightenment material, it’s hard to believe that Source has actually incarnated on earth (or over-lit its followers) to share its sacred teachings.

No matter what we read, there’ll always be something in there that makes us want to run away from the whole concept if we’re rooted too deeply in the judgments and analyses of the mind, so we might want to accept or overlook certain things if we want to believe in the material.
“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.” ― Frank Zappa
We don’t have to worry about any of this if we don’t follow any external teacher, and maybe this is why some spiritual seekers choose not to. Some people resonate more with the idea of being our own teacher; showing ourselves the way back into a higher state of consciousness. Personally, I think we can do both.

I think we can show ourselves the way while still taking time out to hear from whatever spiritual sources resonate with us. It doesn’t have to be a wayshower who talks about enlightenment – it can be a channeled source (which, again, discernment is necessary when reading), or even a friend who has some knowledge.

I think we’d all benefit from utilizing a little external assistance along the way, but the problem is when we fix ourselves on the external to receive awareness.

As we’re learning, to fix ourselves on the external is to keep ourselves from exploring our inner realms and really spiritually thriving, and a healthy middle ground exists that allows us to utilize internal and external assistance with a detached mind and an open heart.

I honestly don’t explore much enlightenment material, except when I write about it. That’s the only time I really research what enlightened teachers have to say about our spiritual evolution, and the rest of the time, I tend to rely on myself and my intuition.

I’m not saying it’s the best or most helpful path, and I fall into self-created traps every day that drain my spirituality and keep me from shining. I might benefit from reading enlightened (or generally spiritual) material more, but I feel like my role is to produce more spiritual material than I absorb and I always try to give more and receive less.
“The greatest gift is to give people your enlightenment, to share it. It has to be the greatest.” – Buddha
Maybe I (and some of you) would gain from taking more advice from enlightened teachers, but when it comes down to it, spiritual evolution is our responsibility and we have to chart our path ourselves, as opposed to endlessly focusing on a teacher who’s already found the way.

A little bit of external assistance is helpful and maybe even necessary, but despite how much it’d help some of us to read more spiritual material, it isn’t the sole way to enlightenment. My perspective so far is that the best way to enlighten ourselves is to take the journey day by day and strive to embody love, calm and emptiness while still being active.

I could be wrong, but I think my path requires more activity and less mind-driven stillness. There’s a difference to me between spiritually aligned stillness and mind-driven stillness, and the latter is a form of inactivity that’s caused when we unhealthily stimulate the mind.

For example – some people think television and video games are forms of meditation, and they are in a way because they quiet the mind (sometimes) and put us on a different frequency. I don’t think the stimulation-induced stillness that can result is healthy, however, and for me, it isn’t nearly as helpful as good old fashioned meditative stillness.

I (and plenty of others) would benefit from embracing more meditative stillness throughout the day, but beyond that, I feel like being more active than ever. I feel like love is driving this increased activity, and once our heart overflows with love, we can either stay still or get moving and achieve a lot every day.

Like I said in a recent newsletter article, we’ll want to be careful when we stay consistently active because it’s an effective way to close the mind without realizing it. This is something our spiritual teachers have probably told us, and this takes us right back to the benefits of listening to their advice as we chart our own path.

There’s plenty of guidance out there from plenty of sources, and the best thing we can do is find the teachers who help us the most and listen to their words while recognizing the importance of evolving in our own way. The heart and the intuition are our greatest teachers, and they’re activated when a teacher’s guidance inspires us to live in alignment.

I’ll continue to present material from enlightened teachers, but I’ll always encourage us to discern our way through the material and find what works for us. We’re free spiritual beings either way, and all we need to do is decrease our mind-driven focus on reality and let the heart take over.

Then, our aligned thoughts will naturally create the reality we desire, and even though our mind will be calm and quieted, we’ll be more physically and spiritually active than ever.

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