When people think about enlightenment, they seem to imagine a deeply spiritual figure like the Buddha sitting in the lotus position, free from all constraints of human worry or neurosis.
They also think it is impossible for them to reach. But they don’t realize enlightenment isn’t something only a few can reach.
In fact, there are things everyone can do each day to open their minds and work towards enlightenment.
Here are seven ways to become more enlightened and live a brighter life.
1. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the act of being in the present, free from judgment or expectation. As it turns out, this can be a good step on the road to being enlightened.
When you are being mindful, you are not ruminating on something you said five years ago or being anxious about that project due at work in three weeks. Instead, you are focusing on what is going on right now, right here without making it good or bad. Plus, it can be incorporated throughout our day with relative ease.
Most people think mindfulness needs to happen while you are sitting in a quiet room, focusing on your breathing. And, yes, that is one way to do it.
You can also achieve it through other activities; it really just needs to be something that forces you to be in the moment.
2. Understand Negative Feelings Will Happen
Instead of trying to banish all negative emotions, enlightened people realize all emotions have their place and can be learning experiences.
By accepting feelings like anger, sadness, and inadequacy, you are able to see what in your life is leading you to feel this way and addressing it.
Sitting with these feelings helps you engage with them in a more healthy way. Instead of reacting to them, you can figure out how to respond to them.
This means you understand emotions are a part of life, even the bad ones, and approach them as guests who will eventually leave.
3. Say Goodbye to Your Ego
Getting rid of your ego and the need to always be right, you will move you toward enlightenment. Egotistical people tend to be wrapped up in worry and overthinking, which as we discussed early, doesn’t work as you move toward being more present.
Plus, people who shed their egos tend to be kinder, caring, and far more down to earth. They also tend to have happier and healthier relationships, mainly because they can apologize when they are wrong.
Don’t let your ego get in the way of your awakening to the world around you.
4. They Aren’t Judgemental
This is a big one when it comes to how to be enlightened. When you judge people you are putting a bunch of expectations on how they should act on them. This isn’t fair for a number of reasons.
By placing our expectations on other’s behavior we are letting our egos get in the way and thinking our way is the right way. Plus, it means we aren’t meeting people with open hearts and compassion, which is something enlightened people try to practice at all times.
Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t assess people’s behavior. After all, not everyone is capable of being honest and forthright. However, looking at potentially harmful behavior is different than judging them for things beyond their control.
An enlightened person understands the difference.
5. They Practice Self Compassion
This ties into not being judgemental. We are often our harshest critics and that can stand in the way of reaching an enlightened consciousness. When we are constantly telling ourselves we aren’t good enough, smart enough, thin enough… we are forcing ourselves out of the moment and into a state of constant suffering.
In fact, we often talk to ourselves in ways we would never allow from other people.
So, why do we talk to ourselves like that? When you start to treat yourself with compassion and understanding, you will also start to treat others with more kindness.
6. Stop Envying and Resenting Others
When you resent and envy the success of others, you are poisoning yourself and making it impossible for you to feel joy at what you have. Every time you covet someone else’s success, you stop living in the moment and think about all those “shoulds” we have already warned you about.
While it may take time and practice, being able to experience true joy at the success and good fortune is a great way to bring joy into your own life. It can also help you embrace the moment by celebrating with your friends and loved ones when good things happen to them.
And celebrating others is one of the best ways to shed your ego and build stronger relationships, both of which can help encourage enlightenment.
7. Stop Caring What Others Think
When you spend time worrying about what others think about you and your actions you stop being in the moment. Instead of being concerned with your thoughts and actions you are too busy trying to guess the inner thoughts of others, something you can never truly know.
It is another way of passing judgment on them. However, instead of judging their actions, you are making assumptions on how they are judging you by your own preconceived notions of what they think you should or shouldn’t be doing.
So, instead, simply realize their thoughts and opinions of you don’t matter and be present in whatever you are doing at the moment.
How to Be Enlightened
Enlightenment isn’t a destination. It is a journey.
There will be days you are very present and in the moment and there will be others you feel like you are struggling. This is okay! Just continue to work towards being woken up to the possibilities around you.
For more suggestions on how to be enlightened as well as other tips on leading a more purposeful life, check out the rest of our blog!