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What Enlightened People Do

  • Posted on August 6, 2012 at 1:43 am

By Charles A. Francis

In the last two articles, we talked about what enlightenment is, and the qualities of an enlightened person. In this article, we’re going to look at how enlightened people put their wisdom into action.

The mark of truly enlightened people is in the actions they take to help put an end to suffering throughout the world.

As I mentioned in my previous article, 12 Qualities of an Enlightened Person, my understanding of enlightened people is limited by how far I am along on my own spiritual path. From my studies about spiritual figures in history, and my experiences with people well along their path, I’ve identified some general activities that enlightened people engage in to bring more peace and harmony into the world. Keep in mind that their activities will vary according to how enlightened they are.

12 Qualities of an Enlightened Person

  • Posted on July 26, 2012 at 5:45 pm

By Charles A. Francis

”If you think you are enlightened, go home for Thanksgiving.” ~ Ram Dass

We sometimes say that some people are enlightened, but do we really know what that means? We might say that because they are kind, loving, and insightful. While these may indeed be qualities of an enlightened person, it’s hard to be sure unless we ourselves are enlightened.

I’ve been on a spiritual path most of my life, and in my experience I’ve seen how people are transformed through spiritual practices. Here is a list of qualities that most of them attain. This is not a comprehensive list, but I think it contains some of their most prominent qualities.

Keep in mind that there are varying degrees of enlightenment. That is, everyone is at a different point in his spiritual development, and some may be more enlightened than others. Also, these qualities can be possessed by both men and women. Enlightenment is not exclusive to either sex.

1. Happiness

The enlightened person is happy and joyful. He has a cheerful disposition most of the time, and is willing to share that joy with others. He is always optimistic that all challenges have a resolution. Even though the resolution may not be the most desirable, he is confident that he is capable of being at peace with it.

2. Peaceful and Serene

The enlightened person is peaceful and serene, because he is free of fear and other unwholesome emotions. He can see that the human condition reaches beyond this physical existence, so he no longer has a fear of the unknown. He is free of worry because he understands that freedom from suffering comes from within, and not from material possessions.

3. Loving, Kind, and Compassionate

The enlightened person is loving, kind, and compassionate for two main reasons: 1) he genuinely cares about other people, regardless of whether they care about him, and 2) he knows that other people provide him with the spiritual nourishment he needs to grow, therefore, he remains spiritually open to everyone.

4. Not Self-Centered

The enlightened person is not self-centered, because he has lost the sense of a separate self. He can see the interconnected nature of our existence. To him, this is a reality, and not just a concept. He realizes that all physical manifestations (humans, animals, plants, etc.) depend on each other for their survival.

5. Emotionally Stable

The enlightened person is emotionally stable because he no longer has an ego that needs validation for its existence. He is not hurt because there is no ego to hurt. He does not get angry because he is understanding and compassionate toward those who are not as far along the spiritual path.

6. Patient and Understanding

The enlightened person is patient and understanding because he appreciates how our ignorance creates our own suffering. He understands the challenge of becoming enlightened, so he doesn’t condemn people for their missteps.

7. Humble

The enlightened person is humble. Since he knows his place in the universe, he doesn’t need validation from others. Therefore, he has nothing to prove to anyone, including himself. His humble nature allows him to be kind and gentle, and be open to everyone he encounters.

8. Insightful and Open-Minded

The enlightened person is insightful and open-minded. He is able to see the world with great clarity, without attachment to preconceived ideas about people, places, and things. This enables him to observe the world without jumping to conclusions. Belief and intuition are replaced with clarity of vision and understanding.

9. Inner Strength

The enlightened person has great inner strength. He has learned healthy ways of connecting with the sources of mindfulness energy—through healthy interactions with people, and within. He no longer has a need for the power struggles that most of us engage in.

10. Leadership

The enlightened person is a leader. Having awakened to the point of understanding the nature of suffering, he realizes his duty to help other people find freedom from suffering. He leads by example, rather than control. People follow him because of who he is and what he stands for. They want to be more like him.

11. Mindful of His Health

The enlightened person is mindful of his health—physical, mental, and emotional. He knows that his mind, body, and spirit must be in harmony in order to maintain his spiritual condition. He has developed an understanding of physical and mental health, and doesn’t blindly depend on others for his health. He is mindful of the nutrients and substances he puts into his body.

12. Committed to his Spiritual Practice

The enlightened person never forgets how he achieved enlightenment. He is also aware that it takes continuous effort to remain that way. It takes a great deal of mindfulness energy to help others along their path, so he’s aware that he needs to replenish his spiritual strength on a daily basis. Otherwise, he’ll lose his effectiveness as a spiritual messenger.

Overall, the enlightened person is mindful of himself, and the world around him. Furthermore, he is curious and willing to continue learning. He is aware that even though he can see with great clarity, developing an understanding of the true nature of our existence takes time to observe and investigate.

This is not a comprehensive list of the qualities of an enlightened person. But I think these are the most prominent. My purpose for examining these qualities is to give us a compass to guide us in our spiritual journey—a vision of the path that lies ahead.

From this list, it seems clear that enlightened people live rich and fulfilling lives. Those who achieve any measure of enlightenment do so through some form of daily meditation practice, a willingness to let go of old views, and a commitment to helping others find peace. It takes work and dedication, but it is well worth it.

Best wishes on your spiritual journey!

Adapted from “Mindfulness Meditation Made Simple: Your Guide to Finding True Inner Peace.”

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What Exactly Is Enlightenment?

  • Posted on July 18, 2012 at 4:02 pm

By Charles A. Francis

I’ve recently gotten into two different discussions about the definition of enlightenment. Those of us who are on a spiritual path have some idea of what the term means, but when we’re put on the spot to give a clear definition, we find ourselves getting tongue-tied.

I’ll be the first to admit that I had a hard time coming up with a good definition. When a friend asked me what enlightenment is, I had to pause and think about it, and I’m still not sure I gave her a good definition. Well, now I’ve had a little time to think about it.