Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Personal Development and Enlightenment. What's the difference?

Most of the work we do on a spiritual path is the work to  improve the character, what we call personal development.  We step on what we perceive as a spiritual path out of dissatisfaction with ourselves and life as it going for us. We start with trying to change others for some years, then we move to another long period of time when we start to fix ourselves. We do all kinds of personal development workshops and we go through tons of self help books. We move into the world of chakras, yoga and we become vegetarians. After some years we move into more hard core stuff like serious meditation, retreats or some shamanic practices of strong mind altering herbal medicines, and etc. 

The whole spiritual search  is based on dissatisfaction with what we are and how we feel at the moment, and we seek a relief, we seek resolution. We secretly feel that the resolution will be what we call an enlightenment. We don't really know what enlightenment is, but we think it is something that will fix all our dissatisfaction, and we reach for it. We strive on the path, trying to accumulate more and more knowledge, insights and trying to become less reactive and more mindful. We think that the more spiritual practices we will do, more knowledge we get - more chances we will arrive to that place where enlightenment is. 

If we look at the phrase "personal development", we see that it is some work that pertains to the person. Person is a dream character that works on him/herself in a dream that Consciousness dreams into existence. Enlightenment is realizing that there is no person, that the world, inner and outer is a projection, there is nothing to strive for in a future, it's already is all complete as it can be.

Of cause, for the dream character personal development is the only what he can do to try to relief the discomfort that he feels. Enlightenment in a dream won't fix our discontent, it would be dream state enlightenment, and as any dream, it is imaginary. Personal development and personal enlightenment are some of the possibilities of Consciousness to mask itself as a dream to explore itself in endless varieties. 

There is no chance for a dream character to become enlightened. Enlightenment is a disappearance of the dream character by waking up from the dream completely. There is no one even to wake up. The dream just stops projecting itself, and the enlightenment, Consciousness itself is revealed to itself. 

After a while the dream constructs itself again, and the dream character continue to exist, but the dream become lucid. The dream character and all its adventures and troubles  are not taken seriously anymore. The striving for personal development falls away. The striving for improving oneself or fixing the circumstances falls away. The striving for spiritual experiences, insights, revelations, and enlightenment itself falls away. What is left and what is driving the dream to continue is a joy of exploration. 

Imagine you wake up lucid in a dream. Would you be devastated to loose your job there or your house to a fire? 
Lucidity in a dream gives a different perspective. It is not less or more suffering, it is no suffering. Pain can be a part of the dream if you stepped on the nail there, if you lost your loved one; suffering is only part of the dream if the dream is unconscious, and one totally identifies oneself with a dream character and a pain. 

Lucidity is the ability of Consciousness to participate in a dream as a dream character and at the same time know itself as a dreamer, the dream itself. 

Lucidity is enlightenment, and it is not the property of the person, a dream character,  it is a property of Consciousness itself. When Consciousness is ready to peek through the character, we get some insights into true nature of being. When Consciousness ready to stare through the character, we get revelations and spiritual states that open up the new perception. 

There is nothing really to strive for. We do not exist apart from Consciousness, and we are Consciousness itself. To realize this nothing needed from our part, only continue to live as we are, doing tons of personal development or none of it. When the time is ripe, the dream reveal itself before it's own eyes...


  1. Thanks Elena!
    Does one stop accepting the friend request on facebook after seeing the illusion of no-self. Just asking!!!!!. LOLs. Please accept mine.

    You are a beautiful expression of consciousness. Thanks for your unconventional approach to reality.

  2. As Yuri Mehyachikhin has put it, "Cheburashka cannot become a pioneer" :)

    But seeing the absolute is not yet enlightened. You simply move from "I exist" to the "I don't exist" end of the spectre, still stuck between these opposites. That's why I suspect Buddha had to sit for another three freaking years under that tree.

    "What is left and what is driving the dream to continue is a joy of exploration." Exploration of what? You can play with a kaleidoscope forever, and it will just keep showing you new pretty patterns, endlessly. What are you exploring that you have not seen yet?

    I wonder if there is really such thing as the end of karmic activities. Repeating "it's not my karma" does not help much. Suffering is a suffering no matter how you put it, for as long as there is life to experience it.

  3. Thank you Elena. You have summarised a whole lot of spiritual literature in a few paragraphs.

  4. I did and still do "self esteem" things but I also see now that there is something beyond or better than a (sometimes) OK self. I guess self esteem work is an OK beginning for some of us.

  5. To: Andrei Palskoi
    Re: You simply move from "I exist" to the "I don't exist" end of the spectre, still stuck between these opposites.
    Jim: My experience is that I moved from “I exist” (as a little, separate, egoic, temporary individual) to “I exist” as the permanent, eternal, divine: all, totality, unity, etc. I exist as Life, life-ing or simply Being or whatever other inadequate term applies to: Life/consciousness/awareness/soul, etc. I never experienced that “I don’t exist” thing. Existence always is.

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