How does one reach the state of consciousness that is commonly called “enlightenment?” You don’t often see a really good answer to that question. Either it is very vague, giving you little guidance, or it is steeped in layers of tradition, and requires navigating your way through a very complex path. So I was pleased to read in David Hawkins’ book, I – Reality and Subjectivity – a relatively simple and straightforward approach to enlightenment, as he describes his own journey. The steps are:
1. An intense desire to reach this state of consciousness.
2. Develop constant universal compassion – cultivating acceptance, forgiveness and gentleness to absolutely everything and everyone without exception.
3. Surrender the personal will to God (the Self). Each thought, feeling, desire or deed is surrendered completely to the Divine will, the mind grows increasingly silent. At first, individual thoughts and feelings vanish, then entire concepts and ideas. Finally, one is able to surrender the very energy of thinking before thoughts arise.
4. Focus intently on each present moment, not allowing extraneous thoughts of the past or future to enter. Make intense focus on the present task in the present moment a constant meditation. At first this is quite difficult and requires a lot of energy. Gradually it becomes habitual.
At that point, interesting things start to happen. As Hawkins describes it:
Suddenly, without warning, a shift in awareness occurred and the Presence totally prevailed, unmistakable and all encompassing. There were a few moments of intense apprehension as the self died, and then the absoluteness of the Presence inspired a flash of awe. This breakthrough was spectacular and more intense than anything before. It had no counterpart in ordinary experience. The profound shock was cushioned by the love that is the Presence. Without the support and protection of that love, it seems that one would be annihilated.
There followed a moment of terror as the ego clung to its existence, fearing it would become nothingness. Instead as it died, it was replaced by the Self as Everythingness, the All in which everything was known and obvious in its perfect expression of its own essence.
Hawkins book goes own to elaborate on this process and how to achieve it. I’ll work on a review of the book when I’ve finished it. Hawkins claims that simply reading the book raises one’s level of consciousness, and I tend to believe him, based on my experience with reading it so far.