As I learn more about what it means to be spiritually enlightened - that is, at complete peace with oneself - I've wondered more and more about the difference between that, and being fulfilled.
And then of course there's good old happiness. Where does that lie on the spectrum? Is that found in enlightenment? Or fulfillment? Both? Or neither?
This is a fascinating learning that I'm developing as I move through my journey to, well, fulfillment, enlightenment, or both?
For now, I'm learning that one key difference is the following: fulfillment is something we experience. But we don't necessarily have to be enlightened to experience fulfillment.
The difference between a non-enlightened fulfilled person and an enlightened fulfilled person is that the latter knows she is the seer, the witness, to that feeling of fulfillment, and not the fulfilled person themselves.
This is a key distinction.
That is, when we're enlightened, we know that we are not our feelings, thoughts, or external conditions. Those are all things we experience, but we are not them.
So that begs the question then, who are we?
The answer is, we are the witness, the seer, the spirit who observes the thoughts of our minds and feelings of our hearts.
The majority of us become so entangled with our thoughts and feelings that we are unable to separate ourselves from them. We assume that's who we are. If we experience feelings of laziness, we tell ourselves (and others) that we are lazy.
Even our names. When I tell people, I am Gabe, that is really a non-enlightened perspective. I am not Gabe. Gabe is a label. Gabe is my name. But I, the spiritual being inside this body, am not Gabe.
I, the spirit, am the seed of consciousness that has a body and a mind, and a name.
So even in the two months that I've been writing this blog, ultimately in search of fulfillment, I have to ask myself if that's really what I'm after?
And ultimately, can we, I, have both fulfillment and enlightenment? Can we have one without the other?
I do think we can have both, and I think the two intersect in several ways.
For example, in the realm of personal preferences and expectations, neither the enlightened nor the fulfilled person lets something negative get to their core.
In both cases, they are able to realize that external events, even their own thoughts or emotions, are just that - external - to their core, internal essence.
This is perhaps the biggest realization that I've made, and will continue to strengthen over the course of my life, so that I'm able to weather any storm, no matter how emotionally taxing.
I'm excited to be on this journey into spiritual growth. I'm excited to get to know the real me.
Who is the real you?
Live with substance!