Enlightenment is the complete awareness of life without mental modifications.
Enlightenment is the state of awareness that we reach when our consciousness is one with infinity, with the infinite consciousness of life itself. Enlightenment is not a state of mind, although all states of mind are contained within it. It is the best of all things, the brightest of all lights. It is union with immortality, timelessness and with the temporal, with all the myriad worlds, planes and things that simply can't be put into words.
Enlightenment exists within everything. There is nothing that can be separate from enlightenment. But when I talk about enlightenment, when I discuss it with my students, I am referring to an experience, a journey - the journey to light. Enlightenment in this sense is a journey into cosmic consciousness - to be completely aware of eternity, to be aware not just of this moment or this world, but of timelessness, of space, of organic life and what lies beyond it.
Think of enlightenment as a journey. Today you woke up and anything can happen. You could live any type of life. You could be rich. You could be poor. You could be wise. You could be ignorant. It doesn't really matter because no matter what happens, there is enlightenment. All the things you see that threaten you and make you afraid, all the things that you see that attract you, the things that you're indifferent to or perhaps don't even know about - they don't really matter. Life is like a dream. It's transient. For one moment, we're in the stream of life. We're awake. We're having experiences. Then we're asleep. It's all washed away; at best it becomes a memory that fades. So death is a sleep and life is an awakening. And in each lifetime, we awaken to a different condition.
Meditation is the pathway to enlightenment.
The wakefulness, the state of wakefulness that I refer to, that enlightened teachers refer to, is a condition of ecstasy, a condition of tremendous beauty, a permanent state of wakefulness that defies sleep. Sleep is dreams of another kind. Death, the experiences in the after-death plane, between lifetimes, between incarnations - it's a different kind of dream which we forget upon waking to this life and this world.
So enlightenment is a journey, a journey into light, a journey into self-knowledge, a journey into beauty, reflection, awareness. The infinitude of being calls us to become conscious of itself. Now this might sound like a lot of euphoria to some. It might sound just like a lot of words, a rhapsody of words that don't necessarily connect and aren't practical. That is certainly not the case. To be conscious, to be aware of what you are aware of, is not something that you can defend or express. It simply is.
Yes, there's the surface of life. There are the day-to-day activities of human beings, plants, animals, astral beings - the endless movements of creation. And then there is nirvana. Nirvana is absolute ecstasy, absolute stillness, a presence - to be in the center of the mind of God, to be completely conscious, forever, of forever, to be in the timeless, misty realm, the nexus of all things. All universes, all intelligences, all cycles of being, come from it, and they go back to it. It sustains them; it holds them here. That's the world of enlightenment. The day-to-day life we lead has nothing to do with enlightenment. We're unaware of it. It's just around the corner, and we don't see it. It's in front of us, and we don't see it. We are it, and we don't see it.
Enlightenment is happiness - happiness in the most profound and yet most simple sense. Enlightenment is, as I said before, a journey - a journey into cosmic consciousness. And meditation is the key to enlightenment. To meditate, to make your mind still and supremely aware, to penetrate the void, the essence, the substance, and go beyond both to what is referred to as the clear light of reality - clear in the sense that it doesn't have a definite color; light in the sense that it's not solid, yet it is, pure energy; reality in the sense that it is that which is most real, that which is actual, meaning it doesn't change. It's always here.