Every spiritual and religious tradition and philosophy knows a moment of “enlightenment”, sometimes simply called “awakening”. According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the “Enlightenment” is defined as “a philosophical movement of the eighteenth century, concerned with the critical examination of previously accepted doctrines and institutions from the point of view of rationalism” This is a philosophical perspective.
The term Buddha in Sanskrit, for example, means “the awakened”, one who has attained the state of perfect illumination, or the perfect awakening.
In Christianity we find a good example in Paul who in Romans 13:11 exhorts, “wake up from your slumber…” and in Romans 12:2 urges, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind”. When this happens, there are far-reaching consequences. Consider his own life example: On the road to Damascus he had an awakening which completely changed the course of his life.
My focus here, however, is not that momentary awakening – and yes, there are momentary conscious living experiences. Rather, my interest is the daily, 24/7 waking up and conscious living.
The second point, which proceeds from the discussion above, and again acknowledged by all spiritual and philosophical traditions is that most people sleep-walk through life. They are not aware of the environment around them. Most significantly, they are not conscious of the machinations of the brain; and there is a lot that goes on at any given moment. Waking up from the sleep-walk means being enlightened.
How we respond to anything is affected by the level of awareness we have of ourselves and our environment. Our perception of the world is very much influenced by our self-awareness and the world around us.
Next we will explore why conscious living is important and the benefits of self-awareness. Bear in mind that the sages of old and spiritual leaders saw the outside physical world as a reflection of the spiritual inner world. Needless to say that even the medical field recognizes that spiritual well-being goes a long way in achieving physical wellness.