Values determine human existence. Artists, philosophers, and humanists dedicate their lives to the promotion of human values like beauty, happiness, love, purpose, and inspiration.
In the case of this workshop, the value is enlightenment — the evolution of consciousness.
We are immortal souls having planetary experiences. All experiences — however beautiful — become boring eventually. For that reason, the evolution of experiencing is as important as experiencing itself.
Since the mind experiences, we need to evolve our minds before we can have greater experiences. That’s where enlightenment comes in — the evolution of consciousness.
Planetary life allows us to have seven types of experiences:
Mostly, we are busy repeating the first five types of experiences. We expand experiences horizontally, meaning we look for new types of experiences or new variations of known experiences. For example, we may try different kinds of vacations. The type of experience (vacation) is the same, but the variations keep the boredom away. Until our soul gets bored of vacations altogether and looks for a new type of experience.
When we are young, we try all sorts of experiences. Parents should give their children ample opportunities to do so.
All experiences are dead ends. We tick them off as we grow older. We can even get to the point where we get bored of incarnation altogether.
Creating experiences is life changing. The soul abandons the work-consume-sleep lifestyle, assumes an inspired or artistic lifestyle, and pursues its heart’s desire as a musician, painter, writer, inventor, or business developer.
The inspired-artistic life is a wonderful life, but there is still something greater: the pursuit of enlightenment. Enlightenment expands experiences vertically. It takes us beyond planetary experiences and allows us to discover other realities and unknown aspects our self.
An average man doesn’t do this, though. The world is never a mystery for him, and when he arrives at old age he is convinced he has nothing more to live for. An old man has not exhausted the world. He has exhausted only what people do. But in his stupid confusion he believes that the world has no more mysteries for him. What a wretched price to pay for our shields! A warrior is aware of this confusion and learns to treat things properly. The things that people do cannot, under any conditions, be more important than the world. And thus, a warrior treats the world as an endless mystery and what people do as an endless folly. — Carlos Castaneda, A Separate Reality, page 219
Enlightenment is inevitable because every experience, however insignificant, evolves consciousness. It is irreversible because the soul extracts wisdom, understanding, and empathy from every experience and adds them to its eternal repertoire.
We have our ups and downs, but overall, we progress. We know that we progressed when we notice that our most depressed states are at a higher level than the highest of past exaltations. Like in this graph:
The great enlightenment agent is spirit.
Spirit is vitality. It animates consciousness and hence all living beings.
We can’t separate spirit from consciousness. Where there is a living being, there is consciousness, and where there is consciousness, there is a sentient being. We got a trinity:
Spirit is the root of all mental energies: drives, desires, motivations, and aspirations.
Inspirations are not just realizations. Inspiration injects spirit into our consciousness.
As our consciousness gains and loses spirit, it moves up and down the Enlightenment Value Chain – from suicidal to enlightenment – like quicksilver inside a thermometer.
Andrew Solomon confirmed this in his inspiring talk on depression. He said that the opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality.
Inspiration keeps us alive, kicking, dreaming, curious, passionate, and yearning. Inspiration vitalizes our consciousness, enlightens our mind, and increases physical health and longevity.
Inspiration has galvanized people to raise civilizations, discover new lands, climb the highest mountains and dive into the deepest seas, build the Hanging Gardens, compose the Ode to Joy, paint the Mona Lisa, and fight for freedom and political equality.
Motivation is all about psyching up. People motivate themselves to carry on doing what they are doing. This is good if they are on the right track, but twice as bad when they’re on the wrong track. It can pull people into the hound race.*
Inspiration encourages you to leave your box. They evolve your capacity to experience.
Sometimes we can’t cope with inspirations. Inspirations bring change and change worries us. The fear of change is the handbrake of social and personal progress. This is no joke. Anxiety disorders are the most common psychological issues in the U.S.A., affecting 40 million adults above age eighteen. That’s eighteen percent of the population (source: National Institute of Mental Health). Almost half of all people diagnosed with an anxiety disorder are also diagnosed with depression.
Fear motivates soldiers to keep fighting, but they need to be inspired by unconditional comradeship to risk their lives for their buddies. During the famous battle at Thermopylae 7,000 Greek warriors defied an army of 150,000 Persians for three days. Spoils and fear motivated the Persian soldiers. The thought of their families inspired the Greeks – a world of difference.
* Aka rat race. I call it hound race because it’s rather a race of predators than scavengers.
Traditional psychology deals with mental issues. It takes people from suicidal to neutral.
Positive psychology has higher ambitions. It helps people to lead a motivated and inspired life.
Traditional and positive psychology limit themselves to the psychology of the ego, subconsciousness, and the bodily consciousness.
Enlightenment psychology goes beyond traditional and positive psychology because it evolves the mind. It promotes heightened awareness, the realization of the soul and the higher self, and enables access to other realities. The ultimate attainment is nothing short of cosmic consciousness.
The purpose of biological evolution is not fitness. The purpose is the evolution of consciousness.
Nature can take organisms only to the level of Homo sapiens. Incarnate souls need to carry on where nature left off and perform an artificial and individual evolution.
This artificial-individual evolution takes place all the time. Having an experience evolves our consciousness. Learning to read evolves our consciousness. Learning math evolves our consciousness. Learning to know a person evolves our consciousness.
The lower areas of the Enlightenment Value Chain – from suicidal to motivated life – are about learning how planetary life works.
Karma and adversity drive learning. Experiences teach us what works and what doesn’t. Schools adapted karma. If you learn you will get good grades. If you don’t, you will get bad grades. Parents adapted karma. If you do good they will reward you. If you do bad, they might punish you.
There comes a moment in every soul’s career — after many incarnations — when it is ready to go beyond planetary experiences and pursue enlightenment.
This moment arrives in the form of a spiritual awakening. An initiation or a vision awakens the soul to the fact that there are other realities and higher, unbeknown aspects of the self.
If the soul embraces its awakening, it will pursue enlightenment. Enlightenment is a different type of learning. External experiences can’t reveal that we are immortal souls, nor that there are other realities. On the contrary, external experiences distract us from the truth about the self. Enlightenment requires initiation.
Enlightenment reconnects us to the higher self. This gives us an evolutionary edge. Before karma and adversity pushed us. If we practice enlightenment, the higher self will also pull us. And we will enjoy its protection and guidance.
Enlightenment has two basic phases:
During the initial phase, the soul learns enlightenment principles, aligns thoughts and feelings and desires to those principles, declutters the mind, puts its incarnation in order, and improves the strength and health of its body.
The Enlightenment Workshop helps with the first phase.
The great work accelerates the individual-artificial evolution and transforms the body-mind vehicle into an enhanced organism. This enhanced organism enables illumination and enlightenment stages that come after.
The Enlightenment Workshop does not teach the great work. If you are interested in the great work, contact us, and we will let you know where you can learn that.
If you want to get started with the first phase right away, you can read some articles and/or take the two-year practical enlightenment email course:
Not much sticks from reading non fiction. What makes ideas stick? Practice.
Our body-mind-soul vehicle compares to a machine that lacks a few parts and needs fine-tuning. It works (it lives), but it could run so much better.
If we read the manual (enlightenment literature), we’ll get acquainted with all the gears, springs, belts, bearings, pins, and lubricants. Then, we get to work and clean, repair, enhance, and fine-tune our organism.
Many enlightenment books are like manuals. I started out writing an enlightenment manual too. But halfway through, I stopped. No need for another reference book. I decided to focus on practicalities instead. That’s why I created the enlightenment workshop.
The goal of practical enlightenment is to lead a professional enlightened life.
Professionalism means sticking to the right principles no matter what. If you sail out to the sea, you better trust your maps and GPS or you will get lost.
Do you play chess? A grandmaster can calculate eight moves ahead, common players three to four moves. Four moves already entail 70,000 possible combinations, so, how does a chess master deal with such a variety of possibilities? He eliminates bad moves by thinking strategically – meaning he adheres to chess principles. Without strategy, a chess player is doomed.
Life is much more complex than a chess game. The rules are fluid, and the board has unlimited fields. Worse, you play many boards at the same time, like your family board, your career board, and your social board. Without enlightenment, we are doomed.
Enlightenment initiates you into cosmic principles, in particular, the principles of evolution. Living according to enlightened principles is life-changing.
How do you know whether you found an enlightenment principle and not a fixed idea? Fixed ideas need a lot of justification. Example: Souls have only one shot at incarnation. It needs a lot of explanation why immortal souls in a universe that lasts googolplexes of years, should live only once for sixty to eighty years.
Cosmic principles, on the other hand, speak for themselves. They shine like stars in the sky. We are immortal souls having as many planetary adventures as we want — that makes immediate sense.
I hope you will enjoy the Enlightenment Workshop and discover an inspiration or two. If you have questions or want to get in contact with me, please use this form.
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