Definition of Enlightenment

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meditationonrockWe have arrived at the conclusion that most people have the necessary higher brain faculties, which we are calling spiritual faculties (you could also call them higher mental abilities), for “enlightenment“.  Using these abilities to their fullest extent will enable us to maximise our achievements in life, and most likely result in us feeling happier and being healthier.  This may also lead on to us experiencing what has been termed self-realisation or enlightenment, although some uncertainty remains as to exactly what this state is and how easily it is attained.  There are no drawbacks to using your higher mental abilities.

As we discussed in the previous sections on the Mental faculties, how we use the prefrontal cortex of our brain plays a large part in determining what sort of life we lead.  How happy we are,  what sort of influence we have over others and the impact our lives have on society.  There is a wide range of abilities for the population on the planet, and it certainly does not appear that we are all equal even though we should all have the necessary faculties in our brains.  Physical variation plays a small part, but it is how we use our mental faculties that makes the biggest difference.

Let me now give a definition of self-realization based upon the ability to use the faculties of the higher brain.  Spiritual practices such as yoga and meditation may well be essential in development of our prefrontal cortex to sufficiently express these qualities.  Let’s quickly review again the human brain diagram, paying particular attention to the prefrontal cortex area at the top of the diagram (blue):

Brain Pics 2.1 - Full

You are self-realised or enlightened when:

  • You are free from desires and vices and addictions, ie you are in control and no longer ruled by the reward system.
  • Your base emotions are under control; you control the amygdala, it does not control you.
  • The expression of the ego is minimal.
  • You have control over the Salience Network (Will power), and are able to switch between the Default Mode Network and the Central Executive Network at will.  You will spend most of your waking hours with the CEN active.
  • In a state of rest when the CEN is not actively engaged in solving problems, it will connect directly with the proprioception sensory area in the Parietal cortex, which will provide the best possible sensory experience of the immediate surroundings.


Is it important to be Enlightened?

Clearly the majority of the 7 billion or so people on planet Earth are not enlightened.  Is this a problem?  It can’t be.  Hopefully the entire human race is slowly evolving towards the goal.  I propose that it is something that we have to deliberately strive towards, and any move in that direction is beneficial to our current well-being, health and happiness.