As I was growing up, especially because I was the child of two lay ministers of a mystical Christian Church, I noticed that religion destroyed as many people as it saved. So, I watched not only my own parents religion destroy and save an equal amount of people, I noticed this happening in all religions. So, even though I saw the value of it all when it really worked I also saw all the destruction as well. This made me want to find a better system to move forward with than most religions I was exposed to as a child. I found the system for me by combining my love of nature and the wilderness with what I came to see as being enlightenment in all its forms.
I guess the way I would personally define enlightenment would be the opposite of ignorance regarding every subject you can presently think of or imagine. And in the process of becoming enlightened it literally runs the gamut of everything one could possibly study, I suppose, regarding both religion and science and university study and the study of humans, animals, plants, trees, nature, other planets other worlds, theoretical worlds and systems of belief both practiced and theoretical. So, one of the hallmarks of someone becoming enlightened is a love of learning new things and meeting interesting people. However, when one finds something important like a new form of meditation or prayer or diet or travel as a meditation or anything that makes ones life better and not worse could also be considered to be a part of becoming enlightened.
My son was telling me that one of the people that graduated in his class of nurses recently jumped off her Nursing building at the California State University that he graduated from. He said the fall didn't kill her but the blood clot from breaking her pelvis did eventually. He said people who become nurses usually have been hurt emotionally or physically in their lives and so they want to heal people as a way of healing the hurt inside themselves. He said people who haven't been hurt usually don't want to help other people and tend to be more selfish. I had to think about what he was saying in the full context of this young woman who took her own life who was in the top of her class before she graduated about a year ago now. He also said his now ex-wife who graduated a semester after him this last June had passed her certification test and could now legally work as a nurse anywhere in the U.S. or around the world after a couple of years of working in the U.S. He is trying to process going on without his wife. However, since this is his second marriage I don't think I will have to go on suicide watch with him like he was during his first divorce.
So, enlightenment is learning about yourself and everything around you that you need to know to survive. Enlightenment is finding a purpose for your life. Enlightenment is a way of looking at things and looking forward to the next amazing thing you are going to learn. Enlightenment is being happy when someone wants to learn about what you have learned over the years and teaching them things so they might not have to suffer like you did to learn whatever it is firsthand. Enlightenment is living as long as you can so your friends and relatives don't kill themselves because they are despondent if and when you die. Enlightenment is being grateful for each new day of life.
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