The Trap of Spiritual Enlightenment As a Goal | Amber Hawken Mindfulness Based CBT | YouTube Video

My thoughts on enlightenment as a goal…

Now, these are just my thoughts, and there are many nuances, interpretations and lenses to look through when it comes to the purpose of life and *enlightenment*.

Someone I have learned a great deal about this topic is Chögyam Trungpa who I have referred to in my work many times over the years. Here is what he says,

“AS LONG AS we follow a spiritual approach promising salvation, miracles, liberation, then we are bound by the “golden chain of spirituality.” Such a chain might be beautiful to wear, with its inlaid jewels and intricate carvings, but nevertheless, it imprisons us. People think they can wear the golden chain for decoration without being imprisoned by it, but they are deceiving themselves. As long as one’s approach to spirituality is based upon enriching ego, then it is spiritual materialism, a suicidal process rather than a creative one. All the promises we have heard are pure seduction. We expect the teachings to solve all our problems; we expect to be provided with magical means to deal with our depressions, our aggressions, our sexual hangups. But to our surprise we begin to realize that this is not going to happen. It is very disappointing to realize that we must work on ourselves and our suffering rather than depend upon a savior or the magical power of yogic techniques. It is disappointing to realize that we have to give up our expectations rather than build on the basis of our preconceptions. We must allow ourselves to be disappointed, which means the surrendering of me-ness, my achievement. We would like to watch ourselves attain enlightenment, watch our disciples celebrating, worshiping, throwing flowers at us, with miracles and earthquakes occurring and gods and angels singing and so forth. This never happens. The attainment of enlightenment from ego’s point of view is extreme death, the death of self, the death of me and mine, the death of the watcher. It is the ultimate and final disappointment. Treading the spiritual path is painful. It is a constant unmasking, peeling off of layer after layer of masks. It involves insult after insult.”

So, here is my take and my suggestion. 

End the search, ground your feet and face what you’re trying to escape through spiritual practices with an open, vulnerable and curious heart.

The sparkle of *getting to the enlightened* top of the imaginary mountain has us dressing up for the part, forgetting we’re not meant to ever really reach the finale.

The goal isn’t to arrive at a place, it’s to continuously be with what’s right here.

A lot of suffering exists because we’re not willing to embrace what’s in front of us and within us.

The goal is what’s here.

It’s often nothing more extravagant than YOU with this moment.

Making the bed.

Brushing your teeth.

Wiping your tears.

Paying your bills.

Walking to the bus.

Paying attention to your breath.

Making love.

Allowing grief to move through you the way it needs.

Practicing saying no.

Practicing saying yes.

Letting this moment feel full.

Letting this moment feel empty.

We think that the point is to pass the test or fix the problems, but the truth is that things don’t really get fixed.

They come together and they fall apart.

Then they do it again.

This is how it is.

The sense of wholeness we crave comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen.

Room for sadness, for anger, for happiness, for ecstasy while not getting too bothered by the continuous shape shifting of life. When we let life play, we really begin to realise that *this* here and now is actually what life has in store for us.

So we do not need to pretend to be something or seek to make something of our life.

We are that something.

And this very raw, ordinary moment without anything added or subtracted away, is it.

Check out this video for perspective on cycles as opposed to a line that goes from beginning to end.


Once you have taken a look, I would love for you to comment below how you feel sitting with the idea that perhaps, you are where you need to be, no matter how it looks. Let me know below.


One Comment on “The Trap of Spiritual Enlightenment As a Goal | Amber Hawken Mindfulness Based CBT | YouTube Video

  1. You have explained this so easily to understand. Now I’m going to start practising being in the present more often now thankyou from the bottom of my heart

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