Is Enlightenment Just Mental Illness?

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This is pretty confronting for me to write about, but I feel it is a perspective many of us need to review.

How many people genuinely want enlightenment? How many of us take this ride because everything else in life is working for us? How many of us actually have choice around this concept? How many people want this because they want to be happy? How many of us are stuck on this idealism, or for that matter, any idealism? Where does this passion for idealism spring from within us? Does our idealism spring from a perspective of gain or lack?

What is the real cause for enlightenment? Why do we want this? Is it to serve humanity? Is it for our own ego?

We become so engaged in people who have such idealist perspectives and feel passionate about their ideals and we then align ourselves with whatever one feels right for us. Because it gives us a sense of purpose in what many of us feel is an otherwise dull life. There are many people espousing such great truths regarding enlightenment it is captivating.

Is this the best driver and avenue for our passion? Where does passion develop itself in us? Are we still placing our passion for Christ, evolutionary enlightenment and/or integral theory outside of self?
Could it be possible that many of us need to cease pursuing, but live as a humble human being with no attachment to our dreams and ideals for awhile, to enjoy the bliss of just being human, and to feel passionate about our life?

How many of us could sustain this? How many of us can cope when we are not pursuing some cause, dream or ideal? It is very captivating to become engaged in someone else’s ideal, following a religion, spiritual quest and/or humanitarian venture isn’t it? We find the people who lead these compelling and enigmatic – we want to be a part of the dream, it fuels us and gives our lives meaning.

I have spent the past 20 years interested in people, development, spirituality and the commitment to this calling that became very strong when I turned 27. It had always been a part of my life since I was 10 years old, as I had an “out there” mother who read Louise Hay and was on the Pritikin diet… hee hee. As I went into my 27th year though, it was like a boulder hit me and I had to change direction in my life. I left all that I knew and embarked upon an intense journey – what I called my spiritual journey.

This gave me a sense of meaning, when all I had experienced in the corporate world was to me superficial and of no nourishment to my inner world. Having reached some success in the normal way we measure this, I felt I needed something more, so I embraced the spiritual domain. That meant I went to many courses – Caroline Myss, Landmark Education, John Demartini, Anthony Robbins, NLP, coach training and many others. I read every book out there by Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Williamson, David Deida and Ken Wilber to name a few. I meditated everyday, ate whole foods, and drank herbal concoctions, attended kinesiology, acupuncture, worked as a Life Coach, saw psychics, practiced yoga, yet visited traditional doctors regarding my persistent seizures and allergies to food.

I found integral life practices worked for me. I found faith in the divine. I was able to work and live what I thought was my life purpose. I slowly became righteous and arrogant as well. I would still breakdown emotionally in stressful situations. Life was still hard at times with moments and days of joy and peace. I would often give my spiritual experiences more meaning, thinking they were ‘amazing’ and I was enlightened. I laugh now at my ego responses!

Then I started to look at us all. I reviewed all that we ingest and started to take what I felt was of value by following some doctrines and embraced the perspectives of many, but at the same time was unable to find my own. I then embraced my own freethinking and chose not to follow one particular way, but follow many perspectives. I developed permission to have my own opinions and express these as my critical thinking. I learnt how to accept others opinions and perspectives.

I realised that the journey is really about transcending our ego, yet remaining in relationship with the illusion of this. The commitment this takes is gruelling. I once thought it was amazing how I continued. Unlike many around me, I just ploughed through. I now see this was just what I call my ‘autism’ – my obsession with my special interest. It may not have been commitment or willpower to my spiritual path that kept me determined (whilst I judged other people as less committed). It might have been an actual physical and chemical hiccup in my brain that I was born with, within my frontal lobes.

The body mind is key on your spiritual journey and so much of the spiritual teachings discard it asking us to transcend our body. I disagree there is a wealth of information within our neurology that creates the ways we live, behave and react to life. This must be addressed for us to truly experience our being. Our goodness just springs forth as it resides within us all. It does not mean suddenly the path get easier. The spiritual journey of you choosing to find relationship in a healthy way with your ego can be a harrowing and excruciating process as you break down.

Yet as we move into living as our authentic self, we do experience joy and happiness, but we earn it. Many of us kid ourselves whilst in this process “that we are spiritual” and this somehow gives us some self-importance and we may even wear it like a badge. Many people even code these apparent ‘mystical’ experiences as grand and this means they are evolved. I wonder are these just extreme mental illness states – of schizophrenic and bipolar episodes that we do not want to address. For so many of us, we have chemical and physical deficiency in the brain at so many levels, that keeps us behaving in ways we have no consciousness around. The spiritual path can cover this up and code it as mystical, which only feeds our ego and narcissism. We could spend time becoming chemically and structurally in balance, therefore rational living becomes your norm. There may even be less of a high and low experienced, but a constant state to your being. This may be experienced as dull and feel like nothing, but from this place is where we can really and truly develop relationship to our source. We seek salvation in the spiritual and personal development realm because it feeds our narcissism, even under the illusion we want freedom from all of this. What a paradox! It also keeps us righteous and arrogant.

It also keeps us mentally ill. Big call huh? The craziness that you feel when you truly wish to move beyond your dual self, can feel like you are loopy. It more than likely is caused because of the internal conflict we have with our sense of separation from the world. We also have no idea how separate we live and make ourselves. Many have such a profound relationship to the invisible, yet a poor relationship to human beings. We walk through completely unaware of how we continue to affirm this within us. The body has a chemical, physical, or emotional response and maybe all three go off at once, activated by certain triggers in the world – people, situations, food, emotions etc. When this happens what can occur is anxiety, food allergies, mental illness, delusion, uncertainty, depression, auto immune disorders, a false sense of power, a feeling of inertia and despondency. All this is confirmation of our separate self and how it drives us, it takes us further and further away from the authentic self – the goodness, the real power that lives within.

I wonder how many people are seeking salvation in enlightenment to just cover up their mental illness? How many only hang out with people that feel safe to them and create a lifestyle that is very controlled? How many people who apparently want unity, actually create lives of complete separation from real life and people under the guise they are spiritual? How many of us search for an ideal so we can feel safe?

I think many of us kid ourselves of this on the consciousness journey. We may be coded this lifetime to love in its purest form as a vehicle of consciousness. Maybe many of us are here to contribute to new ways of living and being? We may all have a unique voice and tune to play, we may be here to lead and develop theories and we may be here for a big purpose? I do not know. What I do see though, is so many of us feel compelled to find some sort of salvation in something none of us can see. Be it energy, I am, the divine, God, Buddha – we are curious?

We follow great teachers and geniuses with strong ideals and this creates some sanctuary for us. They are powerful and enigmatic and this keeps us alive. It motivates us to be a part of a big vision. To be a part of co-creation.

Yet what I am posing is – could there be a way that is birthing itself now in the world that is beyond this norm? Could we co-construct a new norm together, igniting each person’s individual whole self, working then in collaboration within society, enlightenment and consciousness that goes beyond the past – to a way of leading, creating, union and living that we do not know? That must birth itself, not from what we know, but from people who can truly sit without an ideal, without strength in numbers, without having to belong. With a strong sense of their individuation, yet allowing all to take form in an organic and natural way, could that be how we create a new culture?

Could we as individuals be being called to transcend all of our ideals that are in the way of this possibility? Including all of our beliefs at all levels of development, to accept and live in humility and grace. Including many of our beliefs specifically about how you must live and be if on the spiritual path? To be whole as best a human can be and appreciate simple living, to choose to live fully and wholeheartedly in the simplicity of our self. To be a vehicle of consciousness without our ingrained nature who unconsciously relates through our ego. Without the need to belong, without the need to be creating something, without the need to be obsessed with an ideal.

Maybe it is as simple as we are here to be your being-ness, to be the living expression of source and amongst all perspectives – all the people who live with you. To connect with the being-ness of the people in your life, knowing this exists beyond their ego. We as humans have that challenge. In this place you are at ease, yet fully participating. You are emotionally, energetically and physically one. The duality is less reactive. You are in relationship with your soul. Creation then becomes an expression of goodness through you. Yet you are free of striving for something, you are free of your compulsive nature. You are free of your obsessions or need to have your life be a certain way. Your brain chemistry and your neurology works in alignment with the greater part of you.

Collaboration, teamwork and community takes on a whole new form, where we partner as whole individuals, from gain rather than lack and this occurs organically. We welcome the new without referencing the old. We truly open ourselves up for the birthing of all aspects of life, willing to participate in what comes. You truly live day-to-day in the glory of what life brings. This is the space of gain and you experience gain. The vibration you emit is neutral, yet fully engaged in the wondrous nature of life.

For this to become our reality and for many more humans whom are happy to live this way, we must transcend and include our ego and its need to be doing something for the world. Our need to be so important and our need to have our model of creation and collaboration designed and met by others. We must see how mentally ill we become when we stay attached to our ideals.

This means you have to be able to SEE self. Not through others, but through you. The deeper part of you is calling this forth. As this happens though, you become aware of how you react through your fragmented self. How this leads you in life to make the choices that you make. How it drives you to relate in the ways you relate. This would look like you NOT buying into the collective norms we have built as a society. It would mean you think freely. You feel fullness and freedom deep within your being. You genuinely are sincere with others, not condescending or protective, compassion is what you deeply feel for all of life including yourself. You follow, yet not in blind faith, you utilise your feeling centre as your guidance centre knowing goodness.

Stop clinging people to an ideal that makes you feel safe and worthy. You are worthy without an ideal or way of life you ‘should’ be living. Live what your goodness wants – live as the wholeness that we all are. Take action to clean up your vibration, take action to address your deep emotional wounds that collate and collect deep within your cells and DNA. Take time out from how you live your life if need be, to develop the source that is within you. Be courageous enough to express yourself and be this with everyone that you know.

Then get out there with all you know and shout. Communicate and be your goodness, share this with the world with glee. In whatever voice springs forth, allow yourself and others to express this new frequency that the planet so desperately needs.

Stop reading – ingesting another philosophy (including my opinion here today ha ha ha)– what do you think and feel? There is a deep truth that reigns within us all. Create space for this to breathe through you.

Sarah McIntyre

Sarah McIntyre is a distinctive voice in the consciousness movement today. Her revolutionary thinking opens the way for us all to step beyond what we know and to investigate and utilise our own internal guide in everyday life to make living life harmonious and joyful. Sarah graduated with a Bachelor of Business in Law and HR in 1991 then began her career in the corporate world as a Recruitment Consultant in 1994 in London and then in Sydney placing leaders in banking and finance.

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