Archangel Michael’s recent message through Ronna Herman discusses the rise of world servers. (1) Undoubtedly this is a continuous process and will happen before and after Ascension.
He specifies that they’ll be enlightened beings and, of course, all of us will as a result of Ascension. And we needn’t go through the rigors that ancient sages needed to to reach that happy culmination because of the assistance that the rising vibrations on the planet are giving us.
The raising of the vibrations is what all paths to enlightenment achieve. At the end of each 26,000-year epoch, it becomes very much easier to ascend than it did for the spiritual initiates centuries and millennia ago.
Still it can be useful to hear the way the ancients accomplished it. I take my research from terrestrial sages, as found in From Darkness Unto Light at http://goldengaiadb.com/From_Darkness_to_Light.
What is enlightenment? There’ll be many different definitions. The one I prefer is that enlightenment is a radical discontinuity in experiencing which sees a person move from everyday consciousness to a greatly expanded awareness and knowledge, the certainty of being immortal, the experience of joy and bliss, etc.
There are stages of enlightenment with names like spiritual awakening (fourth-chakra enlightenment), cosmic consciousness (sixth-chakra), God-Realization (seventh chakra) and Sahaja Samadhi (a permanent heart opening, Ascension, Fifth-Dimensionality, Moksha). There are many stages beyond these, until one finally merges again with God.
Very few sages identify the level of enlightenment they’re discussing. Most are referring to God-Realization. Very few people on the planet today have yet experienced Sahaja Samadhi. An example of a sage who did is Ramana Maharshi.
Those who have ascended early have experienced what Archangel Michael called “Ascension lite.” They’ve entered the vestibule of the Fifth Dimension but have not yet experienced the full enlightenment available in the higher subplanes of the Fifth. Some gatekeepers (early risers) I know have ascended as many as three times. And how radiant they look!
The paths to enlightenment are many, one for each sense door and proclivity. But three factors are essential to cause us to rise. The first is the ability to discriminate between what is permanent and what impermanent, what is Real and what unreal, as Sri Ramakrishna tells us: “Discrimination means to know the distinction between the Real and the unreal.” (2)
So important is the development of discrimination that Sri Krishna cautions us: “Lose discrimination, and you miss life’s only purpose.” (3)
When a person lacks discrimination and his mind is uncontrolled, the Upanishads explain, “his senses are unmanageable, like the restive horses of a charioteer. But when a man has discrimination and his mind is controlled, his senses, like the well-broken horses of a charioteer, lightly obey the rein.” (4)
Sri Ramakrishna adds: “With the awakening of the spirit of discrimination a man wants to know God.” (5) The awakening of the desire to know God did not come easily in former years.
The second pre-requisite is to let go of the many desires for things and pleasures of the world, which constitute the unreal. As Sri Krishna tells us: “Devotees enter into Him when the bonds of their desires are broken. To reach this goal, they practice control of the passions.” (6)
The Upanishads point to the central difficulty with desires for sensual pleasures:
“The Self-Existent made the senses turn outward. Accordingly, man looks toward what is without, and sees not what is within. Rare is he who, longing for immortality, shuts his eyes to what is without and beholds the Self.” (7)
Lao Tzu advises us: “Let the senses go. Let desires go. Let conflicts go. Let ideas go. Let the fiction of life and death go. Just remain in the center, watching. And then forget that you are there.” (8)
The third prerequisite is devotion or attachment to the Real, God, the divine qualities, etc. As Sri Ramakrishna says: “[The way is] attachment to God, or, in other words, love for Him.” (9)
This devotion to God causes longing or yearning for God to arise, without which there is no match to start the fire. Sri Ramakrishna tells us:
“Nothing whatever is achieved in spiritual life without yearning.” (10)
“Longing is like the rosy dawn. After the dawn out comes the sun. Longing is followed by the vision of God.” (11)
The anonymous author of The Cloud of Unknowing gives us a deeper look at the longing required:
“Your whole life now must be one of longing, if you are to achieve perfection. And this longing must be in the depths of your will, put there by God, with your consent. …
“Hate to think of anything but God himself, so that nothing occupies your mind or ever will but only God. Try to forget all created things that he ever made, and the purpose behind them, so that your thought and longing do not turn or reach out to them in general or in particular.” (12)
One outcome of this process is transcendence of the ego and the weakening or end of separative consciousness, as Adyashanti explains here:
“Enlightenment is not only the experience of transcending the me; it’s also a condition where the me, as a separate somebody, doesn’t hold importance anymore. It doesn’t always start out this absolute, but this is the direction non-personal love pushes you toward.” (13)
Put together these three pre-requisites tell us to discriminate between the Real and the unreal, detach ourselves from the unreal, and devote ourselves to the Real. This is the basic spiritual movement.
A paradox of enlightenment is that only God can realize God. Zarathustra tells us: “The final victory is the Lord God’s own.” (14) Many other sages say the same thing. To really cement this point, let’s look at a few sages’ words.
Ibn Arabi: “Only God sees God.” (15)
Byazid of Bistun: “I went from God to God, until they cried from me in me, ‘O thou I!’” (16)
Sri Ramakrishna: “Only grandeur appreciates grandeur: and God realizes God.” (17)
Franklin Merrell-Woolf: “This space I produce that My Glory shall be revealed; yet I alone Realize that Revelation.” (18)
Enlightenment is in fact God meeting God. I maintain that this is the reason God created this illusory world: to have the pleasure of meeting himself (herself/itself) when God is the only thing that exists: One without a second.
This is a gloss on the generic path to enlightenment. Everyone will choose their own specific path, whether it be service, worship, meditation, or something else. And all who wish in this lifetime will achieve a high state of enlightenment (Sahaja Samadhi) when full, mass Ascension is complete.