Is Enlightenment a Choice?

Is Enlightenment a Choice?

Awakening and deep shifts in consciousness are driven by grace, the movement of Divinity. That is not a personal choice. Enlightenment is post-personal development so why would personal choice have a say?

Because there is a process of participation that happens before and after the main shifts. Opportunities arise like practices, study, satsang, sangha, integration, and so forth. Do we engage them or not?

For some people, this process feels like a choice. Or rather a series of choices that move us into position and prepare the ground. We become seekers and choose a spiritual practice, teacher, community, and so forth.  

Some people struggle with choice and drift from teaching to teaching, always looking but never choosing. Never committing to a path. Others make choices to change paths or abandon the path at some point.

But there are people that experience the process more like a destiny. There may appear to be choices being made, but it feels more like a push than a choice. They’re born into a life designed to finish things up. The stage is set and enlightenment is destined.

The right teacher shows up, the practice is sustained, knowledge arises, and things move towards the “goal.” There is less experimentation and more direct opportunities.

Sometimes there can be a lot of life changes too. A series of careers, relationships, homes, interests, or whatever, as we move through experiencing what remains to be finished up.

We can see any of these approaches as variations in subjective perspective. But it seems that some people’s lives are fundamentally about spiritual development. Like so much else in life, this is much easier to see in retrospect.

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  1. To be clear, choice requires discrimination. Just because an option shows up doesn’t mean we should chase it. The question is always – will it contribute or is it just another fad?

    “We become seekers and choose a spiritual practice, teacher, community, and so forth.” This is quite distinct from choosing this, then choosing that, then choosing the next. I’ve know people who flitted from teaching to teaching for decades. Who was the latest teacher coming through town?

    For some, it does take time and exploration to find a valid path. But some people are prone to collect concepts, practices, and paths in a rush to get there. We can end up flitting about, or overdoing practices, or adapting conflicting approaches, or muddling things together.

    Here’s where the KISS principle applies. 🙂

  2. Jim

    Thank you David for another clear and simple post on a potentially murky and complex subject. 🙂

    Yeah, it is tough in today’s world to have the patience to both find a fruitful practice and stick with it. Important too to encourage hobbies, careers, relationships and the like as consciousness deepens, vs. focusing too much on the ongoing unfolding of awareness.

    The thing about a deeply spiritual life is the spiritual component becomes so embedded, so central as a nourishing source and compass, that as progress is made, “spiritual life” is rendered less and less visible as a surface component, being so well threaded into everything else.

  3. Christine

    If I had to describe it, it does feel like it was meant to happen. I haven’t sought out a spiritual path as such, things have just fallen into place as life has carried me along.

    It’s as if that has happened as I’ve consciously been attending to the difficulties life has thrown my way. I do wonder if life is as it is so that Enlightenment can happen, although I realise I only have my own experience to go on.

    1. Hi Christine
      Thanks for sharing. I’ve had the same impression. In retrospect, many events and challenges seem designed to support the process. Clarity, stability, grounding, and so forth often require strong experiences.

      This was especially clear in the initial period when several stages happened quickly. My outer life changed to support that, although that wasn’t obvious at the time.

      People also observe that anything that isn’t congruent in life will fall away at some point.

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