Spiritual teachings on enlightenment speak to the nature of Being and Becoming in phenomenological terms. In other words, enlightenment teachings encourage the spiritual seeker to investigate the nature of their own mind and consciousness. Enlightenment entails Self-knowledge. Spiritual truth is not theoretical, but based on our direct experience– as an inquiry into the nature of our own Being.
There are two important aspects to most enlightenment teachings. One is mindfulness and meditation and the other is engagement in spiritual life. Both aspects encourage a movement from temporal worldly existence towards Real Being
Mindfulness is the quality or state of being conscious or aware. Mindfulness offers direct sense and awareness of Real Being. Mindfulness is developed through various practices, including: mediation, contemplation of the nature of the deity, or awareness of the eternal light and love in the heart. Mindfulness can also entail an inquiry into the nature of our own Being as free from illusions.
Spiritual Life emerges through contemplation of the spiritual teachings. We develop a living and meaningful relationship to the truth of Being through participation in Spiritual Life. Working with spiritual teachings encourages a relation to the eternal truth of our own Being. Spiritual teachings encourage Spiritual Life, as relationship with the innermost Self and archetypal forms that emerge therein.
Archetypes are found within all spiritual teachings. They appear in sacred texts, myths, parables, and arts. Archetypes emerge spontaneously within dreams, imagination, meditation and visions as well. Working with the spiritual nature of the archetypes encourages the spiritual seeker to clarify and realize the real nature of the archetypal form. To the dedicated spiritual aspirant, the forms may present the eternal truth of the Being, often coincident with the inner sense of light, love, and joy.
One might say that the various archetypal forms present subtle facets or aspects of Real Being. These facets in turn guide us beyond varied aspects toward an experiential center. This center is Real Being.
The movement from outer worldly life to inner spiritual life is a psychical transition not always easy for those steeped in Western ideology. This is in part because we are an outward oriented culture.
Carl Jung works with the movement from outer-life to inner-life, which he called introversion. This movement encourages a process of transformation. The symbols and images which arise from the depths of the Self spontaneously transform the psyche, leading toward the integration and wholeness of the Self.
Jung felt symbols and archetypes guide the process of Self-realization, and are ‘inherited.’ While this may in part be true, it is not the whole understanding. The Upanishads (ancient texts of Vedanta) show symbols are an expression of the Self-arising and Self-luminous nature of Being. Understanding this notion takes the spiritual seeker toward the horizon of enlightenment, readying the personality for realization of the truth and profundity of Real Being.