One of my number one goals in my life has been to become enlightened.
There are many definitions of enlightenment, such as Kant’s but in a nutshell it is about achieving a hightened perspective in life that helps us avoid suffering.
Enlightened people are rare but there are some examples, such as The Dalai Lama. They are often the quieter ones, the ones helping out their fellow man, the ones protecting the environment, the ones living their entire lives helping those in need.
Eckhart Tolle once spoke about how enlightenment leads to release from ego. And because of that, they tend to think and act differently to the rest of us. Certainly Buddha, the icon of enlightenment, had certain personality traits that distinguished him from all around him.
Some examples of enlightened people include:
- Huangbo Xiyun
- Suzanne Segal
- Shunryu Suzuki
- Jesus Christ (although Christians might not use the term “enlightened”)
- Lao Tzu
So what qualities do these enlightened people share in common? Let’s take a look.
1: Physically normal
Enlightened people don’t have anything abnormal or special about them in a physical sense. At least, not at first glance. Physical beauty is not a sign of an enlightened person necessarily. To tell if someone is enlightened you will need to look deeper.
It’s in the way they move more than anything. Because they have heightened levels of consciousness, they tend to move very deliberately and in graceful ways. You certainly won’t find them bumbling or twitching nervously. They always look relaxed and at peace.
I actially notice this myself. After I’ve meditated for a long time I start to move more gracefully. Actually I swear that meditation makes you attractive.
Probably the universal trait of an enlightened person is that they are peaceful inside and out. You won’t find them stressing or being angry. Even in the midst of chaos they hold within themselves the most impenetrable peacefulness. People like Thich Nhat Hanh are calm no matter what.
3: Speak Gently But With Purpose
They always speak gently, compassionately, but with true purpose. They won’t get in arguments, but they are also strong enough to stand up for themselves. They use non-violent communication as their mother tongue, and they are always compassionate in the way they speak to others.
They are more motivated by compassion than anything else. You can see that in the way they look after animals or love their friends and family. They are the first people to be there when someone is suffering. And they are loved for this.
As compassionate as they are to others, they are equally compassionate to themselves. They know that they themselves are a unique individual who is as worthy as love as anyone in the world. Actually this is one of the main lessons that I myself had to learn on my path to enlightenment. I had to learn to be as compassionate to myself as I am to others.
6: Have purpose
Enlightened people have a genuine purpose in this world, and it is always for the betterment of the universe. They’re the ones heading out to Africa to help starving children. They’re the ones causing change and driving the evolution of consciousness. You can tell if a person is enlightened because they have a sense of purpose in everything they do. And I must say that this is one aspect of enlightenment that I have nailed, because I live my life with a very clear purpose: to teach meditation.
No matter what it is you are afraid of, ashamed of or embarrassed by, you will never be afraid to tell an enlightened person, because they will never judge you. They’re the ones you can share your darkest times and they will be a beacon of hope amid chaos. They are there for you without question, without a thought of reward.
8: Impervious To Temptation
Because they have such high degrees of self awareness, temptations do not sway them. Where many people cave in under the pressure of temptation, enlightened people have an impenetrable integrity that always holds true. They will always stand by their principles no matter what. And they will never cave in to temptation. Sadly, I am still working on this one!
9: Know You Too Well
One sign of an enlightened person is that they see you for the true you. Because they have pure minds that are unswayed by personal bias, they can perceive things clearly. They can see you for who you truly are inside. When you’re around an enlightened person, you might get the impression that they know you better than you know yourself.
Many of them are also very empathetic. Although it should be noted that there are pros and cons of being an empath.
10: Contagious stillness
Possibly the number one sign is the stillness about them. While everyone else is dashing about, stressing, and being all too busy, they always maintain an inner stillness. You can feel how still and calm they are inside. They are never stressed, never anxious, never depressed, just still and calm.
If you’d like to learn more about enlightenment I recommend these books:
- The Power of Now (Eckhart Tolle)
- Tao Te Ching (Laozi)
- Siddhartha (Hermann Hesse)
- The Upanishads
I know that sometimes it can seem impossible to reach enlightenment. And at times I have doubted my own path too. But we must have faith.
When I consider how I have changed as a person over the years, it is clear to me that I am closer to enlightenment now than ever before.
So take heart, because enlightenment is possible.
Giving Is Caring
Paul Harrison BSc is a qualified meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in teaching meditation and mindfulness both to individuals and to corporations and is the author of four books on meditation. He has been featured in Psychology Today, Breathe Magazine, Healthline, Psych Central and Lion’s Roar.
Paul studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University.
Paul’s biggest inspirations include Thich Nhat Hanh, Jon Kabat Zinn, and Jack Kornfield.
“My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation” – Paul Harrison