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Enlightenment is just the Beginning

Complete the path. Arrive.

In this video I talk about my life – about this one and the last one – and about what gives me the patience and stubbornness this time to really go all the way to the end and arrive.

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This video is about the core of what we came into this life to do – and it is not enlightenment. I was inspired to do this by many videos that keep catching my eye on YouTube: "Awakening in a second", "Awakening by making a small change", and so on. And although I can't judge the quality of such posts, it's basically true: awakening today is easier than ever before. It is not the result of any tricks, but of the special, blessed time we live in.

Enlightenment is "en vogue." It is no longer a suspiciously eyed esoteric term in the West, but has become a buzzword that sells well. But I can't find any videos about what it really is - and what comes after it. And that's a shame: few know that enlightenment is not a goal nor even important, and that it often goes unnoticed and merely marks the beginning of an adventurous journey that only ends in Heaven.

To fill this gap, I made this video: for people who, just like me, don't want to give this life away, but really want to walk the path to the end this time.

Complete text for reading along:

Good morning.

This morning, I want to talk about enlightenment and arriving, reaching; and for me, these are two different matters. Everybody talks about enlightenment. Everybody wants enlightenment, and everybody believes that with enlightenment, you reach the goal. Everybody has this idea: "When I become enlightened, everything will be different, and then I don't worry anymore, and I'm happy, and that's why I want enlightenment." But this is not my experience. And it's also not the experience of the people I know who experienced enlightenment. When you experience enlightenment, it really feels like everything is different: all the worries are gone, this identity of "I" is gone; this sense of "I have to do this", "I have to do that"; this is gone.

But this does not last. Those people who experience this, after a few weeks, after a few months, then they come and say: "Where did it go? It's all gone! I feel the same as I felt before." And in this video, I want to talk about what life really is about: that it is not about getting enlightened, but about reaching; about arriving at a state of being where you are rooted in your true nature; where there is no worry and no agony. There's a quiet, natural, subtle happiness and deep contentment with being. This is what I call Heaven.

And enlightenment is not the end. Enlightenment is the beginning. It's like this: you live your life, and all you know is the world and your body and your thoughts and your feelings and your desires and your wishes, your plans and your worries... that's all you know. And you try to make sense of this all, and you try to find meaning in life and find out what's really important. And then you work on your income and your security and your emotional happiness and on your health. And with an experience of enlightenment, you discover something completely new, which has nothing to do with these things. You experience a direction in you, and you experience it subtly but very very clearly, that has nothing to do with this identity of "I" and with the world and with the body. And this experience gives you a direction. It's like: "Wow, I didn't know that this exists. I can look into this direction."

But when people experience this, usually, what happens is they feel so different and so relieved and happy that they want to stay there. Then they think: "Oh, this is it! This is what life is about!" And in a way it's true. It gives you the taste of what's possible in life. It gives you a taste of why you are here. But it's only a little taste. It has nothing to do with the true goal. I make this video today to talk about the true goal. I want to talk about the difference between enlightenment and actually reaching, actually arriving. We live in a time where it has become so easy to experience enlightenment, and it has become so easy to start on that path towards arriving, towards reaching. And this is the special quality of this time. It has never been so easy as it is today. And that's why there are so many people in the world who do experience enlightenment these days, and that's why it's so easy to find videos and books and talks about this. People report about their experiences. They report about their enlightenment, and this is good.

But what most people do not talk about and what most people never hear about is that enlightenment is not the end. I'm very lucky in this life. I'm very very very lucky, because I had... 23 years ago, I came to my spiritual master Soham. And I'm so lucky because he's a really wise man. When I came to him, I already had an enlightenment experience in my life, two years earlier. People ask me: "How was this for you? What kind of experiences did you have, and how was it for you?" And in some videos, I talked about it actually, but I don't want to talk about it in this video, because in this video I want to talk about something else.

I don't want to talk about the experience, because first of all, the experience of enlightenment is different for every person. For you, it's different than it was for me. For some people, it's a grand experience, for other people, it's very very subtle, and there are people who don't even notice, and that's most of the people. They become aware of this new direction inwards, but you know: these times are so special, the energy is so conducive for this new path that it's so easy and so natural, that people don't even notice that they're just discovering a completely new path in life. So, there are all kinds of tastes possible when it comes to enlightenment. For some people, it's a big deal, for some people it's very subtle, and most people don't even notice anything special. And that's normal, because this whole thing is a natural process, it's nothing extraordinary which is "actually impossible". It's natural. It's inevitable that at some point in your life, you will discover this new direction.

And when it happened to me, 25 years ago, it was a very remarkable experience which I never forgot. I still... it's like I can still experience it right now. But I didn't take it important. I didn't make any big deal out of it. I noticed: "Oh, wow, wow, this is new. This..." But I didn't do anything with it. I didn't stop living. I didn't say: "Ah, this is it. I only want this." No. I didn't do this, and I didn't know why. I had such a remarkable experience, but I just thought: "Okay"... and I went on with my life.

And then, two years later, I came to Soham, and he is such a wise man, because he knew: it's not about enlightenment. He knew it. And when I came to him, he brought me down to the ground. He made me forget enlightenment. He made me get to know myself. I learned to love myself. I learned to feel my feelings. I learned to be here in the moment and not wanting to reach anywhere else. And that's why I say: "I'm so lucky", because thanks to him, I didn't stop living at this point of enlightenment. I didn't think: "Oh, that's it. This is my goal. Now I reached."

You know... I was with him, and in the first few years, I understood everything he said. I had such remarkable insights and spiritual experiences, and I just understood everything, and I wrote him amazing letters which sounded so enlightened and so spiritual and so cool. And he read them, and some sometimes he even read them out in Satsang, but he didn't take any of this serious. He just waited until I calmed down. And he knew: it's not about all this. And then, after a few years, I got very quiet, and I just stayed with him. And I forgot enlightenment.

And during the many years I was with him, I observed many people coming to him, becoming enlightened or experiencing enlightenment before they even came to him and then they came to him. And usually, what happens is: either these people experience enlightenment and then went away, went away from the Master and thought: "This is it. This is all I need. Thank you. I don't need anything else." Or they came to him and said: "I had this enlightenment, but it's all gone. Where is it? It's gone." So, this video is about enlightenment and arriving. And this time with Soham was very interesting because he knew: it's not about enlightenment.

But there was a time, that was when I was with him for 17 years... at that time he had taught me to be truly happy, as happy as I knew how to be at that time, as happy as he knew how to be at that time. He really made me quiet, peaceful and happy, and strong. But then, after I was with him for 17 years, there began an interesting time. I still remember it very vividly. I had reached a state in my life where I didn't wish for anything else. I didn't long for anything else. I wasn't searching for anything. I was just content, quiet and happy. And I was at peace with myself and with life. Life became more and more peaceful and easy.

And yet, exactly 17 years ago, I began to feel a discontentment. I felt something is missing. I felt: this is not it; this is this is not why I came here. Yes, I'm happy. Yes, I'm quiet. Yes, I'm peaceful. This is not why I came. I didn't know why I came into this life, but I knew: this is not it. I felt like in a dead-end street. And then, I had a conversation with Soham, and it happened so that we talked about this. I told him about how I feel, and he told me: "Mikael, I feel the same. It's the same for me." So, here we were, happy, content, and yet we knew: this is not it. But we had no idea what else there could be coming.

And right after this, a few days, a few weeks later, Soham was contacted by Swamiji; by this Indian Guru who is bringing the Samarpan Meditation from the Himalayas into the world. And then, Soham told me about Swamiji and we began to meditate. And with this came into our lives that what we were waiting for: the continuation of this path towards arriving. It was like Soham knew that it's not about enlightenment, it's not about experiences, it's not about how I feel. But this last ultimate goal he didn't know, and I didn't know, and with Swamiji, that opened up with the meditation.

Swamiji says the same thing. He says: "Enlightenment is easy." When you are in contact with Swamiji... he doesn't call it enlightenment, he calls it self-realization: realizing who you really are; not this "I", not this body. That's easy. And he says: for many people it happens and they don't even notice. Only years later they realize: "Ah, that's what I discovered back then." And he doesn't make any big deal out of self-realization, out of enlightenment. He talks about something completely different. He only is concerned about what comes afterwards.

And that's why I make my videos, because we live in a world where enlightenment became so easy that everybody talks about it, but nobody talks about what comes then. Everybody says: "That's it! It's easy! It's quick." Everybody says: "Don't listen to those people who say it's a long path and it takes time." And they say this because they don't know. And I could have been one of those, too. I could have been one of those people, too, and I feel so lucky that I'm not. For some Grace, I was not contented with being enlightened. Something inside of me knew: this is not it.

You know, it's remarkable: when I got enlightened 25 years ago, it was no big deal for me, as if I knew: "Yes, this is nice, but I'm here for something else." And only recently, I began to understand why that was, and why I have this remarkable stubbornness and patience to... You know, I just stayed with my Master. It's now 23 years that I am with him, and I saw countless people come, getting enlightened and then they went off, starting to talk about enlightenment, and I didn't. I could have been one of them, but I just stayed, and I became more and more quiet, waiting for what is to come without knowing what would come. And this is the biggest gift in my life, the biggest Grace in my life, that I just stayed; that I was not contented with enlightenment. And now, with Swamiji and with the meditation, with the Samarpan Meditation, now I know why... why I'm here.

You know, it's like this enlightenment shows you your true nature. It shows you that you are not this body. You experience it. And you experience how stupid it is to worry and how needless. You just feel right. You feel complete. You feel at home. You feel clearly: nothing else is needed, ever. But with this experience, with this new seeing, you are not being changed. Your psyche is not changed. Your energy is not changed. Your chakras are not changed. You're the same idiot you were before, and I say this about myself. I was the same idiot afterwards.

Enlightenment doesn't bring change; it doesn't bring wisdom. It makes you see something you couldn't see before, that's it. It's like the initial spark for the change which is to come. It gives you the possibility to walk into a new direction, a direction you didn't know anything about before. So, with enlightenment, you gain the ability to look into a new direction, and you get the motivation for it, because you get a taste of what's possible: "Ah, this! Yes, this I want", you say, but it doesn't change you. And that's why people who experience enlightenment come back after a few weeks or few months or maybe a few years and say: "Where did it go?" People who are very aware, they notice: "Oh, it's gone again. Where's where did it go?" And then, they come to the Master and say: "I want this back", and then, the Master teaches them how to get it back. And that's when the work starts. And then, there are other people who are not as aware, and they don't even notice when all this vanishes, and they go back into their old life and they don't even notice. They think they're enlightened. That's how they die.

And the work which starts, this path which starts with enlightenment, is very simple, it's not difficult. It's totally natural. You begin to look into this new direction, and that changes things in you. Everything in nature is easy. Every natural process is easy, and takes time, and that's true for this spiritual path as well. Enlightenment is just the beginning. It's the opening of a door, and then, you just walk this path. And it's my experience... now I meditate since six years. It's now six years ago that I had the great fortune that Swamiji came into my life and I became his disciple. You meditate, and more and more, it becomes your second nature, it becomes natural for you to look inside rather than outside, more and more.

The reason why most people who experience enlightenment lose it again is that all these old habits, they don't go away. You become enlightened, and you find: "This is this is amazing, this is it!" But soon, all the old habits take over again. You still look into the world, you still want this or that, you still think the way you were thinking. Your whole psyche is still structured the way it was. And when you then begin to meditate every morning, and when you make it a habit to turn your attention more and more inwards... when you make it a habit to don't give your thoughts attention anymore, then, slowly, slowly, the way your brain works changes, your energy changes, your chakras change, slowly, slowly, all by themselves. You don't have to know anything about it.

And then, that which some people experience during enlightenment, slowly becomes your nature. It becomes normal. It spreads into your life, in every moment, without you having to do anything for it. You just meditate. And this growing, this maturing, this natural process, happens by itself. And then, this identity, this belief that I am this body, I am this "I" which is thinking in my head, I am the one who has these wishes and worries and fears and thoughts and this body in this life, that crumbles away slowly, without you even noticing, because it's a natural, subtle and slow process. And that's how it is for me.

With enlightenment, a new path begins. And then, what begins is arriving. But arriving is a process. This new begins to grow in you, becomes normal and deeper and wider, more and more. And at the end of this process, at the end of this path, is that you have no identity left, no own identity, no attachment with this body or anything in this world, no attachment with this "I". And where on this path you are, you can't tell, because you don't know what else is possible. So, I can't say: "I arrived", but I am arriving, and I am stubborn: I keep arriving, more and more and more. Swamiji says: "As long as we are in a body, this process goes on."

And all you need for it is patience and stubbornness; the stubbornness to just keep going. It's not difficult. It's not something... it's not a hard work you have to do, no. You just... it's like watering a plant every day. This is not hard work. Or feeding your cat: this is not hard work. It's just needed so the thing grows. The plant needs water to grow, the cat needs food to grow, and that's what you do with your enlightenment, with your soul, with your inner nature. With meditation, you learn to give it more and more attention, and slowly, slowly, without you noticing, this grows. And that's the process. That's the purpose of this life.

The purpose of this life is not that you experience enlightenment and then feel happy and good. The purpose of this life is that you discover this path to the inside and then use the rest of your life to walk on that path. And doing this feels so good and so right. Once you start on that path, you don't need anything else. You know: you're not arrived. But you know: I begin to arrive, I'm arriving more and more every day, and this is so fulfilling, this is so encouraging, so contenting – I don't know whether this is an English word – that you just keep going.

And I'm here to encourage you for this. When I'm on YouTube for instance, I see all these videos talking about enlightenment and how easy it is and that it's sudden and you don't need any work for it. And this is all so tempting, and I want to be the one who tells you: "Yes, this is all nice and good, but don't miss; don't miss this life; keep going; that's why you're here: keep going." I said earlier in this video that we live in a very special time. It's so easy to wake up. It's so easy to turn inwards. It has never been so easy. And that's why you see all these videos about enlightenment: because it became so easy.

But the nature of the world is such that all the energies are always in balance; that's what Swamiji, my Guru, says. He says: enlightenment, self-realization, this good energy which supports this, is stronger than ever in during these times; but on the other hand, the other energies which pull you into the world, which seduce you away from this path, are equally stronger. And you can see it in the world. Distraction becomes more and more available. It's so easy these days to get distracted. And one of the characteristics of this day and age is a growing impatience of everybody. People lose the ability to keep at something for a longer period of time. Everything which takes longer than five minutes or two days is uninteresting for most people.

So, if anybody says: "Here, this is the path! It is instant", that's attractive for everybody. And people who do this, people who say this, they're very successful, because most people are ready to believe this, and they jump on it. And I make my videos and I keep doing them because I want to be the one voice who says: "One moment, wait! Don't deceive yourself. Don't let yourself be deceived. Everything in nature takes time, everything. It's normal, also this. And it's easy. It just takes time.

The one difference between me and most people I know... there's only one difference: it seems to me as if I have infinite patience and infinite stubbornness with this path. And only recently I discovered why that is. I always wondered: why was it possible for me to just stay with my Master for so many years not being seduced by enlightenment, not being seduced by the illusion of being done, of having everything I need? Why was I able to stay? Why am I still able to just keep going, undistracted, unwavering? This is something I felt is the grace of my life, and only recently I learned why that is, and that happened about 9 months ago.

There was an event with Swamiji. He was in India and he gave a shibir, an event, a spiritual event, a discourse, and that was broadcasted online, and I was here in Germany. And at that time, I was with Soham, working in his Satsang, and we participated in this online event. And at the end of this online event, of these few hours of Swamiji's discourse, there was a meditation together with Swamiji. And during this meditation, I saw my last life. And you know... I'm a very normal, unspiritual, very practical person. I don't know anything about past lives and all these things. But very rarely, through Swamiji, I get glimpses from there, and that happened to me during this meditation. During this meditation, I saw what happened in my last life.

In my last life, I was a Guru. I was a bad Guru. I was a Guru who had ego, I was a Guru who thought: "I arrived, I have it, I know it better." And I distracted myself from that path, and I distracted my disciples from that path. Because I had ego; because I thought: "Ah, this is it" Yes, I have it!" I stopped at enlightenment, so to speak. And the tragic thing is that because of this, I wasted my life. I fell for my own ego again and lost the path, and I died as a bad Guru, not knowing that I'm a bad Guru. And even more tragic is that I seduced some of or all of my disciples, I don't know... I equally distracted them from the right path, because I couldn't walk it. And during this meditation, I saw that I came into this life with the resolve: "In this life, I will walk to the end."

And then I understood why my enlightenment 25 years ago was no big deal for me. First of all, I had experienced this before in my last life, and secondly, this was not why I came into this life. You know, I was always wondering: why do I have this very special spiritual life without ever searching for it? And then, during this meditation, I understood: I had it all, I already had it. I found everything. The only thing which I did not do is follow through, walk the path to the end. That's what I didn't do. So, when I got enlightened in this life, I didn't care. It was just necessary, so to speak, for my development in this life, but something deep down inside of me... I was not aware of this... but something deep down in me knew: "Okay, this is not why I'm here, let's keep going."

And then I came to Soham and saw these people getting enlightened and walking off into their own lives, and I knew: that's not why I'm here. I want to stay here. I want to follow through. As I said, I didn't know any of this. This is all unconscious: the soul rules our lives without us knowing about it until we discover our soul. And that explained to me why I'm so patient, why I'm so stubborn on this path. And I'm so so grateful. And now, my life changes, slowly, slowly, naturally, completely effortlessly. Arriving happens, more and more.

That's why I make videos. I came into this life to arrive, and to be one of the few in this world who are able to talk about this. If you get enlightened, great! Now, forget about it, meditate, and just be here and keep going. I received a few questions about the subject of enlightenment and arriving, and to finish this video, I want to talk about one of these questions. I want to read it out because I like it.

"You say that awakening is an experience, but I know some teachers who say that it is not an experience, because experiences go away, but when you awaken to what you are, that does not pass.”

I want to answer this question now at the end, because it really brings the matter to the point. Enlightenment feels as if it is something permanent. When you are in enlightenment, it feels: everything is different, everything changed, from one moment to the next. But this is not the case. It feels like it, I know, but it is an experience. What changes is your ability to see, but you have not changed. You feel differently for a few hours or a few days, maybe for a few months, maybe even for a year. But the work is still waiting for you, that's my experience. That's why I came, to talk about this. And I know not one person in this entire world where it was different. You know, we hear about other people and we misunderstand what we hear, and then we think it is like this: it's an instant change from bad to good, so to speak, from stupid to enlightened: and now I'm enlightened and everything is good. As I said: this is not my experience.

Jesus, for instance... we know nothing about Jesus's life before he started speaking publicly in Judea. The way the Christian Church presents this is as if he fell from Heaven, ready-made. An "Instant Saint", so to speak. But of course, this is not true. But we don't know anything about it. We don't hear about it. Nobody told us how Jesus's life was, which Gurus he met, where he learned to be inside. And we don't hear about it because then, this illusion of the uniqueness of Jesus would not be maintained.

Jesus is not unique. Jesus never wanted to be unique. He wanted to be an example. He wanted to say: look at me. I'm a human, and yet I'm Godly, and you can be this too. That's his only message. He said: "I am the son of man, and I'm the Son of God." He was saying: "I'm a human, like you, and yet, I am the Son of God, like you are, and this life is about discovering that." But instead, we got this picture of a unique being, unreachable for us, and his whole message was just the opposite. And this fosters in us this illusion that it's something mysterious, instantaneous, this transition from earthly to Godly, from stupid to enlightened. It's not. It's natural, and it's a process, and like all natural processes, it just takes a little bit of time.

And then, there also books from people who write about their spiritual life. And if you don't look really closely, you get the impression that it is in fact instantaneous. There's this spiritual classic "Collision with Infinity", from Susan Segal, and in this book, Susan Segel describes her life. And what happened in her life was that one day, out of the blue... she was standing at a bus stop, and from one moment to the next, her entire feeling of identity, this feeling of "I", vanished. It was just gone, from one moment to the next, and it never came back. And when you read this, when you hear about this, you think: "Oh yeah, it's an instantaneous transition from one moment to the next."

And only when you read her story closely, with open eyes, you discover the truth. Because it was not that her life changed from one moment to the next into being happy and content and arrived. This absence of identification, this absence of "I", was permanent for her, but then began a time of agony, of fear, of panic. For years and years, she was searching for understanding, for finding a home in this new experience. She was totally unprepared for this. So, her perception changed from one moment to the next, but her being didn't change. She also had to walk on that path, and she describes it... I don't remember, it took her I think 12 or even more years until she slowly, slowly arrived in a space of being where she actually began to arrive in this new, feeling at home there, without fear, without agony. It is a process for everybody.

And now, from where I am now... just a few days ago... we have this book here in our house, and it was laying around on the table, so I read a little bit in it, and with the way I experience life these days, when I read these pages in her book, for me it was totally obvious what happened to her. And the process, she had to undergo afterwards. But I can also see that for people who don't know about this, it looks like instantaneous change and arriving. And this is not the case. For nobody.

We live in these times where I said: arriving is possible for you, for me. Enlightenment is easy for you, and yet, the distractions are equally easy. And the biggest distraction is the wish to have it done and over with in an instant. And this is just simply not true. This is not how life works. You have this whole life just for this: to start looking into the new direction; to start looking inwards, and now, from now on, for the rest of your life, for every breath you take, during the remainder of this life, to walk into this new direction. That's why you're here. And then you will arrive. It's inevitable. All you need is stubbornness and a little bit of patience.

It's like learning a new habit. The old habit is to give your attention completely towards the world, your thoughts, your wishes, your body, your worries, your dreams. And now, you discover a new direction. For 30, 40, 50, 60 years, depending on how old you are, you practiced only looking outwards. That's all we know. And you did this not only in this life, but in many many lives before. And now, you learn a new habit. And it's quick, you know. If you lived 60 years looking outwards, only believing what you see in the outward... when you turn around today, you don't have to practice the new for another 60 years. It's much quicker than that, very quick. But it takes a little bit of time. But you have nothing else to do.

So, just live your life, forget about enlightenment, keep on living the way you do; don't change anything. But meditate, and foster this new plant inside of you. And by itself, over time, the miracle of your life will unfold. This is my experience.

And I received another question: "Have you arrived?"

In my last newsletter I wrote that "I will make a video about enlightenment and arriving, and if you have questions, please write to me so I can talk about them in the video", and this one lady said: "Well, have you arrived?" I cannot say that I have arrived, because I don't know what else is possible. I can say I am arriving, more and more, and life becomes more and more wondrous and easy. My life circumstances are no different than yours, the difficulties and the challenges in life, they're no different, but the way I am inside and the way I experience life is completely different. And this deepens more and more. And every week, every month, there's a new change and a new opening and a new deepening.

Just the other day, three days ago, I was sitting for morning meditation, and I felt... I had a meditation like I never had before, ever. And since then, my meditations are different. And that's what's happening on that path. I had these changes, these steps, these new things happening again and again, and they keep coming. And then, we experience something completely new, and we say: "Oh, wow, this is amazing", and then, after a few days, after a few weeks, that becomes normal, and then the next change comes, all by itself, more and more.

We are completely being rewired and changed. Our energy field gets completely rearranged, our chakras are being changed and cleansed and aligned, but you don't have to know anything about it. It all happens by itself. Keep on with your life, do what you do, and meditate, and stay on that path. That's all you have to do. That's why you're here. And I make my videos to remind you about this every day, every week; to encourage you; to motivate you; to remind you. Because this life I will not waste. I will not waste this life again. This life I will walk to the end, and I invite you to walk with me. And, of course, you don't have to walk with me. If you find another person on the same path you find more helpful, this is great. But go to the end. Don't stop.

I'm so happy that you here. I'm so happy. Thank you for being here.

I love you.