by Linda Egenes, TM Magazine, issue 5
8 June 2012
Craig Pearson, Ph.D., is the Executive Vice-President of Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, and the author of the forthcoming book, The Supreme Awakening: Experiences of Higher States of Consciousness—Cultivating the Infinite Potential Within. Dr. Pearson has spent many years researching the expression of higher states of consciousness in the writings of great philosophers, saints, scientists, artists, and writers. Here Dr. Pearson speaks enlightenment and human potential:
Enlightenment: What is the relationship of enlightenment and human potential?
Dr. Pearson: Enlightenment is a term that has been used for thousands of years, in traditions east and west, to refer to the most fully developed expression of human potential, far beyond the ordinary.
Enlightenment: How common is it?
Dr. Pearson: Although this extraordinary experience has been described by individuals in different cultures over the millennia and is celebrated in the world’s spiritual traditions, it seems to be exceedingly rare. But obviously it lies within the realm of human potential.
Enlightenment : What has Maharishi contributed to the understanding of enlightenment?
Dr. Pearson: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is often credited with reintroducing the concept of enlightenment in a systematic manner in our modern age. He has put forward a comprehensive understanding of enlightenment that embraces the great traditions and thinkers who have described this experience across time. Maharishi was also the first to promote scientific investigation into enlightenment, bringing the phenomenon of spiritual development into the arena of modern science.
Enlightenment: How does Maharishi describe enlightenment?
Dr. Pearson: For Maharishi, enlightenment is the ultimate development of one’s inner potential as a human being. It means being established in the highest state of human consciousness.
Enlightenment begins with experiencing the reality of your innermost Self as unbounded and eternal and being established at that level. This means the consciousness of an enlightened person is no longer subject to the ups and downs of emotions, mind, and body but steadfast, anchored in inner silence.
Enlightenment brings the ultimate unfoldment of one’s creativity and intelligence. It means living in harmony with all the laws of nature and easily fulfilling your desires. It means being of maximum use to yourself and others and creating a powerfully nourishing effect in one’s environment.
At the highest stage, enlightenment means experiencing the universe as the expression of your unbounded Self. It is a state of perpetual freedom and bliss, supreme fulfillment.
Enlightenment: Can we relate this in any way to our day-to-day experience?
Dr. Pearson: Although this vision of human development may seem idealistic, we have all had experiences in this direction. Some days we just feel happier inside, more appreciative of others—life is easier, fuller, richer, and more rewarding. We may have moments of enhanced mental clarity or heightened levels of creativity, when we surprise ourselves with how quickly the solution to a problem may come. Athletes sometimes experience the zone—periods of peak performance that are effortless and euphoric.
At these times we are using a bit more of our potential. But enlightenment is far, far more than this. It goes far beyond just having a good day. People who have had experiences of enlightenment report that words simply cannot capture the sublimity of the experience.
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