Is There Such A Thing As Enlightenment?
The notion of “enlightenment” is used in several sciences such as philosophy, psychology, education, etc. It has it’s own definition in each sphere, but all of them have common milestones that are consciousness and awareness. In education the term has the meaning of conscious knowledge. Thus, in psychology the process of enlightenment is considered to be a special imprecise construct.
In Buddhist theories the enlightenment is defined as the highest state of consciousness that can be reached only in nirvana state. It is close to the state of awakening but there are several factors that influence the process and its result. The psychologists emphasize that this state has also cognitive and neurobiological characteristics and moral as well. Recent investigations of social psychology show that if community members have various states of enlightenment they may have disagreements for this reason.
As the state of enlightenment presupposes meditation, psychologists investigated the brain of meditator and found out that part of brain showed increased activity that could be stated as the interrelation of neural processes and the state of meditation. The depth of it differs according to cultures, but the influence on the correlation of mind and body is almost the same. During mindfulness meditation people, who are chronically in stressful situations and have emotional disorders can feel relax and have body awareness that provokes concentration and self-consciousness (Ivanovski, 2007). The state of enlightenment is investigated also as a spiritual state of a person that can use his/her insights for general well-being. This concept is in the center of contemplative psychology and has deep religious basis (Roeser, 2005). Thus, while describing such a state the main accent is put on person’s experience, feelings and emotions.
In modern world enlightenment is considered to be a complex construction that embraces neurotic, physiological, psychological, spiritual and social aspects. If they correlate successfully, this state can effectively be reached.
Ivanovski, B., & Malhi, G. (2007). The Psychological and Neurophysiological Consominants of Mindfulness Forms of Meditation. Acta Neuropsychiatrica, 76-91.
Roeser, R.W. (2005). An introduction to Hindu India’s contemplative psychological perspectives on motivation, self, and development. In M.L. Maehr & S. Karabenick (Eds.), Advances in Motivation and Achievement, Volume 14: Religion and Motivation, pp. 297-345. Retrieved from http://ase.tufts.edu/iaryd/documents/researchPaperHindu.pdf
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