Rev. Dennis Shipman: Enlightenment is the moment when a human being discovers that the perfect paradise of Oneness with love itself is found within one’s consciousness and heart. It has always been there, and it will never leave. In the experience, thoughts in the mind become still or motionless – like the surface waters of a serene lake. No restless thoughts disturb the serenity of the mind, which is full of racing thoughts, usually. This allows the radiant light of consciousness to manifest as a vision in the mind’s eye (in the forehead between the eyebrows). Simultaneously, an exquisite energy that can only be described as ecstasy or bliss or unconditional love consumes the entire being-ness of the person. Fear, loneliness, depression, one’s ego, and all negative qualities disappear, and cease to exist. He or she feels and knows a consummate, incomparable, ego-less, state of consciousness – not normally experienced in daily life.
This amazing super-consciousness exhibits many qualities that the experiencer identifies with: perfect contentment, profound peace, an overpowering sense of infinity, eternity, immortality, unity, liberty, freedom, holiness, bliss and unconditional love. The person realizes life is more than what we have been taught, that he or she is part and parcel of the supreme greatness of Oneness in all creation. A person’s entire conscious panorama is expanded to infinity, and one realizes their immortality. All of this happens in a blink of an eye in a time-space that also stands still. Enlightenment is the crème de la crème experience of the human condition, and words fail miserably to describe its significance and potency. It is not an intellectual pursuit or concept, but an actual real-life experience that a person can prove to oneself. Source: Oneness - The Awakening Experience
Indian scholar Pantanjali: Yoga (union or oneness) is merging in the Self, removal of identifications and removal of the fluctuations of the mind. Source: Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras (200-300 BCE)
Master Jesus: At the river with John the Baptist, in the instant that he dipped me into the water, I was infused with an energy that is incomparable. I was shot through with a force of power that is impossible for you to understand unless you have experienced it. There was a continuing stream of energy coming down through the top of my head, coursing through my limbs and through my torso, and I was in an ecstatic state of what you call extreme bliss, connected to everything. I was given a complete understanding of everything, and a true comprehension of our oneness. The massive wave of energy infiltrated my physicality, my mind, and my consciousness. I could see the interior nature of whatever I was looking at. I began to see the world was not solid, that it was made up of energies and light. The entire content of my reality was made up of this ever-changing, ever-shifting soup of information, light and energy.
Enlightenment is the absolute transformation of mind, removing all the blocks to love’s presence – removing all blocks, all fears, and all hatreds – and it is often accomplished when beings have done much work themselves, working with love energies, forgiveness, compassion, and these kinds of things. In one motion, it eliminates the thoughts and ideas of limitation. This is what enlightenment is. You then become aware, as a human being, that you are still manifested in the physical body, but you are aware of energies, ideas, concepts, and connection to love and divine nature that most human beings are not. Source: Jesus - My Autobiography
Amma – The Divine Mother: Consciousness is the one power or one force that is playing with all that you know. Humans have a need to believe there is a force outside the self. That belief is illusion. There is no force outside of yourself because there is no “self.” If you believe in a self, then you believe in duality. Which, of course, you do, because that is the game you are playing. It is crucial that you recognize that power is within you. It is not outside of you. It is not in a god outside of yourself. When you place power in outside sources, you are abdicating your personal power. You have within you the power of God in whatever highest way you define that God. You are Love Incarnate. You are noting less than Love Incarnate. And there is nothing more than Love Incarnate on this planet.
When you are in your Heart Source (middle of your chest), you are guided by the Oneness of which you are a part. Your thoughts and words and actions are automatically governed in the direction of love. When you are in the energy of hate, then your words and actions are governed by the energy of hate. Your power comes from deciding which energy you wish to reside within and then doing so. A decision without action is nothing more than an illusion with the illusion. There is no power in that. You have chosen to experience separateness in this incarnation. The truth is that you are not separate. The truth is you and I are the One. Any judgment you make about yourself or about others simply reinforces your belief that you are separate. The essence of detachment is to be without judgment. Without judgment, you are in the flow of Oneness. Your journey in this incarnation is simply to experience being Love Incarnate. And, therein, is your power. Source: The Heart - Doorway To Your Power
Paramahansa Yogananda: My body became immovably rooted; breath was drawn out of my lungs as if by some huge magnet. Soul and mind instantly lost their physical bondage and streamed out like a fluid piercing light from my every pore. The flesh was as thought dead; yet, in my intense awareness I knew that never before had I been fully alive. My sense of identity was no longer narrowly confined to a body, but embraced the circumambiant atoms. An oceanic joy broke upon calm endless shores of my soul. The Spirit of God, I realized, is exhaustless Bliss; His body is countless tissues of light. A swelling glory within me began to envelop towns, continents, the earth, solar and stellar systems, tenuous nebulae, and floating universes. The entire cosmos, gently luminous, like a city seen afar at night, glimmered within the infinitude of my being. Source: Autobiograhy of a Yogi
J. Krishnamurti: I felt acute pain at the nape of my neck and I had to cut down my meditation to 15 minutes. The pain instead of getting better as I had hoped grew worse. I could not think, nor was I able to do anything, and I was forced to retire to bed. Then, I became almost unconscious, though I was well aware of what was happening around me.
The next day, I had the first most extraordinary experience. There was a man mending the road; that man was myself; the pick-axe he had was myself; the very stone which he was breaking up was a part of me; the tender blade of grass was my very being, and the three beside the man was myself. I almost could feel and think like the road mender, and I could feel the wind passing through the tree, and I could feel the little ant on the blade of grass. The birds, the dust, and the very noise were a part of me. Just then there was a car passing by at some distance; I was the driver, the engine, and the tires; as the car went further away from me, I was going away from myself. I was in everything, or rather everything was in me, inanimate and animate, the mountain, the worm, and all breathing things. All day long I remained in this happy condition. I could not eat anything, and at about 6 p.m. I began to lose my physical body. I was semi-conscious.
The next morning was almost the same as the previous day, and I could not tolerate too many people in the room. I could feel them in rather a curious way and their vibrations got on my nerves. Eventually, I sat under the pepper tree which is near the house. There I sat cross-legged in the meditation posture. When I had sat thus for some time, I felt myself going out of my body, I saw myself sitting down with the delicate tender leaves of the tree over me. I was facing the east. In front of me was my body and over my head I saw the Star, bright and clear.
Then I could feel the vibrations of the Lord Buddha, and I beheld Lord Maitreya and Master K. H. I was so happy, calm and at peace. I could still see my body and I was hovering near it. There was such profound calmness both in the air and within myself, like the calmness of the bottom of a deep unfathomable lake. Like the lake, I felt my physical body, with its mind and emotions, could be ruffled on the surface but nothing, nay nothing, could disturb the calmness of my soul.
The presence of the mighty Beings was with me for some time and then They were gone. I was supremely happy, for I have seen the glorious healing light. I have touched compassion which heals all sorrow and suffering. Nothing could ever be the same. The fountain of Truth has been revealed to me and the darkness has been dispersed. Love in all its glory has intoxicated my heart. I have drunk at the fountain of joy and eternal Beauty. I am God-intoxicated. Source: Enlightened-People.com
Richard Maurice Bucke, M.D: The person, suddenly, without warning, has a sense of being immersed in a flame, or rose-colored cloud. At the same instant, he is bathed in an emotion of joy, assurance, and triumph. It is this ecstasy, far beyond any that belongs to the merely self conscious life, that the poets occupy themselves. The person experiences an intellectual illumination quite impossible to describe. Like a flash, there is presented to his consciousness a clear conception (a vision) of the meaning and drift of the universe. He does not come to believe merely, but he sees and knows that the cosmos, which to the self conscious mind seems to be made up of dead matter, is in fact far otherwise – it is in truth a living presence.
He sees that the life which is in man is eternal, as all life is eternal; that the soul of man is as immortal as God is; that the universe is so built and ordered that without any chance, doubt, or uncertainty, all things work together for the good of each and all; that the foundation principle of the world is what we call love, and that the happiness of every individual is in the long run absolutely certain. The person who passes through this experience will learn more in the few minutes, or even moments, than in months or years of study, and he will learn much that no study ever taught or can teach. Source: Cosmic Consciousness
Zen Master Hakuun Yasutani-roshi: Zazen is about enlightenment-awakening (kensho-godo); seeing into your True-nature and at the same time seeing into the ultimate nature of the universe and “all the ten thousand things” in it. It is the sudden realization that “I have been complete and perfect from the very beginning. How wonderful! How miraculous!” If it is true kensho (enlightenment) its substance will always be the same for whoever experiences it, whether he (or she) be the Buddha Shakyamuni, the Buddha Amida, or any one of you gathered in the temple.
So long as the winds of thought continue to disturb the water of our Self-nature, we cannot distinguish truth from untruth. It is imperative, therefore, that these winds be stilled. Once they abate, the waves subside, the muddiness clears, and we perceive directly that the moon of truth has never ceased shining. The moment of such realization is kensho, (i.e., enlightenment), the apprehension of the true substance of our Self-nature. Unlike moral and philosophical concepts, which are variable, true Insight is imperishable. Now for the first time, we can live with inner peace and dignity, free from perplexity and disquiet, and in harmony with our environment. Source: The Three Pillars of Zen
Ramana Maharshi: Your own Self-Realization (enlightenment) is the greatest service you can render the world. Realization is not acquisition of anything new, nor is it a new faculty. It is only removal of all camouflage. Mind is consciousness which has put on limitations. You are originally unlimited and perfect. Later, you take on limitations and become the mind. There is no mind to control if you realize the self. The mind having vanished, the self shines forth. In the realized man, the mind may be active or inactive, the self remains for him. I am not the perishable body, but the eternal Self.
Consciousness is indeed always with us. Everyone knows ‘I am!’ No one can deny his own being. For those who have obtained unobstructed knowledge of Self, the world is seen merely as a bondage causing imagination. There is no greater mystery than this, that we keep seeking reality though in fact we are reality. We think that there is something hiding reality and that this must be destroyed before reality is gained. How ridiculous! A day will dawn when you will laugh at all your past efforts. That which will be the day you laugh is also here and now.
Nearly all mankind is more or less unhappy because nearly all do not know the true Self. Real happiness abides in Self-knowledge alone. All else is fleeting. To know one’s Self is to be blissful always. You and I are the same. What I have done is surely possible for all. You are the Self now and can never be anything else. Throw your worries to the wind, turn within and find Peace. One must realize his Self in order to open the store of unalloyed happiness. Source: Enlightened-People.com