The Emotion of Enlightenment

Enlightenment can be a very emotional experience.

Enlightenment comes in waves, first mind-blowing and perhaps scary. Then it happens again; it’s not scary now, it’s welcomed with deep gratefulness. This time is emotional — it’s really happening!

After more waves, it becomes reliable, expected, and dependable. Then the overwhelming emotion is replaced with a calm knowing.

I had a student who was a very logical man: a psychiatrist, published researcher, famous in his field. He took a private retreat with me, and got quite a surprise.

When I visited him in the evening, a few days in, he was crying; actually he was sobbing. He couldn’t speak. I had never known him to be emotional and certainly not at a loss for words.

I sat quietly with him, and eventually he was able to say through his sobs: “It’s so big! It’s so big!”


Puran Bair 
Chancellor, University of the Heart


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