What is Illumination?
As a process, it can be likened to a journey spanning many lifetimes, with an overall target or destination, and with each way-station or rest-stop entailing the discovery and internalisation of something requiring ever higher forms of knowledge and understanding. All desires and efforts towards knowing and understanding the things we presently do not know are processes that lead to illumination. All conscientious efforts towards knowing and understanding the why, how, when and the where of things and events are positive steps in the journey to illumination.
As a target or destination it is the attainment of a state of being known in mystical literature as Cosmic Consciousness.
In a mystical sense, illumination alludes to the full enlightenment of the mind, a quantum leap into a state of being where all things become clear: our purpose in being on this isolated planet, the purpose of life itself, and the specific things we are meant to accomplish in our present life. Enlightenment therefore, is not restricted to the intellectual alone, but includes all facets of our wider being, including the deeply guarded secrets of our subconscious mind.
What is Enlightenment?
Immanuel Kant in his essay “What is Enlightenment?” written in 1784, challenged his readers to ‘dare to know’, arguing that it was not only a civic but also a moral duty to exercise one’s fundamental freedoms of thought and expression.
Enlightenment is Man’s leaving his self-caused immaturity.
Immaturity is the incapacity to use one’s intelligence without the guidance of another. Such immaturity is self-caused by the lack of determination and courage to use one’s own intelligence without being led, whether that leading is done by another person or group, or is due to an acquired dogma or creed that has hampered our ability to live and express our thoughts and feelings freely.
Because of laziness and outright cowardice, a lot of people gladly remain immature, which encourages or makes it so easy for others to usurp the role of their individual will. Many are tempted to seek the comforts of a minor whose needs are catered for by a guardian. If I have a pastor who I feel is there to pray for me and take care of my spiritual needs, I will not feel the need to exert myself in that direction. I may not even wish to think for myself if I can pay others to take over the tedious job for me.
Enlightenment is composed more of a set of attitudes than of a set of ideas. Enlightenment demands that we ‘dare to know’ about ourselves as well others and in the process identify the unity of all beings. This is probably the reason why the injunction ‘Man Know Thyself’ was inscribed in large letters over the entrance to the Athenian Temple in ancient Greece. The wise men of old considered the knowledge of self as the primary and essential path to all knowledge hence the advice of masters to their pupils:
“Know then thyself; presume not God to scan. The proper study of mankind is Man.”
Man is and he or she knows that they are. This is because Man has the awareness that he or she is and this is awareness in the first-degree. Apart from being aware of self, Man is also aware of his or her environment. This second-degree awareness is called consciousness. Man is conscious of his or her existence and is also conscious of the existence outside of him or her. He or she is self-conscious. Cosmic Consciousness is the third-degree awareness, awareness beyond self-consciousness; Cosmic Empowerment. Illumination is a veritable tool to Cosmic Consciousness; Cosmic Empowerment; Illumination.
Illumination the Tool to Illumination
If we rephrase our topic, ‘Illumination: the tool to Illumination’ we would not have changed the essence. The implication is that illumination leads to Illumination or that Illumination proceeds from illumination. From the Apostles’ Creed we read the following statement:
Light from light,
True God from true god,
begotten not made
and one in substance with the Father.
The light proceeds from the Light or Light is attained through light. The true God is attained from the true god. And attainment is not made but begotten; there is a process that leads to it. Illumination is Cosmic empowerment and it provides for the sharing of the light of knowledge and wisdom with others for a greater humanity and the building of a better world. Illumination is the empowerment to love; the empowerment to show compassion; the empowerment to be selfless; the empowerment to empathise; the empowerment to do good; the empowerment to render service.
We all can attain Cosmic Consciousness; Cosmic Empowerment, but in the journey we will need courage, we will need confidence, we will need persistency (we need to be insistent and consistent).
Self-control, self-restraint, strength of mind and will to withstand peer group pressure, are signs of progress on the journey to Cosmic Consciousness. Development of character and self-discipline which lead to Self Mastery are some of the qualities that can be acquired as one progresses through the study programme of the Rosicrucian Order.
The Rosicrucian teachings enable people to find themselves, turn their lives around, and influence the universe. We are educators, students and seekers devoted to exploring inner wisdom and the meaning of life. We offer an ancient time-tested system of study and experimentation, which reveals the underlying principles of the universe. Our method offers practical tools applicable to all aspects of life.
The Rosicrucian teachings allow individuals to direct their own lives, experience inner peace and leave their mark on humanity. It is for this reason that we urge our members, as students, to remain committed to the investigation, study and practical application of all natural and spiritual laws for the attainment of Health, Happiness and Peace to the glory of God, the betterment of humanity and the evolution of the soul personality.
May each of us attain Cosmic empowerment that will enable us participate in the work of the Order. We know that the Rosicrucian Order has its purpose, its goal and its essence. The purpose of the Order is enable men, women and children to live in harmony with the creative constructive forces of the universe. The goal of the Order is for everyone to achieve Health, Happiness and Peace.
The essence of the Order, the work of the Order is to serve humanity.
Adaptation of “ILLUMINATION – The Tool to Cosmic Empowerment” by Okey A Udeh from the Rosicrucian Heritage of March 2016