Barry Long heard that a magazine was basing a whole edition on 'Evolution and Enlightenment.' This prompted him to write the following article:

Enlightenment of course does not evolve

What evolves is the individual understanding and depth of cognitive perception. This is a process of psycho-logical negation ­ a spiritual deepening accompanying the continuous giving up of reliance on the mind's convictions and emotional feelings. Sometimes the perception evolves to a point of ultimate spiritual realization. This state is sometimes referred to as enlightenment; but usually not by anyone who is realized.

Spiritual realization has innumerable degrees of depth before God or Self is realized. And even God or Self-realization has different degrees of profundity. But all true spiritual realizations manifest in the world in only one way ­ as the impulse to help others without self-consideration.


Everything is becoming, that is, evolving. Whoever realizes God, Self, Supreme Being or the Ultimate, has become. They are no longer the ignorance they were. Like everybody, they were born into ignorance, into the world. But through the process of living, the ignorance became less and less until the moment of realization.

In the absence of more profound knowledge, it is said that the moment determining who realizes God, and who doesn't, is due to Grace, the Will or 'It'. But is it? Or is there something else working in between? Perhaps by the end of this brief exploration it will be clear what that is.

In the transformed consciousness of realization, there is sometimes the tendency to dismiss the earlier becoming part of living as illusion. This is like visiting New York for the first time and writing home that your previous ignorance of the great city was illusion. Which may be true. But it wasn't true then, when the realizer was still becoming. And his new knowledge is not true for those who have not yet been to New York. For no one can know where they haven't been.

Once, the realizer was ignorant and like everybody had to knuckle down and cope under the increasing burden of self (doubt, fear and discontent), materiality and time. But in the moment of realization time disappears and is replaced by the knowledge that 'what is now is how it's always been.' This is why sometimes the past can be declared to be an illusion.


The 'infinite ways' to spiritual realization are part of the world of becoming. All the 'ways' are part of living. Which one you follow is determined by your predispositions. Predispositions ­ the impetus to act and behave in certain ways ­ are what you are born with. As one predisposition is exhausted or fulfilled by living, another takes its place. So you switch to another teaching or, just as importantly, you make a major change in your lifestyle, your occupation, your lovelife or place of residence. This continues until physical death.

Theoretically, each 'spiritual way' that's effective makes the practitioner less trouble to himself and others. Because of this his living life becomes less complicated and demanding. He feels spiritually easier, more simple.

But if you are going to be truly God-realized it doesn't really matter what you do. For whatever you do will be determined by your predispositions ­ which are beyond choice and decisions. This applies to everyone and what they do.

It all comes down to time. Time is the driving force behind becoming and evolution. And becoming and evolving come down to living out predispositions.

God or Self-realization is not the end of becoming. Obviously not, since living or becoming continues while ever you are alive or have a body.

'What is'

Can spiritual realization happen independently of a body? Clearly not, since no one can demonstrate realization without a body. The point is that the body is not the body as our senses reveal it. Nor is the existence we see around us what it appears to be. Both in reality are one infinitely swift intelligence of 'what is' ­ an intelligence that is identical with the deepest state of Self-realization. One is the other. So in realization all distinctions disappear. Nothing remains ­ to speak of, that is.

In short, there is nothing else to realize but the reality of 'what is'.

Is physical death the end of becoming? Not likely, while there are still pre-dispositions. Predispositions determine the whole course of human affairs.

If you die with predispositions still not lived out, there will be recurrence in a newborn body. Not in the sense of you or me reincarnating, for in death there is no 'I' to reincarnate. Only predispositions recur and they are completely impersonal.

Nonetheless, the infinite intelligence of 'what is' is always present. But it is almost universally obscured by personal attachment to the rational mind and emotional feelings. To the degree that attachment is reduced, the intelligence shines through. And the troublesome mind is (more or less) transformed, or enlightened of the burden of its own ignorance.

But what about the intrinsic knowledge that life is forever? Is there no forever?

Life is forever, whatever forever means. Life is immortal. True spiritual realization reveals that life at any time is what is 'here'. And not only that, but that an indescribable unlimited intelligence is also 'here' and making life possible. That is 'It'. That's enough, because that is all.

Predispositions are represented by attachment to existence ­ to time and becoming. Many people can demonstrate non-attachment to different things, objects or conditions. But very, very few are not attached to existing.

That's the rub. Thank you for listening.

Barry Long

© The Barry Long Trust