Waihihi Bay, Bay of Islands, New Zealand
The concept of "Enlightenment," like the word "God," is so loaded with judgment and dogma, as to be almost unusable. When we think of the concept, different stereotypes enter our mind. We may picture someone meditating Buddha-like in nature. This is an outdated and superficial description. It is much easier to be centered away from the media and other distractions of modern society. Those who are tested by society's relentless conditioning are often the ones who are truly awake.
Enlightenment is the realization and embodiment of who we truly are. It is not something that can be learned. It is not something that can be accomplished. There are no rules as to how to obtain it. How do we know when we meet someone who is enlightened? It is not simply someone who is charismatic and magnetic. Hitler was magnetic. Movie stars are charismatic, but often are devoured by ego. A CEO of a corporation could be as self realized as a zen monk living in a cave.
There are vast differences among people who are self realized. Their personalities differ wildly. However, as different as they are, there are several traits which are shared by all those who are self realized. They always embody peace, love and joy. We can spot enlightenment in others, as well as ourselves, when we are in the presence of those traits. When a leader does not embody those characteristics, they will not lead us where we need to go.
There is nothing we have to learn or do or be to become enlightened. It is what we are. The time is now to realize our true Selves.