It is time for a radical democratization of enlightenment.
It used to be that enlightened living was for the elite. The few great lovers, saints, and sages throughout history reminded us that something more was possible, that there was a better way to live, that joy and overflowing love could and did exist, at least for some, as the animating essence of everyday life.
This tiny elite of subtle and evolved minds and hearts held alive for all of us the possibility that human beings could genuinely realize a transformation of identity, that they could truly evolve from their small constricted egos into spacious, dynamic, enlightened beings. In days gone by, we relied on this elite to guide our world. Today, that age has passed. The old elite no longer has the power to guide us. We can no longer hope that in some room somewhere, in the halls of spiritual power or the inner chambers of an ashram or temple, there are holy, wise people upon whom we can rely for our salvation.
In a globally interconnected world, one person acting alone or a small group of ignorant individuals has the ability to literally destroy humanity. This is a pointing-out instruction by the universal love-intelligence. Said simply, reality is telling us something that we desperately need to know. The lesson is clear for better and for worse, the age of ruling elites, be they spiritual or political, is over.
Democracy is the evolutionary unfolding of love-intelligence in our era. It began with the democratization of governments. Now it must move to the democratization of enlightenment, and enlightenment of your True Self beyond personality and ego, which then expresses itself in the full glory and power of your Unique Self. Enlightenment is a genuine possibility, and therefore a sacred obligation, for every single person. You are not obligated from without. You are obligated in love by your own highest possibility.
The disciples of one master liked to explain this radical Unique Self principle with a story:
A precocious child was convinced that the king was not as wise as people claimed. And so he set out—as young people are wont to do—to prove his point. He came before the king with a question. “Sire,” he said with great audacity, “it is said that you know the future and can answer any question posed. Well, I have a question for you.” The assembled court gasped at his insolence. But the boy went on. “I have in my closed hand a butterfly, sire. Tell me, is it alive or dead?”
The boy thought to himself, “If he says ‘alive,’ I will simply squeeze and kill it, and if he says ‘dead,’ then I will open my hand and let it fly away.”
The sage was silent for a moment, even as the room grew very silent. When he finally spoke, it was with the gentlest voice the boy had ever heard. “My son,” said the king, “whether the butterfly lives or dies depends on you.” It depends on us. On each and every one of us.
From Your Unique Self, Chapter 3, Pages 19, 20