”If you think you are enlightened, go home for Thanksgiving.” ~ Ram Dass
We sometimes say that some people are “enlightened”, but do we really know what that means? We might say that because they are kind, loving, and insightful. I’ve been on a spiritual path most of my life, and in my experience, I’ve seen how people are transformed through mindfulness and spiritual practices. Whether you are interested in enlightenment or just lightening up a bit, here is a list of mindfulness qualities that most of them attain. This is not a comprehensive list, but I think it contains some of their most prominent qualities.
Keep in mind that there are varying degrees of mindfulness. That is, everyone is at a different point in his or her personal and spiritual development, and some may be more enlightened than others.
The mindful person is happy and joyful. They have a cheerful disposition most of the time, and are willing to share that joy with others. They are always optimistic that all challenges have a resolution. Even though the resolution may not be the most desirable, they are confident that they are capable of being at peace with it.
2. Peaceful and Serene
The mindful person is peaceful and serene because they are free of fear and other unwholesome emotions. They are free of worry because they understand that freedom from suffering comes from within, and not from material possessions.
3. Loving, Kind and Compassionate
The mindful person is loving, kind, and compassionate for two main reasons: 1) they genuinely care about other people, regardless of whether they care about him, and 2) they know that other people provide them with the nourishment they need to grow, so they remain open to everyone.
4. Not Self-Centered
The mindful person is not self-centered, because they can see the interconnected nature of our existence. To them, this is a reality and not just a concept. They realize that all physical manifestations (humans, animals, plants, etc.) depend on each other for their survival.
5. Emotionally Stable
The mindful person is emotionally stable because they no longer have an ego that needs validation for its existence. They are not hurt because there is no needy ego to hurt. They do not get angry because they are understanding and compassionate toward those who are not as far along their own path of development (spiritual or otherwise).
6. Patient and Understanding
The mindful person is patient and understanding because they appreciate how our ignorance creates our own suffering. They understand the challenge of learning, growing, or becoming enlightened, so they don’t condemn people for their missteps.
The mindful person is humble. Since they know their place in the universe, they don’t need validation from others. Therefore, they have nothing to prove to anyone, including himself or herself. A humble nature allows them to be kind and gentle, and be open to everyone they encounter.
8. Insightful and Open-Minded
The mindful person is insightful and open-minded. They are able to see the world with great clarity, without attachment to preconceived ideas about people, places, and things. This enables them to observe the world without jumping to conclusions. Belief and intuition are replaced with patience, clarity of vision and understanding.
9. Inner Strength
The mindful person has great inner strength. They have learned satisfying ways of connecting —through healthy interactions with people, and within. They no longer have a need for the internal power struggles that most of us engage in.
The mindful person is a leader. Having awakened to the point of understanding the nature of suffering, they realize their duty to help other people find freedom from suffering. They lead by example, rather than control. People follow them because of who they are and what they stand for. They want to be more like him or her.
11. Mindful of Their Health
The mindful person is focused on their health—physical, mental, and emotional. They know that their mind, body, and spirit must be in harmony. They have developed an understanding of physical and mental health, and don’t blindly depend on others for their health. They are mindful of the food, nutrients and substances he puts into his body.
12. Committed to Practice
The mindful person never forgets how they achieved happiness. They are also aware that it takes continuous effort to remain that way. It takes a great deal of mindful energy to help others along their path, so they are aware that they need to replenish their own resilience and strength on a daily basis.
Overall, the mindful person is focused on himself/herself and the world around them. Furthermore, they are curious and willing to continue learning. They are aware that even though they can see with greater clarity, developing an understanding of the true nature of our happiness, purpose and existence takes time to observe and investigate.
This is not a comprehensive list of the qualities of a mindful person. But I think these are the most prominent. My purpose for examining these qualities is to give us a compass to guide you on your own journey—a vision of the path that lies ahead.
From this list, it seems clear that enlightened people live rich and fulfilling lives. Those who achieve any measure of enlightenment do so through some form of daily meditation practice. They work to replenish their own happiness and spiritual strength and to keep growing. They are willing to let go of old views and are committed to helping others find peace. It takes work and dedication, but it is well worth it.
Best wishes on your journey!
About the Author: This article was written by Charles Frances and edited and reprinted with the permission of our friends at The Mindfulness Meditation Institute. To learn more about their work, please visit www.mindfulnessmeditationinstitute.org. Find the original article here.