Why I Don’t Believe in Spiritual Enlightenment as an Ideal to Strive For

I was sitting in a pub with a group of house sitting friends a few years back (when I was still travelling the world and house sitting full time.)

One of them mentioned the spiritual website I had (the others at the table weren’t aware of what I did for a living) and said “Come on, Anna, don’t pretend you’re not an enlightened being.”

Their comment was sweet, but it reflected one of the misconceptions about people who teach spiritual modalities.

That we are enlightened.

Or that enlightenment exists as a state that one can permanently enter.

Is any state ever permanent?

I don’t believe enlightenment exists as a permanent state, but only as a temporary state of high brain-heart coherence, and the joy and bliss that arises out of that.

I certainly believe in amassing wisdom over multiple earthly lifetimes. However, through my studies in past life regression, I’ve also seen that evolution and the amassing of wisdom isn’t linear. In one lifetime, we may be wearing a “costume” of an “unenlightened” person. As an example, maybe we struggle with substance addiction and never reach our potential. Then in another lifetime maybe we have amazing talents, and we fully reach our potential. Maybe we even teach others to do so, and we are held up as an example. But I don’t believe we ever truly “arrive” on a spiritual level. We’re in a constant, non-linear journey of remembering who we are on the soul-level – pieces of the Divine, or units of the wider higher consciousness.

In my experience (after 16 years in the spiritual field), enlightenment is often used as a way to control spiritual seekers and gain authority over others.

One of my teachers back in 2010 had a public list of enlightened people, where she used her intuitive abilities to assess who was enlightened and who wasn’t.

According to her previous students, this woman ran a cult where she would excommunicate any followers who challenged her authority or disagreed with her, even on minor things.

She claimed she was enlightened, and anyone whose politics or ideas she disagreed with were slammed as low vibrational and unenlightened. It was effectively a list of people she liked and disliked, but her followers put it on a pedestal as a source of truth, and she claimed that as an enlightened person, only she had the ability to discern who was truly enlightened.

This teacher had some great ideas and techniques to teach, but by the time I found her enlightenment list, I realised this was someone I could no longer learn from.

I have also seen similar teachings from David Hawkins (who wrote Power vs Force.)

Power vs Force is a popular spiritual book that has many interesting insights in it. Where I disagree with this book is that a scale or hierarchy exists and an individual’s vibrational state can be accurately measured on a scale. I’ve found that a person’s state of consciousness can vary throughout their lifetime and it can even vary from one day to the next (ever had a noticeably bad day where you felt crappy, relative to the kinds of days you normally have? If so, you were in a different and possibly “lower” state of consciousness that day.)

Dr David Hawkins also held himself up as an enlightened being who was the only one capable of accurately assessing who was enlightened and who wasn’t. Interestingly, as an avid consumer of Fox News, many of the politicians on the American political right (such as George W Bush) were considered high vibrational people who were on their way to enlightenment, according to him.

Talk of enlightenment has become a red flag for me.

For these reasons, if anyone claims to be enlightened or offers to teach me “enlightenment”, I run away in the opposite direction very fast because it is a sign of someone who is (consciously or unconsciously) fond of hierarchical spiritual groups and seeking to place themselves high up in that group.

Instead of holding enlightenment as an ideal, I prefer self-realisation and the fulfilment of one’s earthly potential.

The only yardstick I use to assess spiritual ideas is: does applying them make my 3D world better in some way? Am I happier and healthier?

If so, I like these teachings.

That’s why I like intuitive development (because tapping into the spiritual realm gives me tremendous emotional and spiritual support.)

And also why I like the Law of Assumption (to manifest new outcomes in the 3D and improve my mental/emotional state while I’m at it.)

But the pursuit of enlightenment isn’t for me. And please don’t call me enlightened either. I’m a work in progress and a lifelong spiritual student who is teaching what I’ve learned in the past.

Meet Anna

Hi, I’m Anna Sayce! My purpose here on this website is to provide practical techniques and information to help empaths to understand, and fix the root of their energetic overwhelm & also to help sensitives to embrace and develop their intuitive gifts. I believe that developing our spiritual & intuitive side is very powerful and allows us to improve our own lives, and if we wish, even make the world a better place for others. Discover more >


  1. Anonymous

    Thank you for publishing this post, Anna.
    I am one of the people who formerly belonged to the cult you mention – run by the crazy lady who published the list of Enlightened people.
    Anna, you were one of the people who supported me in the dark days just after I had been ejected.
    I would just like to say to anyone reading this who has either been thrown out of that particular cult, or who is still in it but has doubts – there is hope. It took me a while to adjust and to come to terms with things that had been said about me by the cult leader, but, believe me, life is so much better outside of that cult.

  2. Anna Sayce

    Hi Anonymous, Glad you are doing well! Thanks for commenting.

  3. Frank

    24/7 awareness of ‘true’ self
    Creates a special field of energy, felt by others in proximity
    The body/mind can still act according to the programming and idiosyncrasies there

    • Anna Sayce

      Hi Frank, Since I started using manifesting practices, I have been through periods of joy and inner peace where I feel deeply aware of my higher self and people seem very drawn to me and aware of my presence. I am pretty sure I’m not “enlightened” by the standards of anyone who pursues that state though. I feel these are states we can slip in and out of, available to all.


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