Reaching Enlightenment

"Enlightenment" is not becoming some kind of Guru or Advanced Spiritual Being.
It's the realization that we are not nearly as awful, stupid, or terrible as we think we are, nor are we as perfect, tough, innocent, smart, experienced or wise as we think we are.

It's realizing that the path we've been walking on, and the things we believed to be absolute, aren't necessarily all there is.
It's realizing that what we think we see and what we think we know is not necessarily correct, true, or the whole picture.
That we humans are filled with biases, prejudices, and beliefs that cloud our perception, the way we see the world, other people, and ourselves, every single day.

That we tend to follow and believe only certain kinds of people who we "look up to", based on our own internal biases, and that we ignore and dismiss other people also based on our own internal biases, not based in logical or scientific assessment.

That we tend to try to make other people smaller when we feel intimidated or envious of them.
That we do not own, possess, or have any right to have control over other adult human beings in our life, or over their possessions, their other relationships, or their movements, decisions, or feelings, regardless of the body they were born in, or the body that we were born in, or our own feelings.

That we have habits of thought, feeling, behavior, and belief that we don't double-check, that we don't question, that we keep doing because they're comfortable, and because they fit in with others.

It's realizing that our ego often holds us back from living a better life and having  better relationships.

It's realizing that we humans often fight, argue with, disrespect, and diminish other human beings who we really should be supporting, treating with care, and listening to what they have to say.
That dramatic human interaction is created by humans, always, and usually by the most aggressive or arrogant person in a group; usually by the one who is adamantly denying blame, or the one who wants to be right, or the one who wants to be in charge.

It's realizing that we don't actually already know who is smarter, more experienced, or wiser.
That our emotions and opinions are not facts, and do not represent objective reality, regardless of who or what we are, or who we think we are.

That no one human being knows everything, or can teach you everything.
That even the greatest human teacher will be wrong sometimes, if not often, and that it should be expected when it happens, with grace.

That improvement, growth, and change always begins with ourselves, not with trying to change others.

That we really know and understand very little, both as individuals, and as a species.

That believing one's self to have reached Enlightenment and become superior to other human beings means that one has only just begun on their journey. 

"Enlightenment" is not found at the top of the mountain, nor does it  end there, nor does anyone graduate. 
It's found all along the climbing path, from the bottom and going up to the top, coming back down, and going up again, and coming back down again, and so on, and so on. It's found in the villages at the bottom of the mountain, and it's found at the peak. It's found in the lands far beyond the mountain. It's found in the trees and the rocks and the streams that are on the sides of the mountain, and in the animals and the birds, and their song. It's in the rain that falls on those who are on the climbing path, and in the sun that warms their faces. It's in the cold nights, in the bright stars, and in the grey clouds. It's inside of one's own heart, mind, and soul, and in every single person we ever meet. It's everywhere, all around us, all the time.