Earnestness leads to Enlightenment like it dose to any skill in life. The earnestness is all the intense interest, research, understanding, and determination it takes to get there. It’s the effort applied when reaching for a distant goal. When most people think of enlightenment they think of it as a long distance off, or it happens naturally without effort. This is a confusing point for some, because of the nature of Self-realization. Which happens during a state of surrendering or effortlessly being, but it also follows a long effortful journey to get to that point. Everyone will have different time frames due to the varying degrees of interest and ingrained dogmas, or predispositions that stagnate growth. Nonetheless, by getting an idea of how much earnestness is required you get a feel for what it takes, and you can compare it to your own accomplishments. It will also help in instilling confidence in the practitioner, knowing that they had a similar experience in earnestness, that sustained desire to understand something totally. Enlightenment talk here is returning home to Eternity, and realizing your true identity first hand. You’re really going in full circle, back through the same direction or door from whence you came.
How much effort is necessary to realize your true identity? Well, how much effort do you need in order to become an expert at something like a trade, craft or profession. Do you play a sport or instrument with ease, like the instrument or equipment was a pure extension of your intention, and on a good day you’re as close to perfection as you can get. To be able to get to that level takes plenty of earnestness, and at that level the same feelings hold true of effortlessly doing it, without employing the mind. This is a state of “Witnessing” which is based in knowledge and matures with practice, produces your best performance. When you get extremely interested and determined to be good at something, you really can’t leave it alone until you master it. And, once you arrive at that easy stage of a master, then you’re so confident in your skill it that happens naturally and spontaneously without thinking, never doubting your ability. Similarly, mastering the art of spirituality takes this type of seriousness until it becomes effortless, and a natural part of your daily existence. Always working on yourself until you don’t know anything else, or any other way of living. It’s a natural part of you, and an on going process that eventually dominates everything else, deeming them ineffective to your pursuit. You don’t have to think about purposely doing it anymore, since you live and breath it now, and if you have no intention of stopping, then only one thing can happen, you find and see Eternal PERFECTION.
Waiting for Enlightenment without making the effort just doesn’t work, but maybe once in a millennium someone stumbles onto it, gets close, or touches it through meltdowns, drugs, epiphanies, or near death experiences. These are unusual circumstances that do provide spiritual experiences, however, rarely does it bring about the complete Self-realization that we’re looking for, and there is no settling for less. Nothing in life comes easy as you know and this is no different from that, all the failures and successes on the path are a necessary part of the journey. Obviously no one can do that for you, so you have to find your own inner desire, your leader, your teacher, and let pure reasoning guide you through.
Contemplation and meditation seems to be the path for all, because even though the vehicles arrive from all directions, from different levels and although they are filled with different spiritual fuels, they all end up taking the same path. Introspection and pure being by surrendering control turns out to be the sincere earnestness that’s required. Waiting in thoughtless being for the metaphorical door to open, is the waiting area for all, and we all end up knocking at the same door. The Source has but one door, which is the white of consciousness, and all paths are united when approaching that door, and your persistence at remaining there, opens it. How much do you want it? Are you willing to sacrifice everything, including your personal life for that goal? If you are earnest and steadfast to your goal, it won’t take that long, but few will be, most will wander off, enticed by the world of senses. If you are 100% committed on all fronts, it will be similar to getting a degree, of about two to four years after reaching your round the clock commitment.