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Taken in India: Rishikesh

People Alive Today Who Are Spiritually Enlightened

How many spiritually enlightened people are there?

Have you ever wondered this? Many years ago, when I was first enlightened, I wondered it, too. An answer popped into my awareness: 3400. That was over ten years ago.

Obviously, most people who are enlightened are completely unknown to the public. Not everyone who is awakened is built for being public about it. Not everyone who is awakened is a natural communicator. There are more reasons to not make one’s condition known than there are reasons to talk about it.

After I awakened, I did a pretty thorough search of the landscape of the time to see who my cohorts were, but since then I’ve had no interest in the genre. I figure my readers will be up on the latest crop of public enlightened people, so I’m asking you to weigh in.

Who is enlightened?

Have you met them, read their books, blogs or some other material? What makes you believe they are enlightened? That last question is probably really hard to answer, but I’m curious how people make these determinations.

My list (and remember, I stopped even looking ages ago):


He’s not alive, but I want to sneak on this list Nisargadatta Maharaj. Yes, I know, cheating! He’s quite dead, but when I first woke up, reading his books gave me the small comfort of finally feeling I was not alone.

Who is on your list?

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Bernadette Roberts: Book.
    Lisa Cairns: Book & Youtube
    Adyashanti: Books
    Paramahamsa Nithyananda: Books, satsangs, workshops
    Tony Parsons: youtube, documentary (short version) “Zero & One”
    Jim Newman: youtube, “Zero & One”
    Kenneth Madden: youtube interviews, “Zero & One”
    Tess Hughes: youtube

    When I read Autobiography of Yogi, even though I’d called myself atheist for twenty years, I felt in my heart that it was true. I feel the same way when I read the books or watch the videos of the people I listed–that they are telling the truth. The suggested books on your website lead me to a few of these people–thank you!

  2. Grant Eaton says:

    Although he died in the early 1970s, Alan Watts is my favorite mentor. He had a humor and a refined, superbly educated manner about him that resonates with me. You feel smarter listening to him. I discovered him by accident two months after I woke up.

    After awakening I went through a phase of uncertainty during which I felt both excited to talk about, and contemplate, my awakening experience, but also I felt reluctant to share the details with others, because it was obvious to me that even my ‘most spiritual’ and devoutly meditating friends were not awake. My experience was an inaccessible state of mind to them. Awakening can have an isolating aspect also, and may lead one to feel somewhat ostracized from the life and connections one knew when one was only a dreamer.

    Today I have three or four awakened friends. One is a flight attendant, weight lifter, and successful artist; another is an autodidact (self-trained) computer programmer who retired in his mid-30s to reeducate himself to become a psycho-therapist; another, a woman who runs a vegetarian grocery story in Australia; and another, a photographer and database expert. I probably know other awakened people that I’m not aware of, because I sense that most of us are discreet in talking about that aspect of ourselves, so I wouldn’t know they are awake. It’s not a quality I seek out in other people, although it is nice to find a kindred spirit. Focusing too preciously on being awakened can be a little bit like talking too much during a movie.

    Alan Watts spokes about certain Zen cultures having a screening process to ensure that the people who are invited to join in and awaken are able to handle the secret without going crazy—because it very well can make one crazy to learn that conscious experience is on some level, self-generated… or collectively generated, by other dimensions of the ‘cosmic you.’

    Awakened beings are not necessarily even good people. An extremely well-known, now-deceased Indian guru knowingly protected child molesters and engaged in acts with at his school for children in India. I know this because of of my friends, an Indian man now in his mid-30s, grew up at the school for many years and was one of the guru’s personal favorites for a time. He said that physicians working with the guru pretended that the molestations were medical procedures and he told me other unsavory things too raw to repeat here. The point is, a lot of these gurus have an unchecked shadow side. The world would be well-served to set aside blind faith and examine its sacred cows. Sometimes wolves hide in costumes of golden fleece.

    • James says:

      Alan Watts was an alcoholic smoker drug user and serial womaniser. He was a showman! You people would follow anyone!

  3. Donald says:

    Rupert Spira: Books and YouTube
    Eckhart Tolle: Books and YouTube
    Peter Ralston: Books and YouTube

    I’ve heard many other names on my path but I am not familiar with their work so I dont want to just regurgitate information that I’ve heard.

    P.S. I love the way you write. I am grateful that I ran across your website. Thank you so much!

    P.P.S. Could you please do a piece on your view of free will? Or lack thereof.

    • 21st Century Bodhi says:


      You’re welcome, and I’m glad to have you here. I am going to write a post in a few minutes about your question, so be on the lookout for that.

  4. 21st Century Bodhi says:

    Hi Grant:
    I love Alan, too. I just didn’t want to risk it by sneaking two dead guys onto my list when I’d asked for the living! But I’m glad you did it for me.

    No one knows I am awake. I never talk about it, even with spiritual people. I went through the same experience as you when I first woke, the excitement and desire to share and contemplate this immense shift in being, but absolutely no one could stand with me. No matter how spiritually focused people were, even those who made a living teaching spirituality, I always felt alone in the conversation.

    I’m simply astounded that you know, personally, so many awakened people. I’ve never knowingly met one in the flesh. In my case I have two things operating: being awake and being Ultra Sensory. I suspect they do not always go together. When I meet people in person, I can feel or perceive their relentless mind chatter and see their dreamstate filter, or veil.

    I couldn’t agree more about not turning a blind eye to abuses and general malfeasance by gurus and spiritual leaders, or really anyone who gains your trust by the virtue of their position. I plan on writing about navigating this power dynamic in future.

  5. Estella says:

    Jedd, Adyashanti, Eckhart Tolle, Thich Nhat Hanh, the Dalai Lama, Mooji, a guy named Mohammad whose Shaktipat led to my own enlightenment, my friend who is a healer and drum and bass DJ.

    This girl: enlietenment.tumblr.com.

    And most notably for me, my TCM, healer and one of my best friends, a radiant woman who is a Bodhisattva that became enlightened in her past life as a monk, and was guided through the after death experience by another monk with the intention of helping and healing all beings in her next birth. She remembered all of her past lives from birth and has worked with enlightened spirit beings from a young age, did the khechari mudra since she was a child (just the basic version), her power animal is a unicorn and one often is in her bathroom when she is showering, she heals tumours with energy healing and is an ordained Buddhist Tulku in mahayana state with clear mind enlightenment and love and compassion for all beings. She even loves cockroaches and talks to them, as with all animals, and they talk back. She also loves sequins. As prolific as she is, she says she is eons away from being a fully manifested Buddha because she hasn’t been an existence for long enough, but some signs are showing. Children can see a lotus flower at her throat.

    From reading Jedd to meeting her, I realized there really is more to enlightenment than just “seeing clearly”, that there are many different stages on the journey as integration progresses. I read an article once about how even after enlightenment it’s necessary to have a mentor who is more ahead on the path than you, and I agree that this is incredibly helpful. There is a lot of dark stuff that gets shed, as enlightenment is the dissolution of everything, everything needs to come up to be dissolved. Perhaps some enlightened folk who are not even good people as someone above mentioned, have gotten stuck along their way.

    • Mohd says:

      “a guy named Mohammad whose Shaktipat led to my own enlightenment”

      That is interesting!

      Can you tell me more about this guy,please ? Who he is and how did you meet him ?

      Thanks Alot.

  6. Patrick says:

    It seems to me that you can’t swing a cat these days without bumping into an enlightened person. Look at batgap.com and quora.com. What is the neighbourhood coming to?

    • 21st Century Bodhi says:

      True, but my question was who readers believe to be enlightened. Batgap is like the Oprah of its genre.

  7. Nate says:

    One person who has helped me immensely in my studies of nonduality and consciousness is
    He has many videos and podcasts online of satsang events that he has led. Definitely worth a listen!

    • James says:

      Spira is no more enlightened than any British vicar. He tells you himself if any of you will listen “nothing happened to him” (his own words). He said “a cup of tea was more stimulating” haha. Why do you people follow these man and not the Prophets?

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