The small seed of enlightenment is all you need to start a journey which will be as long as you desire.
Allow me to state an obvious fact. The powerful Oak in the wood only exists because a small acorn germinates in the soil. Enlightenment can only be achieved by a person first having the seed planted in them. This seed is a desire to understand more about life, the universe and everything. It can be planted in anyone at anytime and for a multitude of reasons, and can take the shape of a book, a simple mantra, a song and yes even a work of art.
While a seed of enlightenment can be planted in anyone whether it takes hold and grows to its full fruition is down to the individual.
Many people give up on the journey as they see it will limit their life style perceiving that an enlightened state can only be achieve with years of solitary meditation or prayer. This notion is of course false, personally I seen no reason why enlightenment can’t be achieved as quickly by a shop assistant in Devon as a Buddhist monk in Tibet. This statement must not be seen as a disrespectful swipe to the Buddhist religion which I hold in very high regard. I use it only to clarify that enlightenment is not limited to a style of faith or position in society. To believe this is simply once again a wrong perception.
Who gets to decide when a person is enlightened? This is a dilemma indeed. Surely no one can ever proclaim one self enlightened that would be the height of arrogance. Conventional learning paths would have to suggest that only another such person could proclaim you enlightened, so if we follow this to its end result it becomes just another form of elitist hierarchy.
I have dodged the obvious question; can anyone on earth really ever be called enlightened? It depends on your definition. If it is that you have achieved total clarity of perception, reason, and knowledge, in other words you have become an omnipotent being, then I believe that such a state in our current human form is unlikely. If your definition is being able to view all living beings equally as one without distinction as to race, economic background, and belief systems, then I would say that this is obtainable within this lifetime, but not an easy road to follow. This I feel would be the seed grown to true earthly enlightenment.
Art created 2007 /writing February 2008