I can say all major spiritual traditions can be classified into two major categories. One is the category that gives gradual progress. There will be a clear-cut, defined path, like the five disciplines prescribed by the father of yoga, Patanjali – yama (discipline), niyama (personal conduct), asana (sequence of postures), pranayama (breathing), and pratyahara (withdrawal). It will appeal to the common mind. You can start and slowly continue to progress. It is easy to start but difficult to end, difficult to achieve.
The other tradition will give you the experience directly, especially the Shiva Sutras delivered by Shiva. It is all about techniques that straightaway give you enlightenment. But starting will be a little difficult because logically you cannot feel connected.
Shiva says very clearly that simple things can lead you to enlightenment. For example, there is a technique where you are to be intensely aware when sneezing happens to you and you can become enlightened! Practically He says that just a sneeze can lead you to enlightenment! How can you believe this? Logically you can’t be convinced, logically you can’t understand.
There are some methods, some techniques that give you sudden enlightenment, like those prescribed in the Shiva Sutras. One important thing you need with these sudden enlightenment techniques is the courage and the feeling of connectedness with Existence or your master.
Enlightenment can happen at any moment. Even in Tibetan Buddhism, they have the concept of ‘bardos’ – the intermediate states between death and rebirth, the states where the possibility of enlightenment is very high.
The traditions that teach us gradual enlightenment have really contributed a lot. For new seekers, they can be a really inspiring way to start. But these gradual paths have a danger. They may not give you the ultimate breakthrough, the ultimate opening, because the modern mind may get tired very soon. The modern mind is very impatient. It wants everything instantly, like instant coffee!
Sudden enlightenment methods are good because they give you a glimpse of the experience and a conviction about the possibility of the experience. Then you will not have many doubts and problems. All your problems are nothing but doubts like, ‘Is it really available? Will I be able to have it? Will I be successful? I don’t know what will happen to me. What will happen to my husband or wife?’
All these doubts are the problems. When you have at least one glimpse of sudden enlightenment, all these problems and doubts will disappear. It will be a lot easier for you to travel on your spiritual journey.
One more thing: Relax from judging the master’s words. Stop choosing what you want to follow from the master’s words and only following those ones. Then you will see, the final enlightenment happens to you.
Understand that only a person who has exhausted all the three states of waking, dream, and sleep states, can become enlightened. One who is able to unclutch from all these three states can achieve enlightenment.
source: Living Enlightenment