Many people think of enlightenment, or a perfect union with God, as something unattainable for an ‘ordinary’ person, something that only rare, ‘special’, and highly qualified people experience. This is not true.
There are two approaches to the spiritual journey. The ascending process, which depends on an individual’s qualification and worthiness. This is a difficult path which is founded on the principle of personal strength, but which is arduous and filled with pitfalls and may lead to pride.
The descending process is founded upon the recognition of my lack of qualification and worthiness. I recognize my weakness and smallness, and like a drowning man, in a mood of profound humility I reach out my hand and invoke the mercy of a Higher Power to raise me up. This path is not dependent upon my personal qualification but is actually the surest way to be blessed with enlightenment.
In the Yoga Sutra 1.23, after describing the difficult process of attaining samadhi by the practice of astanga yoga, Patanjali says:
One can also attain the highest state of samadhi by supplication, devotion and surrender to Ishvara (the Supreme Soul).