No. Awakening (aka enlightenment, realization, liberation, etc.) is not a process of development, growth, addition, or expansion.
Eckhart Tolle once said at one of his seminars, “this is not a personal development seminar, but a personal diminishment seminar.” He is quite right in that you are not trying to develop or grow or add to or expand yourself. Also, a common teaching tactic is to diminish or demolish the ego and sense of “me”.
So many seekers are looking to improve themselves and they think if they improve themselves enough that they will awaken. This is not true. So many seekers are looking to grow or expand themselves or their consciousness and they think that if they grow or expand big enough that they will awaken. This is not true. So many seekers are looking to add to themselves or acquire some piece of knowledge/information or energy and once acquired that they will awaken. This is not true.
I know this is somewhat repetitive, but the point must be clear. Some may ask, why is this or these not true.
You can not improve yourself into awakening because the you that you are trying to improve is an illusion. Who/what you really are is already perfect…and so what is there to improve? No improvement to the “me” will help see through the “me”, but it only reinforces the illusion of “me”.
You can not grow or expand yourself into awakening because the you that you are trying to grow and expand is an illusion. Who/what you really are is infinite and omnipresent…and so where is there to grow or to expand? No growth or expansion of the “me” will help see through the “me”, but it only reinforces the illusion of “me”.
For the same reason, what is there to add and what could be added to the infinite? There is the identification with this body/mind (i.e. ignorance). That is why there has not yet been awakening. So, in a way, what is needed is the loss of ignorance which causes identification (by seeing what is as it always has been). Awakening is a loss, not a gain. A loss of ignorance and belief in illusion/delusions.
In analogy, there is the ocean and waves. The waves are ocean as well, but due to minor differentiation…one can make out waves. Then through the illusion of speech and thought, we come to think of the waves as separate things from each other or even from the ocean itself. In actuality, there is only ocean and never was anything other than ocean.
Now, if you identify yourself as a wave…distinct and separate from other waves…how then can you realize yourself to be the ocean? You have to give up the distinction. You have to give up the idea of separation. Of course, the wave can not give up distinction/separation – because that distinction/separation is the very basis of existence of the wave as an entity. That is to say, the wave can not act as a wave to give up the idea of distinction/separation. That only reinforces the illusion of “being a wave”. The wave can’t do anything to overcome its “being a wave”, because that strengthens the illusion of “being a wave.”
A wave can not improve itself to become the ocean…it is already the ocean.
A wave can not grow or expand itself to become the ocean…it is already the ocean.
A wave can not add or acquire to become the ocean…it is already the ocean.
Any attempts to improve, grow, expand, add, acquire, etc. to become the ocean only reinforces the illusion that it is not the ocean (only a little wave). Cease struggling…the struggle only strengthens the illusion of bondage. Instead, be still…be quiet…cease making any efforts…and deeply look at, inquire, and investigate what you feel yourself to be. Only the realization of being the ocean all along will change the understanding from “being a wave” to “being the ocean.”
Illusions only hold power when they remain uninvestigated and uninquired into. If you mistook a piece of rope in the grass for a snake, it would only take looking at, inquiring, and investigating it to realize it is a piece of rope. Until the illusion in the mind…the “me”…is unveiled and unmasked, there will still be the belief that you are this “me”. As long as there is a “me”, there will still be the experience of suffering and problems. As long as there is a “me” that you believe yourself to be, you are “being a wave”…which is an illusion…there is only ocean. You are That.