November 11, 2012

The Enlightened Path: Finding True Enlightenment in a World Gone Gaga.

Photo: David Arenson

So, you landed here, and sometimes wonder: “How the hell did I get here and what is my purpose?”

The journey of life is mysterious—and filled with moments of crystal-clear clarity and joy, amidst the confusion and suffering.

Throughout your life, you may find yourself asking “How do I cultivate wisdom, and start listening to my inner voice, in the midst of a thousand voices?” Or, “How do I become more enlightened?”

A crucial aspect often missing from a discussion on enlightenment is pacing; how to pace oneself. Many try to do it all at once and then, inevitably, lose hope and fall.

Should you be ambitious and aim to reach enlightenment this lifetime, or take it slowly and be patient and accepting of your foibles, while acknowledging that there’s always your next lifetime to come to master all the lessons?

I’ve met many who have claimed that this life is their last—or at least that’s their intention. The more I’ve gotten to know them, the more it’s been clear to me that they were not enlightened.

Perhaps, if they accepted themselves more, then they wouldn’t be in a rush to leave this world! To me, they ended up just coming across as grossly disingenuous—and annoyingly holier-than-thou.

True gurus never advertise themselves as gurus.

It’s natural to have some cravings and addictions to overcome and it’s natural to strive to be more. That’s what our life is about—constantly learning more about ourselves and our role in life, bringing more light to shine on the darkness and knowing that consciousness is always expanding.

Photo: David Arenson

In Buddhism, attachment to Vedana (a Sanskrit term referring to sensations or feelings that occur when our internal sense organs come into contact with external sense objects and the associated consciousness) leads to suffering. On the other side, concentrated awareness of Vedana also leads to enlightenment and the end of suffering.

Vedana is crucial to your growth and expansion, wherever you are on the scale or pathway to enlightenment.

All of us are seeking pleasure and an end to pain suffering, and ultimately, “wholeness”. Yet, we get caught up in life’s dramas by judging others and ourselves and crave empty substitutes for living our truth authentically. It is not in denying ourselves that we find a pathway to inner peace; it is in the very experiencing of ourselves that we find authenticity and wholeness. This is the path.

Seeing beyond the veils of illusion reveals our true selves, what is inside—our authentic self. This is always present and always wholly authentically real—I like to call it your “essence.”

The mirror that life presents to us never lies. In our frenetic 21st century lives, it is more important than ever to change what is not working from the inside out—and not look for empty feel-good substitutes for doing the work. When we get out of the way of our ego, we can learn to truly experience love from the inside out as an intrinsic part of all creation—as an intrinsic part of our nature.

The heart is a vessel for love.

When you look within and live from the heart while expecting miracles—watch what unfolds. As Einstein said:

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Heart intelligence goes beyond our traditional comprehension—reopening our childhood imagination. It softens our way of being and brings kindness and compassion to our way of life.

Photo: David Arenson

The heart’s vibration extends far beyond our physical bodies. It’s vibration (electro-magnetic field) goes beyond our personal boundaries into the ethers of space; we can feel the energy around us when we attune this sense—often known as the sixth sense.

There is always something for you to learn and heal from—and always more to unfold. Yet, you need to forget your ego…just be still. In silence is found true healing.

Life becomes resistant when you resist what stares you in the face. See the light beyond the bars of separation. All it takes to break down the bars, is an open heart and courage to face the truth.

When we experience love from the inside out as an intrinsic part of all creation, we find our calling – experiencing ourselves as love. This is living our lives authentically. This is living our bliss.

So, here are six ways to becoming more enlightened:

1. Accept there is no escape from yourself.

You cannot escape; not through drugs, sex, alcohol or junk food. While you may feel like you’ve escaped, the effects will soon wear off. And once again, you’ll find yourself in waiting. Acceptance is the start of a deep inner process of personal growth, leading to fulfillment. Remember:  “Our life is the creation of our mind.” ~ Buddha

2. Find your true identity.

It’s amazing how everything will change when you change. Societal conditioning has misrepresented who you are. So many things in our life have been based on things that aren’t even true. Keep asking: Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?

3. Consciously reduce your attachment to counterfeits like material comforts.

Be aware that attachment to things outside of you will not lead you to happiness—they are just an escape from facing yourself in the mirror. They may be fun and a source of amusement or enjoyment, yet they will never be as much as you are, they will never completely satisfy you, because you are far more than any object…you are far more than that.

As a society, we have become receptive to media messages about external comforts—non-attachment requires not chasing after these shadows, counterfeits and luxuries. If you find yourself attaching to objects, it may be helpful to repeat this: “I have needs; I am not those needs.” “I have desires; I am not those desires.”

Photo: David Arenson

4. Love yourself passionately and wholeheartedly.

“If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place. Primary reality is within, secondary reality without.”  ~ Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

The source of all love is within your reach. It’s inside you. You cannot love another more than you love yourself. Loving yourself leads directly to loving choices for yourself and for others. Be the love you’re seeking. Write your love story with yourself as the hero of the story.

Know thyself. Loving yourself gets you to the true source of who you are. This is the start of consciously awakening to who you are. You become your own healer. Every glimpse of knowing, brings you closer to the ultimate truth. As Buddha said: “Be a lamp unto your own feet and do not seek outside yourself.”

Positive self-esteem is an essential foundation that should be installed in your internal software from the earliest age. Without this foundation, people will always seek external methods of validation. Yet, love is always the answer.

“The end of all wisdom is love, love, love!” ~ Ramana Maharshi

5. Stop resisting.

Since the human body is made up of over 70% water, it’s helpful to meditate on and bring into your awareness the qualities of water. Be open to new beliefs and insights. Take on the qualities of water to soften your alignment. Stop resisting and intend to consciously and unconsciously live effortlessly. On the deepest level of choice, we are the masterminds of creation. Surrender to the flow~surrender to your flow.

Water is boundless, effortless, graceful, spontaneous, fluid and always changing. How many of these qualities are you incorporating into your life, so that boundaries disappear and limitations fall? To offer no resistance to life is to be like water.

What are you resisting?

6. Become lucid in your dream.

Invite the magician to enter! If you’re sleeping, wake up!  (When pushed to answer the question, “What are you?” the Buddha responded with, “I’m awake!”)

Are you choosing your experience? Create your life how you want it. Once you realize you’re dreaming, then you have the ability to choose what you dream. If your life were a story and you were the author, what would you put inside that story, what experiences would you create—who would you be being inside your story?

Photo: David Arenson

These are my top ways of becoming more enlightened, authentically; what are yours?

Is becoming more enlightened one of your goals or secret ambitions?

Do you have your own “authentic code of honor” that you live by?

When you follow your own bliss, do you feel enlightened?

Do you find bliss in unexpected places?

Is enlightenment something you feel when you come into contact with your true nature?

What is your true nature?



Editor: Bryonie Wise

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