The hardest part about getting somewhere is knowing which way to go. Because so much time is wasted on paths that lead us no closer, we, of course, get no closer to our goal. And the hardest thing of all to realize is that we, in many ways, are already there.
I think the hardest thing to realize is that enlightenment is not about gaining things (wisdom and knowledge). It is about letting go of what you have already accumulated. All those things you have learned along the way have served you in your life but have not awoken the person inside you that is the most essential you. To give you an example, let us say that you have learned many things from books. This is fine, but consider this. There is no way those books can possibly teach you all the combinations of what might happen to you. You cannot learn your life from books. You can only use the resources you have inside to deal with those big issues that come along. Sure, you can turn to others for support, and struggle with the dilemma, but the truth is that the answer can only come from within.
Even having enlightenment as a goal can be a bit misleading. A goal really shouldn’t be so intangible and seemingly impossible to achieve. You really just need to be yourself. That is the secret that you have been searching for.
Ever wake up from a dream you had? Ever wondered how you could experience such things when you have never experienced such things in your normal life? Your mind is incredibly creative. It is much more creative than you give it credit for. If you were to use this creativity in your everyday life, imagine what kind of possibilities could emerge. Situations that might normally be tragic or worrisome would suddenly turn into a joy. When you have to power of the universe at your disposal, what can go wrong? You say plenty… but the answer is that nothing can go wrong when you realize that nothing can go wrong.
Part of enlightenment is to realize that there is no right or wrong. For example, if I chose to spell the word Hadspen as Hadspeen, I am wrong? Probably. You see it is a town in Tasmania, Australia that I visited last year. I honestly could not tell you which of the two spellings is correct. In truth, it does not matter if this spelling is correct. It is easy to judge something as wrong and also to have reasons for it to be wrong but really the difference between what is called right and wrong can be so small. It is our judgement that places such a high value on what is correct and what is not. Judgment often blocks us from seeing things as they really are.
It is the classic case of jumping to conclusions. Before letting the events reveal their true nature, we often jump to categorize the things around us. It is a reflex really. We often cannot help but find judgment in everything around us. It normally is how we deal with all the things around us. Those pre-conceptions often get us into trouble. We do not let people be who they are and only see what we expect to see. It is safe to live this way but really it is nothing but self-deception. You cannot see the world clearly if you refuse to drop the accumulation that you have built up over the years. It is important to take the time to see things as they really are.
It is about this point that you might say what does this have to do with me reaching enlightenment?
Absolutely nothing. How honest can you get? You do not become enlightened from reading things. You become more enlightened by allowing yourself to live. This implies that you are willing to look death in the face and laugh. Really, you must not fear yourself dying. Death is an old friend and if you knew it properly, you would actually respect what it means. You lose nothing by dying. You do not lose yourself or anything that your life meant or your loved ones. These things are always with you regardless of what you do in the future. In other words, you lose nothing. Death is not to be feared because it is a natural part of life. Time defines that things have a beginning and end. Why not accept this truth? Do you think you are really going to get away with living forever? What the hell do you think you are going to do with all that time anyways? Everyone else you know will be gone and there really won’t be much for you to do anyhow. It all comes back to being afraid of dying. If you can drop this fear, this is a huge step towards becoming more enlightened.
The hardest thing to accept (and I still have trouble with this one) is to accept everything and everyone as they are. It is so hard to leave things alone. It is so tempting to try to manipulate the situation to the way that I think it should be. Usually this is nothing but dangerous. My meddling actually causes things to be a bit worse. If I go with the flow of life, things tend to flow very smoothly. If I interfere, things become a bit rougher. I see this as life trying to teach me to relax and let go of my desire to control. The script is always being written for me. When I try to change the script, things go askew. When I say my lines as I am meant to, things flow so beautifully. If it works for the movies, why should it not work for me too? That seems a bit funny to me since I just realized that I am talking about the script when I am actually writing what I am supposed to say.
I think the bottom line is to drop the desire to become enlightened. This goal will happen more naturally if you just try to understand yourself and then be yourself. How can you go wrong by being who you really are? That seems like a bit of a silly question, but really, who are you and what do you really want to do? That answer is up to you.
[This was written in 2002 by me and very recently rediscovered.]