Enlightenment. Sometimes I think the word should come with instructions and a Surgeon General’s label. "Warning. May cause extreme bloating of ego." Or, "Warning, May cause sanity defects."
The reason I think striving for something called enlightenment is so damaging to one’s health is that it sends us into paralysis. It is the disease of the seeker, who must by necessity, seek. Maybe we’ll wave a quick hello to acceptance, rest and peace as we dash down the road toward the destination called Somewhere Better.
There is no need to put off anything until such a time as we become a better person, a holier person, or a more enlightened person. I realized that I will not find love, be able to help people more, make more money, or change the world when I am all fixed up. Being fixed up isn't required. In fact, the last person I want to come and help me, frankly, is that perfect person (you know the one!).
Only an ego puffed on self-importance could ever think up the idea that you must be in a high place before you can engage fully and be of assistance to others. What better mechanism to keep a narcissistic, self-absorbed, know-it-all ego firmly in place than the concept of an enlightened state, which will be reached someday in the future.
Now I do think it is worth looking for and finding your truth. I have found it is also valuable to cultivate self-awareness. (I had to learn that was not the same thing as self-perfection, but that's another story). In addition, I personally know a couple of people I’d call enlightened, and you may be able to think of the name of your personal guru or someone in history you consider to be just that. I'm not saying it doesn't exist...what I’m wary of is the pursuit of it. Rather, I’m in favor of ending all the seeking, the never-ending self-improvement, and pursuit of perfection as prerequisites for getting on with it.
I think “seeking enlightenment” is a rotten idea if it means:
- Looking for answers, when we are much, much better off with questions.
- Grabbing for wisdom, when we are better served by not-knowing.
- Striving for a state we feel we are not in, when a state of peace is available to us right now.
And I reckon that if you are reading this and you are already enlightened, you might very well agree.
© 2010 Elese Coit
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