It may seem like “enlightenment” is a place far far away – one that requires us to struggle and suffer to even get close. It may seem like in order to take this “path towards enlightenment” seriously, we need to have the right clothes, buy the right crystals, wear the right pendants, pay for the right courses and follow the right practices. According to these ideas, an enlightened person should look like this:
Enlightenment has become the new “promised land” of spirituality, the state that guarantees peace, happiness, joy and the fulfillment of all desires. It is often portrayed as the “guru” life, one where people will look up to you and consider you as “better” and “wiser” than them. To put it simply, enlightenment can become quite the obstacle to enlightenment.
Why? Because enlightenment has nothing to do with adding anything to yourself so you can become something grander and better, it is actually a process of subtraction. Subtract all stories of what it means to be “spiritual,” “enlightened,” “better” or whatever sparkling identity you have in mind, and here you have it: an enlightened state.
“Discard this checklist for enlightenment. It is only the mind’s concoction to cheat you out of the peace you already are.” – Mooji
The word enlightenment itself can be misleading, because it is often interpreted and communicated as a “supreme” state of being that sounds so out of reach for the “average” person. But the truth is, enlightenment is nothing more and nothing less than a natural state. It is within all of us. It IS us. The question we should ask ourselves is not how we can become better, bigger, wiser and more than who we naturally are… but what identities, stories, baggage and ideas we hold on to that come in the way of us being who we naturally are.
Does it make sense to try and act naturally? “Trying,” “acting”… both are forms of pretence that actually contradict the true meaning of Natural. Are bunnies trying to “act” like bunnies? Are birds “trying” to be birds? No… they just are. They don’t have to “do” it or even think about it – it comes quite natural! So why should we? Why stress about “trying” to be who we already are?
“Even a stone, and more easily a flower or a bird, could show you the way back to the Source, to yourself. When you look at it or hold it & let it be without imposing a word of mental label on it, a sense of awe, of wonder, arises within you. Its essence silently communicates itself to you and reflects your own essence back to you.” – Eckhart Tolle
If you want to know a “shortcut to enlightenment” (sarcasm), first things first: stop trying to be enlightened. Stop trying to “kill” the ego. And stop trying to be so “spiritual.” I don’t mean to be patronizing but we are spiritual beings already – the one “trying to be spiritual” is just the one who forgot. Instead of resisting the ego because you are “supposed to be spiritual,” be the space that observes both the ego and the idea of “being spiritual.” This space is who you are.
Doesn’t it feel more natural to simply be who we are each moment? Even if we are “not quite there yet,” it isn’t about setting up a big red X on a map and focusing on a destination. Having one eye on the goal is no different than having one eye on the path. Fighting, acting, trying, pushing, pulling, rushing… when you let all of that go for a moment and take a few deep breaths, you realize that this inner battle is the very mental noise covering two obvious truths:
- You already are what you are seeking
- We are in it for the journey – not the destination
The truth is, we are already getting everything that we need for our evolution. There is no need to try and control our path – the lessons we need will keep coming, our inner-compass will keep working. Our job is to simply notice, be in the moment and enjoy the ride. Oh and just one last reminder… you don’t need to try and do those things. It’s already happening. Just notice 😉
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