September 24

  

Today's quotation:

Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken.  Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide.  The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass.

Dogen

Today's Meditation:

There's a definite mystique around the concept of enlightenment.  We tend to think that in order to be enlightened, we have to spend so many hours (decades?) in formal meditation, finding inside of ourselves what the world doesn't offer.  But many people have assured us that enlightenment is not just for the monks who dedicate their lives to meditation, and that it is something that all of us can strive for, no matter what kinds of lives we may lead.

In my life, for example, I find that my best meditation happens when I'm running or walking.  When I'm outside, moving, my mind clears of the stuff it normally focuses on as it naturally starts to pay attention to the natural world around me.  And running is better because I also have to pay attention to the path in front of me so that I don't trip over anything or turn an ankle.  My mind is focused on the here and now, not on peripheral stuff that truly isn't all that important, but which my mind really enjoys dwelling upon.

Clearing our minds, of course, is an important step towards enlightenment, for we can see life more clearly when we're not thinking of the stressful stuff that we so often think about.

I think that enlightenment is much more possible than we think it is, but we do too much standing in our own ways.  We tend to jump at anything that's even slightly urgent rather than allowing ourselves to be still.  Enlightenment isn't going to come when we're super busy, when we're being judgmental, when we're focused on money, when we're yelling at our kids.  I can't tell you when it is going to come, because as with everything else on this planet, it's going to come to each person in the way that's most fitting for them, in the areas of life that are most important to them.  And I may reach enlightenment concerning why people do what they do, but still not be enlightened as to the true reasons for some people's sadness or the purpose behind life and living.

I want to be enlightened mostly because of the ways I believe being enlightened can help others.  As an enlightened person, I think I could be more helpful to more people.  But I am simply a dewdrop-- yet I can contain the entire sky in my essence, can't I?  If I want to be enlightened, I have to be open to new ways of thinking, or at least letting go of the ways that I've been taught are the best.

Questions to consider:

What are some of the pressures of everyday life that may be keeping us from becoming enlightened?  What can we do about them?

How would you define "enlightenment"?  What advice would you give to someone who wants to become enlightened?

Do we value enlightenment in our culture as a whole?

For further thought:

If I could define enlightenment briefly I would say it is "the quiet acceptance of what is."

Wayne Dyer

more thoughts and ideas on enlightenment

  

    

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