June 19      

Today's quotation:

Enlightenment does not consist of pretending to be where we are not; enlightenment means being in touch with where we are and being willing to learn what God would have us learn from it.  Sometimes the purpose of a day is to merely feel our sadness, knowing that as we do we allow whole layers of grief, like old skin cells, to drop off us.

Marianne Williamson

Today's Meditation:

I want to be enlightened, but I'm not so sure if I'll ever reach the state.  I have too many preconceived notions, and I'm too prone to judgment and trusting my first impressions.  I'm trying, though, to let life be life and to take it in rather than trying to control it; trying to accept things rather than manipulate them; trying to love rather than judge.  It's not all that easy, but it's also not all that difficult.  I do try to be sure that when something happens I do my best to learn from it rather than trying to figure it out, because life is life, and it will keep on being life no matter how I respond to it.

Whatever our current situations, we have the choice as to how to respond to them.  We can say they're not fair, that we're being rewarded because we're "better" than other people, that they're going to change soon, that they're unbearable-- the list is very long.  But if we accept them for exactly what they are and appreciate them for the lessons they're giving us, then I think that we're working towards enlightenment.

We can't change the way the world works.  The sun will rise tomorrow without my assistance, says the Talmud, and just as I accept the sunrise each day, if I can accept the changes in politics, in relationships, in job situations just as I accept the sunrise, I'll be allowing myself to feel a sense of peace and balance that I wouldn't feel otherwise.  Accepting a situation doesn't mean suffering from it-- if I'm sitting in the shade and an hour later the light has shifted and I'm in the hot sunlight, I do have to accept the situation, but there's nothing keeping me from moving back into the shade.

Is there a journey towards enlightenment?  I don't believe so.  To me, rather, enlightenment is a letting go of our need to judge and to attempt to control situations, a letting go of our need to have explanations for everything.  If we can let life be life and try to be persons who flow with life and do our best to contribute to it in positive ways, who knows?  We may find that enlightenment is closer than we think.

Questions to consider:

How do you define enlightenment?  What might you need to do to reach it?

Why do so many of us see enlightenment as something that only others can attain?

What are some of the most difficult things in your life for you to accept?

For further thought:

If we pretend to be more enlightened than we really are, we will miss an opportunity to heal ourselves.  Admitting our limitations can make us feel vulnerable, yet it is very freeing.  We just have to be ourselves as we are now, accepting the mixture of enlightened awareness and human limitation that is in each of us.  Through this self-acceptance, we find a deep peace and self-love.

Shakti Gawain

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