Enlightenment Is A Dirty Word (Redux)

Enlightenment Is A Dirty Word. That is the title of one of my essays written when my husband was dying. As I was lying down just now, a thought came over me and I had to get up to write this essay, so pay attention. I gave up a nap just for you.

The idea that someone can be enlightened by listening to a teacher or guru may be true or untrue. But something is wrong with this picture, which is the subject of cartoons, jokes and serious tomes. Even if you DO get it, it will not change your character or your essence.

There is simply no such thing as earthly paradise. It can only be a paradoxical experience to be human. You may be enlightened and be a gambler or a womanizer. That is the cold hard fact. You can spend money or crawl up a thousand steps to a temple but you will return the same way that you came.

I started walking the path before I knew what I was doing. I had a question I wanted answered. How can I be enlightened? In today’s spiritual market place, plenty of people claim to be able to enlighten other people. But they cannot change anyone’s character. Read it again. They cannot change anyone’s character. There are people selling you enlightenment that couldn’t get security clearance at Walmart.

Yeah, I am not exaggerating. Pay attention to one thing and one thing only. What are you like inwardly? Don’t bother to tell me because I already know. Scared, lonely, awkward, etc. and so forth. Enlightenment might as well be sold in aerosol cans. Some people would pay a good price to be ripped off.

Oh, there are many people with integrity and character giving talks on awakening. But many do it for a living, for profit, because they have an extraverted personality and charisma. I doubt they know any more than you do. They just present well.

Look inside. The guru is in there. He or she has been hiding all along. The opening is within. The heart is within. The world is an illusion and it is playing you for all you’re worth.

You may get enlightenment, but it would be wonderful if you got kinder, less driven, more motivated to go easy on yourself and certainly more at ease in your own skin.

Until then, seek enlightenment like your house is on fire. And while you are, notice if you are kind to people, including yourself. You are in dire straits, caught in a dying body, watching your loved ones suffer for various reasons.

Embrace the ugliness, the crashing fatigue, the endless hours of housekeeping and chore-doing. The guru is inside of you. Laughing his ass off. Waiting for you to turn around and say to yourself at long last, “I sure do love you. I really, really love you.”

Vicki Woodyard

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