Multitudes of people follow some kind of spiritual path, but very few succeed in realizing the ultimate truth and become ‘enlightened’.
Why is that?
When you feel angry, confused, vulnerable and upset, you go to a doctor or psychiatrist, a priest, a therapist, a coach, a healer, a specialist, a social worker, a palm reader, or an astrologer.
You take up religion, are born again, get into philosophy, become an agnostic, an atheist, take the Insight or Landmark Seminars, tap your forehead with EFT.
You get all your chakras balanced, your DNA activated, try some reflexology, some kinesiology, go for ear acupuncture, do iridology, hot stone therapy, get healed with lights, sounds, and crystal bowls.
You meditate, chant mantras, drink green tea. Try magic mushrooms and psychedelics. Get Reiki, try the Pentecostals, do the Rosary, breathe in fire, speak in tongues, pray, implore, declare and beseech.
You get centered, heart-centered, learn NLP, try actualizations, visualizations, feelingizations, study psychology, do a past life regression, join a Jungian or dream interpretation group.
You get into Rolfing, the Alexander Technique, Feldekraus, jog, jazzercise, zumba, spirit dance, trans-dance, practice yoga, have colonics, get into nutrition and aerobics, hang upside down, wear psychic jewelry on your nose.
You see your homeopath, chiropractor, naturopath. Or try transactional analysis, discover your Enneagram or Myers-Briggs type, get your meridians balanced, join a Conscious Something group.
You take antidepressants, get tranquilizers, get some hormone shots, flu shots, try tissue salts, have your minerals analyzed and balanced. Take Rescue Remedy. Learn astral projection and listen to messages from the Galactic Federation.
You become a vegetarian. Give up sugar. Eat only cabbage. Try macrobiotics, go organic, go raw, non-dairy, eat no GMO’s. Try fasting and intermittent fasting. Take amino acids and anti-acids. Go to health spas. Cook with exotic ingredients. Eat fermented foods. Take brain enzymes, Bach flower remedies, eat only grapefruit.
You meet with Native American medicine men, do a sweat lodge. Connect with the Pleiades. Go on a vision quest. Find your Animal Guide or Spirit Guide and build them an altar. You invoke the spirit of your ancestors, the four directions, the spirits of the wild, feed elementals you can’t see.
You go to the Amazon jungle and visit a shaman. Go on a retreat. Sing tribal chants. Relive past lives. Visit the underworld and retrieve your soul. Scream primal screams. Take medicine plants, ayahuasca, peyote, San Pedro, Santa Maria, iboga. Hold hands in a circle, sing, drum, dance and get high.
You go to India. Try to find your soulmate, eat, pray, and love. Find a new guru. Take off your clothes. Get blessed by Baba Somebody. Swim in the Ganges naked. Stare at the sun, howl at the moon. Shave your head. Eat with your fingers, get really messy, take cold showers. Sing Kirtan songs with people you’ve never met.
You try hypnotic regression. Time-line therapy. Do psychodrama. Punch pillows. Write letters to your parents and to your future self. Join a marriage encounter group, discover your Imago. Go to Unity. Go to Agape. Go to Bible study groups. Write affirmations and stick them to a mirror. Make a vision board.
You get re-birthed. Read Angel Cards. Do the Tarot cards. Get into the occult. Study magic. Work with a kahuna. Join a mystery school. Learn a secret handshake. Try color therapy, swim with the dolphins, listen to subliminal and paraliminal tapes. Study Zen and cast the I-Ching.
You take a shamanic journey. Walk El Camino de Santiago. Go on pilgrimage. Visit Mecca. Walk barefoot. Walk on your hands and knees. Hug a tree. Sit on a mountain, watch the sunrise and sunset. Read Nostradamus. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
You go to Tibet, become a monk and sell your Ferrari. Chase after holy men. Meet the Dalai Lama. Try to find Babaji. Become a yogi. Renounce sex, watching television, going to the movies and Facebook. Wear some yellow robes. Join a cult. You try Chinese herbs, moxi-bustion, shiatsu, acupressure, feng-shui.
You try to improve the ecology. Save the environment. Save the planet. Walk for love, against injustice and war, and for peace. Get an aura reading. Carry a crystal. Carry a gratitude rock. Get a Hindu sidereal astrological interpretation. Visit a trans-medium.
You go for sex therapy. Try Tantric massage and tantric sex. Join an polyamorous group. Travel to Lourdes. Soak in the hot springs. Wear therapeutic wooden sandals. Get grounded. Get connected. Get centered again. Raise your kundalini. Inhale more prana in, and exhale out the black negativity out.
You try golden needle acupuncture. Drink colloidal gold. Check out snake and bear gallbladders, Tiger and Lion’s teeth. Try chakra breathing, holotropic breathing, belly breathing. Get your aura cleaned. Smudge your home with salvia and sage. Meditate in the great pyramids of Egypt, Mexico, or under a wooden one you built at home.
You take more courses and workshops. Buy lots of books that you never read. Watch Oprah, TED Talks, and Gaiam TV. Subscribe to lots of journals, email newsletters, websites and podcasts. Attend every webinar, teleconference, and online Summit you can find – especially the free ones. Download all the mp3, mp4 and pdf your computer can fit. Like and share every inspiring post on your Instagram, Twitter or Facebook feed.
You, me and many of your friends have tried all these things, as part of our endless search for something we call ‘Enligthment’ which promises an answer to our suffering, our pain, our confusion, our shame.
Have you ever thought that maybe this thing called ‘Enlightenment’ is not something we’ll ever find “out there” in the world, and that’s precisely why we can’t find it?
What if there’s a paradox of Enlightenment that says…
That in order to experience ‘enlightenment’ you first have to stop giving a darn about it, and instead get shamelessly real and connected to what makes you fully human and connected to the humanity in others. All this, so that you can eventually surrender it and rise into the Lightness of your Divine being.
In other words, the path towards the light requires you to first love and embrace ALL of your humanity – this means your light, your darkness as well as your shadows – BEFORE you can even attempt to become an ‘enlightened’ being.
This would make ‘Enlightenment’ an inside-job. Wouldn’t it?
It would also make it available to you right here, and right now. Wouldn’t it?
Because your heart is the only unconditionally loving space where Zorba the Greek and Zorba the Buddha can sing and dance together.
Feel free to leave your comments below.
Picture from the film Zorba the Greek, starring Anthony Quinn