Want Enlightenment? Read On….
What is this so-called elusive state of enlightenment made of? We know that enlightened people exist and many have preceded us. We know it’s possible.
But it might not be what you think it is. Perhaps it is really, really, really simple.
Stop believing your thoughts.
Hmmm…what do our thoughts (or our belief in them) have to do with enlightenment? EVERYTHING. We are inundated with thousands of thoughts every day. Sometimes those thoughts make us feel good and sometimes those thoughts make us feel bad. Sometimes they elicit a state of peace and sometimes they bring on a feeling of conflict. They can be regretful in nature and they can be exciting. But one thing is consistent. They are never, ever consistent 🙂
If you actually stop and pay attention to your thoughts (and this, of course, is the first and necessary step to enlightenment) you will find a complete lack of consistency and coherence. Here’s an example of a typical running dialogue inside our minds:
“I don’t want to go to Jim’s party tonight. I think he’s mad at me. But I should go. But I don’t want to. I don’t feel like seeing him and his friends. But what if I don’t go. He’ll be even more angry at me. I bet he’s actually not that angry at me. Is this all in my head? Am I imagining this? I don’t want to go. I’ll go for maximum 3 hours. Maybe I’ll have fun. Probably not. It’s going to ruin my weekend.”
Did you catch all of the contradicting and incoherent thoughts? How could someone ever actually live in peace with this insanity? Here’s the kicker: YOU CAN’T.
So, do we somehow learn to magically eradicate our thoughts completely? Not possible. Thoughts are not personal and do not reside within you on a physical level. Thoughts are made up of energy on a collective level; meaning that they do not belong to any one person. They are not personal (even though they appear very personal). Any thought you have ever had or will ever have has already been experienced and will continue to be experienced by others.
So how do we deal with the constant barrage of thought?
You stop attaching to them and you stop believing that they are true. Thoughts are a tool of the psyche to gain a sense of control over your world. Since most people refuse to simply allow life to be new and fresh and curious on a moment to moment basis (and that IS enlightenment), they need to label and judge and assess and analyze their experience of life and do that through thinking.
This is bad. This is great! I’m bored. He’s gross. No one likes me. I’m a failure. I’m better than her. My kid is smarter. My kid is failing. My life needs a makeover. It’s nice out. It’s horrible out.
You can see how our fickle thoughts can keep us from just being present. Just allowing life to unfold and experience it with the curiousity of a little kid. Accepting it. Being totally and completely present for it. Showing up.
Instead, we label and criticize and make it ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or something. The minute we begin to judge our experience through thinking, we’re no longer present. We’re no longer living fully. We have effectively stepped back, removed ourselves and have reduced our experience to a series of incohesive thoughts and judgments.
The New Age movement would have you change your thoughts. Just be more positive! Just think of things you WANT out of life and that will improve things! I beg to differ. You can no more control your thoughts than you can the weather. I’d love to meet the person who has actually managed to ONLY have positive thoughts. Here’s a newsflash: THEY DON’T EXIST!!!!!!!
The bottom line is that every time you have a thought, you are at it’s mercy….if you continue to attach to them and believe them.
Have you ever noticed that while you are having these thoughts, there is another part of you that is listening to them? Witnessing all of this inner chaos. How can that be? How can you both be having these thoughts AND be listening to them at the same time? Could it be that there is a part of you that is something other than the thoughts that you think? Could it be that this part is a silent witness to everything that is happening?
And could it quite possibly be, that this silent witness who is always simply watching and observing and listening, could it be that that is the REAL you? The conscious you? The awake you?
After all, if you can listen to all of the blabbering going on inside of your head, than WHO or WHAT is doing the listening?
The more you can withdraw your attention and attachment to your thoughts and the more that you can align with the part of you that is witnessing these thoughts, the closer you will come to enlightenment.
It is that simple and it is that profound.
As long as you think you are your thoughts and continue to attach to them and believe them, you will sit in confusion and suffering. At best, there will be a constant low level of unease that you can’t quite put your finger on. That is because your thoughts are always aiming at protecting you from something.
If, instead, you can become the Witness to your thoughts, than you can simply observe all of the incessant, contradictory, bipolar nature of your thoughts. You don’t have to be dragged down and under the water with them. You don’t have to drown. You have another option.
It’s called enlightenment. Don’t believe your thoughts. Don’t try to eradicate them. It won’t work. Just witness. See the constant swirling of energy and just be here. Now. Be here for every single moment. Don’t attach to the thoughts that aim to label your experience and own it; claim it; judge it; control it. Just BE.
It will be the end of your suffering.
It will be the moment you wake up.
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