how i found a path through experience
Enlightened Beings makes our hearts pound and our heads swim, even if we can’t find eyes to gaze into or a body to caress.
Enlightened Beings perform actions to lead us along our path.
I’ve already mentioned I was raised Protestant…
When I was in high school, I began to question the meaning of a lot that I had heard in Sunday School…
Actually, I began to question long before that, but once I hit my teens I realized I could read about anything I wanted. What a blessing.
I didn’t see it as a blessing at first, because escaping through disgruntlement feels more like a compulsion than a blessing. But there were both a library and a bookstore within walking distance of my house, and I found new worlds among those shelves.
Enlightened Beings wait for us in words.
I nourished crushes on a couple Jewish boys, so I started reading about Judaism. I talked with a woman who had converted to Judaism in order to marry. Bottom line: you can convert, but you can’t join the fold.
Enlightened Beings stir our passions, and lead us to question.
My best friends were Catholic, so I went to many Sunday evening masses and CYO-House bashes. I loved the toned-down ritual and the passion of some of my friends. Amid the flurry, I discovered the concept and practice of retreat. Wow, love at first sight.
Enlightened Beings nestle us into the quiet recesses of our minds.
In college, I worshipped mostly late nights, deadlines, alcohol, and cliff-jumping… But in Paris, my architecture class visited a Mosque, and I was fascinated.
Enlightened Beings present us with experiences to inspire us to grow.
I read some Idries Shah, and the Koran… I found much beauty there, but I couldn’t digest the part about beating your wife if she misbehaves.
Enlightened Beings sometimes show us what not to do.
I knew there must be a reasonable explanation, but I found no one to answer my questions.
Enlightened Beings sometimes answer our questions with silence.
I tried doing prayers to the east five times a day, but I couldn’t stick with it: no community.
Enlightened Beings sometimes keep us from paths that are better for others.
Out of college, I discovered Castaneda and Native American writings. Much of its beauty fascinated and terrified me; still no tug at my heart.
Enlightened Beings know how to get our attention when the time, place and path are right.
I gave up. I got a “real job” and got married, thinking maybe everyone else was right after all… Maybe this spiritual path thing was not for me. Those ideas didn’t hold water either.
Enlightened Beings can make our world fall apart when it’s time to change paths.
In the New Millenium, I discovered yoga. I found a teacher, did asanas, meditated and ate a sattvik diet for a year or two. What a pain for my friends and family, bless their hearts… It was impossible to dine out. Another stepping stone to move beyond.
Enlightened Beings lead us in steps – they throw us into the pool only after we’ve learned to swim.
Then the Twin Towers came down. On 9/13/2001, I went to a New Age bookstore hoping to find a prayer circle. Instead, I found Buddhism.
Enlightened Beings sometimes bait and switch.
Buddhism had never interested me before. Well, not since I was 6 or so. It was around that time that I was visiting a Sunday School class with friend after a sleepover. For the first time, I heard the line: “Anyone who does not take Christ as their Savior will go to Hell.”
I raised my hand. “What about all the little Buddhist children in China who’ve never heard of Jesus? Will they go to Hell even though they’ve never heard of him?”
My question was met with a cold, piercingly intent gaze. “Yes.” The woman who said that was a mother.
Enlightened Beings may appear having many delusions.
Now, I was just a kid, but that didn’t make sense.
And I don’t know why I asked about Buddhists, of all things. My parents subscribed to National Geographic, but there were also plenty of pictures of people in Africa and the rainforest…
Enlightened Beings focus our attention when the lesson arrives.
It was 1968, and I was in Birmingham, Alabama. People were busier trying to figure out race issues than world religions.
Enlightened Beings help us continually, even when we feel most alone.
In any case, it appears that the cold, heartless stare of the Sunday School teacher sealed my fate. I now like to view her as one of my most powerful spiritual guides.
Enlightened Beings may even appear as demons in order to speed up our realizations.
So, you might say I found Buddhism through Christianity. Isn’t it funny how the negative lessons tend to hold the most delightful surprises?
Enlightened Beings use the Emptiness of everything to assemble our destination travel packet.
Anyway, Buddhism. It works for me. Esoteric and vague enough to fit my understanding, profound and vast enough to lead me to answers. It is truly a vehicle and descriptor; nothing more.
Enlightened Beings appear throughout all religions, philosophies, cultures, times and worlds in countless forms and aspects, in order to connect with each of us in whatever way we can understand.
Enlightenment cannot be defined (hence the subtle humor in this blog title).
When we grasp, we trip.
I practiced formally, diligently, fully and completely, for a number of years. It was great for a while. But my sense of humor is a bit wicked, and eventually some of the seriousness wore thin.
Wait. Inseparable Bliss and Emptiness? I think I hear laughter…
Oh, right. Um, no, I did not do my 37 Confession Buddha prostrations yet today… I’ll get right on that. What happened to the Bliss and Emptiness?
My toughest realization became accepting that although I have a sense of humor, my tendency towards seriousness throws its weight around more. For me, formal practice kept feeling heavy.
Enlightened Beings laugh. They may tease, cajole, and play practical jokes – tirelessly. They wear us down, until we relent, accept, and love ourselves.
They… are… trying… to… loosen… us… up…
You are an Enlightened Being. I am an Enlightened Being. We appear to one another in order to help each other enjoy the appearance of life.
We only need acceptance, love, understanding, and realizations.
Please be kind to the other Enlightened Beings you meet while you’re at it; it’ll go much nicer that way.