This post contains spoilers … about life. You’ve been warned.
Open your left hand. Hold it next to the left side of your face, about one inch from your ear. Now turn your head to face your hand.
This is how close you are to enlightenment. Inner peace is as close as your palm is to your nose right now. It’s always been right there … and your soul knows it.
So you can stop telling yourself you have volumes of spiritual texts to read, costly self-improvement seminars to attend and life altering quests to Nepal that must happen before you can know inner peace or become enlightened. You can take the notion of this being a complicated endeavor and chuck it off the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Because inner peace is completely and easily attainable. Enlightenment is not an illusive mysterious thing reserved for monks.
They’re a built in state of all humanity—as natural for us, individually and collectively, as our current state of chronic discontent and pervasive fear. And as easy to access.
So why then do millions of people seek inner peace but never find it and fail to become enlightened?
Because inner peace is hidden in plain sight— the one place no one is looking. And because you never become enlightened … you just stop being unenlightened. There is nothing to become. You had everything you needed the second you were born. We just haven’t been socialized to understand that. But like a body knows how to heal, your soul knows what to do. It will even meet you halfway but it must wait for you to begin.
1. Get Present. Stay Present.
As a modern person in 2016, with everything that that means, it’s a pretty sure bet that you’re rarely, if ever, living in the now. And you don’t even know it.
But the present moment is where life is happening. If you’re not in it, you’re missing your life. Though today it’s perfectly normal to live every waking moment several layers removed from the present. Just think of the last time you sat on the couch with your loved one, watching TV, from behind your phone, where you’re focused on a picture of a friend’s vacation that took place last week half way around the world … By living our daily lives in this dysfunctional way we’re missing not only the signs and lessons being constantly shown to us in subtle and not so subtle ways but we’re also missing true joy, true love, peace, passion and bliss. It’s no mystery why depression is skyrocketing. Not only are the common activities of our lives largely empty but their very purpose is to provide you a virtual, alternate reality, though you must be fully present in ‘the now of you’ to observe and absorb the real abundance of life.
If you’re never present of course you will feel empty and unfulfilled.
It’s in the present moment where inner peace and enlightenment are waiting for you. They don’t even exist anywhere but in the now.
This isn’t something we’re taught, in fact we’re encouraged to live with our body in one place and our consciousness is in another. Been to Disney World lately? Now your ticket is a Fast Pass. So essentially, to even participate in the experience of Disney these days, you must stay vigilantly consumed with always reserving your spot on the next ride. Not even realizing this forces you to entirely forfeit the thrills and joy only available in the present moment. Even our vacations are completely future oriented, a pretty revealing mirror of how we’re living our everyday lives, wouldn’t you say?
Today, start becoming reacquainted with the present. Make this a daily practice and rank it among your highest priorities. If you’re at soccer practice watching your child, BE at soccer practice watching your child. The next time you’re talking with someone, whether it’s your best friend or a barista, be only in that moment. Focus all of your attention on this exchange. Time will seem to slow down—and you’ll even notice a stillness inside yourself as you fully listen to the words of the other person. This stillness is you. The more you do this in every exchange and activity of your life, you’ll begin to understand that joy and peace and love are only available in this magical place called now. That it’s the only place you’d ever experienced them. This is a profound discovery once you become aware just how true it is.
You’ll need to keep calling yourself into the present. That’s okay. That’s why it’s a practice. Be as gentle with yourself as you are determined.
2. Put Your Mind in Its Place
Once you’re getting all your awareness into the present moment more frequently you’ll begin to notice something. Your mind is constantly running. It literally never shuts up! That voice in your head! If it’s not narrating the world around you (as if that’s remotely necessary) it’s tricking you into believing it is you. And of course you believe you are your mind—we are a mind driven culture. And just like the acceptable disease of living outside the moment … we’re doing it wrong.
Let me be the first to tell you that your mind is just a tool. Like a wrench, it’s to be used for practical purposes, things like logic and list making, and then put away. Even decisions, big and small, are best made from ‘the stillness’ from a place of no-mind, where you can feel the right thing to do or come to know the best next move. Your mind will resist being relegated to its rightful place. It’s used to being at the center of your universe. When you notice that it’s doing what it’s always done—yammering on like it’s vital to your very existence—just keep telling it to shut the f*%k up. You’ll start to notice that the stillness inside grows bigger. This still place inside is who you are. Your mind will start to get the message that it’s not the star of the show. It’s been able to run amuck, but that day is over.
(FYI The ego is just the pesky younger sibling of the mind. Make sure you’re in charge of that one too. They are both relatively unimportant, things to be used when necessary. But if allowed, they will fight for the spotlight, they will try to run shit, they want to be as big a part of your life as possible. Continue to remind them of their functions to get them out of the way.)
3. Let Go of Your Attachments
Attachment is the root of all suffering. It’s also the last barrier between you and the bliss of inner peace and full understanding and ease of enlightenment.
Now that you’ve ‘come into the moment’ and ‘put your mind in it’s place’, you’ll be able to get honest with yourself about what you’re attached to. The things you’re attached to will be easy to observe. Easy to see, easy to feel. There will usually be anxiety and struggle around these things, all the things you feel justified in being attached to. All the things it terrifies you to consider what might happen if you actually let go. The things your grasping so tightly, shoulders pinned to your ears…
So what are you attached to? Your life perhaps, for starters, right? How could you let go of your attachment to that? Why would you want to? What would that even look like? Though you had no mental attachment to your own existence as a baby and that seemed to work out but let’s keep going. What else? Your roles maybe? Wife, doctor, officer, senator, mother, bread-winner, student, son? How about organized soccer mom, the most gifted student, or happy wife. Are you making an identity for yourself out of any of those things? Are you attached to things you believe shape who you are? I’m not here to criticize the magnets on the back of your minivan. I’m here to prompt you to consider if attaching ‘ever changing life circumstances’ to your concept of ‘who you are’ is a rational thing to do. If ‘mother’ is who you are, who will you be when your kids are gone? How could ‘mother’ be who you are if there was a day when you had no children? The truth is, you are you, the same you as when you were born, perhaps right now you’re mothering, but it’s not ‘who you are.’ Detaching who you are from the roles you play creates the space for peace to enter.
How about being attached to outcomes? Your day going a certain way? If you’re attached to changeable things you’re creating suffering in your own life and in the lives of those around you. You’re building a brink wall between you and inner peace.
Let go of more than you ever thought you could. And then let go of the rest.
If you enjoyed this blog, read the author’s enlightening, breakout debut novel. Animus, The Oldest Soul Trilogy (Book One)
Eve has no idea she’s the oldest soul on earth, with a pre-wired connection to every other soul on the planet and that the boy she’s mysteriously drawn to, named Roman, has been her soul mate, her love of nearly three hundred lifetimes—until he tells her.
But what Roman doesn’t mention is that the new genetic test called Animus will soon expose what she is to the whole world and that he’s being tasked with the impossible; steering her, into the open arms of another, a boy named Jude. She’ll learn that Jude’s the only brand new soul on earth; the one who’s come to change the world, and that the future of humanity rests in their intertwined destiny.
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