The Challenging State of the Enlighted

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We oft believe that enlightenment implies we are free of worldly burdens. This can be true but, generally, isn't.

There is a story about a young man who had spent years seeking enlightenment and was, one day, walking up a long road up a mountain range to engage with the wise beings at the top. En route, he past an old man coming back down the path, his body bent under the weight of a heavy sack. Sensing that he had finally found one of the wise, a being who could answer his heart’s deepest questions, the younger man asked excitedly, “Please, Sir, tell me the meaning of true enlightenment?”

After a moment’s thought, the old man smiled. Fixing his eyes on the youth, he slowly swung his heavy burden off his back, laid it down and stood up straight and majestic, a strong look on his face, and joy radiating from his body.

In awe, the young man replied, “Ah, I understand! But, Sir, now that you’re enlightened, what comes next?”

Taking a deep breath, the old man picked up his heavy sack, slung it over his shoulders and, bent over, continued on his way.

The title of this post is intentionally spelt. You will find that most humans under the age of five years are among the most enlighted. They are free of the burdens we have piled on upon ourselves through the course of our lifetime, but, more importantly, they are well and truly connected to the living force that runs through them.

Oft times, we believe that reaching a state of enlightenment implies that we are free of, what we consider, worldly burdens. This can be true but, generally, isn’t.

If you want to shed the load of commercial life, you would need to extract yourself from common society and live in the mountains by yourself. It may be a very boring existence. Not because solitary life in the mountains is boring. That could be a very exciting aspect, but if you are seeking a life free of challenge, rest assured, life will prove to be exceptionally meaningless.

Achieving this state of enlightenment does not mean we drop our burdens. It means we approach them with a different heart and mind. Challenge is how we grow in life. The monks that seclude themselves in isolated areas routinely bring in planned challenge so as to grow their brethren. They understand the importance of the basic challenges and essential tasks of life, and, where they have removed the natural challenges that life would present, they create their own.

Most people in commercial society do not understand this and, conversely, do their utmost to avoid the natural challenges that life presents. They would rather nullify their growth by ignoring so-called problems or handing them over to other people.

I marvel at the number of people I’ve encountered that seek spiritual enlightenment but fail to recognise spirit in every aspect of their lives that don’t involve meditation or worship. There will always be essential steps to deal with on a daily basis regardless of how connected you are to spirit. In fact, the most connected, the most magical those regular mundane experiences become, and the challenges in themselves will grow and be that much more challenging. It is the way we grow and learn and experience the joys of life.

Here’s my more personal account of this enlighted life journey.