consciously turn towards for inspiration, while unconsciously categorizing as other-worldly. As yoga and meditation practitioners we may be willing to plant our feet on a path towards enlightenment. However, many of us do so convinced we don’t stand a chance of achieving this state of being ourselves.
The stickiness with enlightenment is that implication of landing somewhere - a fixed (albeit perhaps wonderful) place where one could arrive and then seemingly expect to reside. This indeed makes me step back. Who knows anyone who’s been able to, or even seems able to, pull off that feat? To reside in a state of perpetual wisdom and compassion? Strikes me as being like working at a library and expecting that if one can just shelve all those books on the cart during a work shift, all books will forever remain shelved. Life happens. We’re human. That math does not add up.
So what would it be like if we stopped viewing the path of enlightenment as a journey towards a fixed destination and took it to mean the journey itself? I remember the first time one of my meditation teachers described enlightenment as an on-going practice of waking up. Framed as a process that supports having insights as one moves through life, the invitation was to consider that with every insight (every time we “wake up”), we experience enlightenment.
For me this was a big wake up call in and of itself. This I can do. I can cultivate conditions for insights to arise. I can nurture qualities like kindness in my attention. I can practice strengthening my awareness muscles to be more present, more of the time. I can not be perfect from a certain point forward but instead be willing to start over again, as many times as I need. (Just as those librarians do each day when they discover more books to be re-shelved.) Us regular people do stand a shot at this thing called enlightenment.
What practices help you show up with wisdom and insight? To demonstrate kindness, inside and out? To be present, even if just for a moment? I invite you to tune-in to how you might keep waking up your innate capacity for enlightenment.
Join Ashley at her Waking Up morning meditation series August 14 - 17.
Ashley is also teaching Relax & Renew with Yoga Nidra August 14th and
Meditation 101 on August 22nd.
Written by teachers at unfold studios and guest authors.