Enlightenment is awakening from the dream of being a separate me to being the universal reality. It’s not an experience or a perception that occurs to a separate person as the result of spiritual practice or cultivated awareness. It doesn’t come and go, and you don’t need to do anything to maintain it. It’s not about being centered or blissful or peaceful or any other experience. In fact, enlightenment is a permanent non-experience that happens to nobody. The separate person is seen through, and you realize that only the supreme, universal reality exists, and that you are that.
It’s been over a month since I wrote The Call of Silence-a month of developing a better self-awareness with myself. Thanks to the Okanagan valley being blanketed in smoke for the first half, I was able to put more focus into reading about mindfulness and Buddhism. During that free time, I have felt a real pull to explore my mind, to discover the loop that makes me feel better about the direction I am heading.
As with my journey to be more productive, I started the journey by first committing myself to a subscription of Tricycle Magazine, a magazine focused on Buddhism and mindfulness. At $40 a year, the price is inexpensive when you factor in that it gives you access to their full archive of articles and movies online, plus a series of free eBooks. Every day, I also receive an article of short to medium length to think about. I have been reading them every night when they hit my inbox- a restful way to end my night. Some of the articles were above my knowledge level- the terminology, or the phrasing of arguments. I needed something more basic to begin with.
The Buddha Walks into the Office by Lodro Rinzler was a pleasant find while browsing the bookshelves. Lodro has a written quite a few books tackling different aspects of life and how a practice of mindfulness and Buddhism relates to it. I thought I would relate more to his writings about business, so it was easy for me to choose this book. It turned out to be a great choice to make, too. I want to write more about it after I have a better understanding of the underlying philosophies and have likely re-read it, but the process of reading it has been wonderful. Equally as wonderful has been the experience of reading the daily reflections from Tricycle Magazine or the other Buddhist writings I am discovering.
More often than not, my reading sessions have been started with me preparing a cup of tea,1 and sliding into my La-Z-boy recliner. Sometimes, I have been playing some Tibetan meditation music to help relax my mind further before I start to open the pages. I find myself going through 50-100 pages in each reading session, getting lost in the words, but always remaining present. These reading sessions put me into a meditative state: as my mind tries to wander away from what I am reading, I pause to remind myself to focus on the words and ignore the outside influences. It is far easier to remain focused on the writings when I am being continually reminded through the words to be aware and present of what is happening now, not the past or the future.
Because of this reading practice, I have been feeling more drawn to reading on a daily basis than doing anything else. TV shows and movies are being missed, social feeds are being ignored, and I don’t find myself seeking out a partnership through the online dating sites as much. I haven’t experienced this drive to explore a topic since my University days of exploring the works of Jean Genet, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Eugene Ionesco.
After a month of having this daily reading practice, I am more comfortable writing about this journey. The words have been dancing in my mind for the past few weeks now but I haven’t felt the pull to write them down yet. Quietly taking it all in, reflecting on who I am, and putting more emphasis on myself instead of sharing.
Those first few steps have been taken and now I am prepared to reach my hand back to help pull others forward to discover this new path laid before me. I am eager to share everything that I have discovered.
- Sencha Green Tea, from David’s Tea. ↩