You actually are pretty good at being enlightened. It’s just that when you are, you don’t realize you are. Because if you did realize you were, then you wouldn’t be anymore. Get it? Seriously. As crazy as that sounds, it’s totally true.
Here’s a couple of the ways you experience enlightenment: Let’s say you’re at a concert featuring a band whose music you absolutely revel in. It’s like a spiritual experience, and sharing it with so many like-minded people causes you to almost feel like the borders between you and them merge in the excitement. In these cases you don’t say: I feel awesome. You say: this concert is awesome. And that distinction is very important. One event is egoic. It’s about how much you’re satisfied. But in the second instance there is no you being created by your thoughts because your consciousness is entirely devoted to processing the universe around it. By concert you mean your connection to the people around you. It’s actually a great word for it.
A second way you experience enlightenment is when you hear a story about, say, a child being killed in an accident and you feel anguish for the parents. The important word there is “for.” What exactly is the difference between feeling something and feeling it “for” someone? The truth is, there isn’t a difference in the feeling. Both feel like anguish. But in one story there is a you created and that you is what you believe is experiencing the anguish, when in actuality the real you is creating both the egoic you and the anguish.
Feeling something is feeling something. You’re okay with the anguish for that other child because you can let it go–because you’re not reminded to think of that child all the time, so you’re free to fill your consciousness with more pleasant Nows. But the parents would be reminded by objects, people, days…. So once their natural grieving period is over, they must more consciously move their thinking over to more nourishing things because there is no other choice but pointless perpetual pain.
The reason artists are artists are because the real work generally requires you to be fully present as yourself. There can’t be a layer of ego or the work will suffer for it. This is what advancing as an artist is: to remove the idea of trying to be impressive from the work, so that instead of a fake-you trying to get praise, the real you is available to create the only thing it can: your real work. So stop blabbing the needy you into existence. The world is waiting for you to play out the genius that is your present youness.
Likewise, many athletes talk about loving it when they’re in the zone, and by that they mean they are enlightened. They are in that no-you, no-time headspace where you are simply consciousness having an experience, but there is no identity to that consciousness. From that comes maximum performance just like with the artist. Get the ego out of the way and everyone starts to excel.
Everyone will have multiple you’s created by our experiences and circumstances. But always remember, your suffering is attached to your identity. And your identity is merely an idea floating in consciousness. So if you’re in pain, rather than trying to stop that pain, try to stop ”yourself” instead. Because that’s the heart of your only problem.
Your belief in your identity is what traps you in a world of needless suffering. So think back to when you were enlightened. Maybe it was when you really wanted to clean the house and it seemed to get done in no time. Or maybe it was during the second-last painting you did, or you nailed a song from front to back in that special, hyper-aware way. However you experienced it, take some time to reconsider it. Learn from your own success. Study your own moments of enlightenment and you will begin to notice helpful patterns that will help you to continue to live in that blissful state more and more of the time.
I look forward to seeing you there. 😉