Enlightenment now, please
We live in an age of anxiety-induced impatience. Gratification and satisfaction need to be instantaneous, nobody wants to wait for anything, everything needs to happen the moment we want it to happen and the way we want to experience it. This also – maybe especially so – applies to the path of self-discovery, “enlightenment”, growth and Life Mastery. We want to get “there” as quickly as possible, and to speed up the process we are being served by a billion-dollar self-help industry that propagates that “any action is better than no action”, that self-realization and Personal Mastery are impossible to achieve if we don’t work relentlessly and incessantly on it. So we read another book, buy another online course, attend another seminar, try another technique, sometimes simultaneously, only to feel that we don’t seem to be making any significant progress towards our goal: to become a happier, more aligned, more authentic human being.
“Enlightenment Anxiety” is real, although probably not many people would call it that. We are being told that we need to do the work, put in the hours of meditation, follow “spiritual influencers” on social media, and the more we do, the more confused we often become, we so desperately want to get “the big picture” but despite our efforts it seems to constantly elude us. We have stirred up the mud, and now we are flying blind. We are like a cave diver who has moved too frantically in an underwater cave and is now surrounded by silt that he himself has stirred up by his eagerness to explore the hidden corners of the cave.
Can’t see the forest for the trees anymore?
What do you do when you have stirred up the mud in the water and you can’t see anymore? You become still. You don’t move. You just sit there and wait.
That can be a really hard thing to do in a society where “doing nothing” is frowned upon, where “inaction” is labelled as stagnation, as passivity. A lot of us are anxiety-driven: Do, do, and do some more. The common belief seems to be that if we don’t DO we won’t get what we are looking for. But look at it this way: Even nature isn’t always growing, blooming, in growth mode. If it were, our world would have long become a cancerous nightmare of epic proportions. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking action. It’s what brings about change in our Lives. But give the mud some time to settle and if you then still think you need to continue on your journey seeking answers elsewhere, by all means do. But you will find you will be doing it with a sense of purpose, a lot less urgency and much more knowing that wasn’t there before. The quest will not be as frantic anymore. Maybe it will stop being a quest altogether and becomes something that feels a little less forced, who knows?
Just understand that “taking action” is and always will be the domain of the Mind. But to get to what you are seeking the Mind might not be the best address to turn to in the first place. Personal Mastery is primarily about mastering the Mind, yes. But the insights that enable you to do that aren’t necessarily found within the Mind. Why would you turn to the very reason you are so frantically searching to find out how best to stop this search? Books and courses can teach the Mind stuff and that’s great, but knowing comes from a different place.
If you are interested in what becoming still and gaining new resolve and insight through quieting down can do for you, drop me a line.