Your Enlightenment and Your Environment

Have you considered the best environment for developing your “Enlightenment?” Does your “spiritual awakening” require a special environment? Does Enlightenment only come for those who sit in a cave, undistracted, over a period of time Which creates the solitude required to lead you to the “Light?”

Some experienced, and a bit rigid, (want to be) enlightened masters might say that solitude offers less distractions and a better “space” to go within, to find the Universal Divine Spirit. AND, I believe that this can work for some people but not for everyone, every time enlightenment “hits.” So, I began looking for some of the words used to describe a pilgrimage into the “cave” of undistracted solitude. Words that might be used to demonstrate a reduced distracted environment might include: Isolation, Vigil, Seclusion, Solitude, reclusive, withdrawn, possibly: Celibate and Abstaining from physical pleasures, Contemplative, Introspection, Reflection, Consideration, and Focused. These concepts can make it difficult and exclusive for many people running around in my culture. Are we all doomed to be un-enlightened? Perhaps…

Or, are there other environments or circumstances which can allow for a “spontaneous Awakening” like a NDE (Near Death Experience) or an “Ah Ha” moment in meditation or in experiencing a major “insight” in life (perhaps a STE (Spiritual Transformative Experience.)) An example for me was when I hiked up into Evolution Meadow and viewed the surrounding mountains and sky with a surprising, for me at 25 years of age, insight of being in “God’s Cathedral,” realization. (Since at that time, I would never say the word “God” let alone find an experience that would trigger me to use this word.) Can activities and interpersonal interactions lead you to a moment of enlightenment? Once you have had a real moment of knowing the state of Grace or feeling the Universal “connection” to the “source” and all a “oneness” with other souls, you can never go back into complete un-enlightenment. You can NOT get the Genie back in the bottle… Though, what you do with this new insight varies and may take a very long time to surface as a useful gift to be shared.

Some “moments” of insight have come for me in deep meditation but never in a cave of solitude. For me, a private act of self-discovery, realization, or a “remembrance” have come in a variety of environments and with varying degrees of social interaction. Though these have been private in the moment, many of these experiences were not in deep isolation or seclusion. Oddly, sometimes I focus better with distractions around me, as if I would trust someone else to protect me (feeling safer) and I can “let go” of my defenses in a group. (Not always true, but sometimes…)

Your path to Enlightenment will be unique for you. The environment will be of your creation. A quiet, meditative environment may prove helpful but may not be required. Keep your eyes open for any possible “awakening” (perhaps in a Zen like way.) Allow your soul/heart to be receptive to new experience and insights. Feel your guidance which may lead you to a chance of a lifetime and a special moment of “Grace!” You are on the path, whether you know it or not. You are here, in this life, to experience and to learn. AND, when your “Awakening” happens, you are here to share this wisdom and your most recent leaps into consciousness.

Tip for Enlightenment:
No matter which path you take either as an aesthetic using deprivation to assist you in focusing or as a seeker bouncing off all the other people you bump in to in the “warm dryer called life,” you can help to clarify your consciousness by being mindful, present, and open. To be aware of the possibilities is more than half the battle. Being “closed” to new thoughts, Wisdom, Feelings, insights, conscious “knowing,” or simply the “remembering,” will slow your process and pilgrimage down. It is not always an easy task but being open AND present to enjoy, the “JOY,” can assist you greatly. All of these qualities are assisted through meditation and begin by following your breath. Slowly inhale, pause, and then slowly exhale… Attempt to feel the cool air as you breathe in and then the warm breath as you slowly exhale. Continue to breathe slowly and most consciously. Allow your thoughts and energy to flow as freely as possible. Perhaps you can “open” your 6th and 7th chakras for a better connection to the Divine Spirit. You may even attempt to allow yourself to elevate (out through your Crown Chakra) to an 8th or 9th chakra and higher dimensions. Paula Forget’s book, “Guided to the Higher Realms,” may be a useful guide to assist you to expand your consciousness to what is possible. (Check her website at: www.paulaforget/inspired for more information.)

It may also be useful to practice holding the intention that you are open and available for the Guidance to and the experience of an “Awakening!” The Divine Spirit surrounds each of us. It is embedded in each of us. A dark cave is NOT the only place where this unconditional love and energy abides…

YOU are amazing and perfect no matter where you are on your path! YOU are a blessing. Thank you for being YOU! In any way possible, allow yourself to be Open, Present, and Mindful of the wonderful adventures you find yourself within (even the challenging ones…) Whether you are actively seeking “Enlightenment” or not, you are still moving along that path.

If you are READY and looking for a supportive community where you can share your story, your wisdom, and grow spiritually in a non-religious environment, consider Masters of the Journey.
You are a Blessing! You are a Master! Your wisdom from your life experience can have great value to other pilgrims on the path toward awakening and enlightenment.

The Masters of the Journey has events which are updated on our Facebook page which is found at: www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney Please comment on this blog and share, if appropriate. More of our blogs are based on spiritual consciousness and can be found at www.dstress.com/blog

Basic Mindfulness Part 2: Living in a Mindful Way

Being Mindful has been a question for me. After my three day Mindfulness retreat, I am more Mindful about the things I have not been mindful about. What the heck does that mean…??? Well, read a bit further.

I learned at the retreat what I think I already knew but had not learned how this feels or how to incorporate being more mindful into my habit driven lifestyle. No surprise, the key to being more mindful is to be aware and “present” by paying attention to your breath. Again no surprise, I learned that being more mindful works better when I focus on only one thing at a time. For example, drive focused without other distractions. (More examples to follow.) This focusing on one thing at a time is kind of challenging in our 24/7, multi-tasking world, but it certainly makes sense.

We practiced slower walking and breathing, awareness and appreciation of nature, and more meditations. The first two key ingredients to being more mindful (with 10 listed) where 1. to be aware of myself and my environment and 2. was to view each activity in your day with “Beginners Mind” and the feeling of wonderment. I liked these first two a lot. In fact, I really enjoyed all 10 ingredients in the book we used as a text but found number 6 a bit more challenging for me to fully appreciate and understand, let alone to practice. Number 6 was to live in “Equanimity.” I can barely spell Equanimity let alone know how to practice it. After consultation with my retreat group, its leader Chau Yoder (who is amazing) and my special Guru spiritual consultant, Paula Forget, I believe I am much closer to knowing what this is all about.

Equanimity is a very important, but a challenging (for me,) part of the Mindfulness life. This term refers to being able to look at and appreciate experiences in your life without getting caught in the “drama” of the experience. Paula Forget suggested that I look at each experience from the higher perspective of a “spiritual being” caught in a mortal body. As I look from a higher perspective, I may not “judge” the event, individual or experience but just see, perhaps feel it, as a neutral activity that can be curious and interesting. When I am successful, I may even feel empathy and appreciation for the circumstances which have lead to this experience and more fully understand my “lesson” or “challenge” from my participation. Even if this lesson is painful, which as a human I will feel, I can still feel appreciation for what I can learn from this challenge on my pilgrimage through life. This detachment does NOT mean you do not care or feel the physical or emotional pain. It means that you are not locked up without finding the higher perspective regarding how to celebrate (?) this difficult challenge.

One more example and an exercise you can attempt… Hold a tangerine. Look at it fully. Appreciate the work of people who delivered this fruit to you and the forces of nature which allowed this fruit to grow. Feel the tangerine. Scratch the peel and smell the tangerine. Slowly and carefully peel the tangerine, perhaps keeping the peel in one piece. Pull the first section out slowly and place this in your mouth. Breathe! Feel the tangerine section in your mouth. Move it around with your tongue. Press it against your teeth or slowly take a bite. Breathe! Taste the sweetness. Appreciate the sun and forces which developed the sugar of this fruit. Slowly swallow the first section and then slowly repeat this for as much of this tangerine as you wish. If you were not distracted and were focused upon this exercise, attempt this at your next meal… Try to not speak for 10 minutes while you eat… Be mindful. Breathe slowly. Appreciate.

Full List of 10 Qualities of Mindfulness are:
These are Pages 18-20 of Laurie Cameron’s book: “The Mindful Day, Practical Ways to Find Focus, Calm and Joy From Morning to Evening.”

1. Awareness
2. Beginners Mind
3. Acceptance
4. Insight
5. Impermanence (Life is temporary and so are all the challenges…)
6. Equanimity
7. Interconnection
8. Compassion
9. Gratitude
10. Joy

Special thanks to Chau Yoder for these helpful acronyms:

Consider C.A.R.E. when dealing with life’s experiences
C. Compassion
A. Appreciation
R. Respect
E. Equanimity

To Assist you with this, try P.B.S.
P. Pause
B. Breathe
S. Smile

One more tip for dealing with a situation which “Triggers” you. R.A.I.N.
R. Recognize
A. Allow
I. Investigate with Kindness
N. Nurture (Yourself and the Appreciation of this Challenge)

If you are READY and looking for a supportive community where you can share your story, your wisdom, and grow spiritually in a non-religious environment, consider Masters of the Journey.
You are a Blessing! You are a Master! Your wisdom from your life experience can have great value to other pilgrims on the path toward awakening and enlightenment.

The Masters of the Journey has events which are updated on our Facebook page which is found at: www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney Please comment on this blog and share, if appropriate. More of our blogs are based on spiritual consciousness and can be found at www.dstress.com/blog