Thanks to everyone who wrote back with followup questions ad insights from the podcast I shared recently.
(Click here if you missed it – How To Start Your Spiritual Journey).
There were a lot of great questions, and today I thought I’d highlight two from Pamella, who asked:
1) Can one be “too enlightened” or “too aware”?
I wrote that I view enlightenment and awareness as a process that is constantly evolving, not a single goal or endpoint, so I don’t think that anyone could be “too enlightened.” As one “moves up the scale,” so to speak, thoughts and perceptions change, and it becomes clear at each level what the next steps for that person is.
And, while I do think it helps to have a general awareness of the process, I encourage you not to get too caught up in it, or any definitions or stereotypes that you find. Let your process be what is right for you. Just focus on taking a little bit of time each day to turn your attention inward, tune-in to a feeling of peace, and you will find it becomes more and more present with you.
2) Is there a “starting point” for enlightenment?
My response: Yes and no.
I think of it more like a spectrum, so there’s no beginning or end to it, but, that said, I do think there comes a point at which people shift into a more conscious exploration of it.
So, you might say the “start” is when someone becomes aware he/she is on a more conscious, spiritual path.
This takes different forms for different people, but the common threads are a sense of presence, mindfulness, inner peace, and awe. Often, these start as short, seemingly random glimpses, but then gradually become stronger.
After writing these answers, I started to think back to an old Zen proverb:
This proverb reminds us that enlightenment is not something we do or attain. It is a state of mind, a feeling of ease, peace, and well-being that emanates from within.
On the outside, everything may appear the same, but, gradually, your internal focus shifts, as you learn to accept more and more peace, presence, and joy into your life on a daily basis.
I certainly don’t claim to be the most enlightened person in the world, and I – like everyone – have had my share of ups and downs along the way.
But, I do know that there are clear, definite practices that will consistently shift me into a higher state of mind. So…
Practically, I recommend two basic habits:
- Starting a meditation habit (try this beginner series), and
- Building a habit of stepping back and becoming more present (watch the first video in this series).
If you practice those two habits, if you commit to them, a little bit each day, you will start to move up the scale.
You’ll feel happier, more peaceful, and more fulfilled.
And, to me, that’s all that really matters.