I've been thinking about this word a lot "enlightened". What does it mean to be enlightened? Who are the people who are enlightened? What qualities do they possess?
I grew up in a small village in the suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon. My grandfather planted a huge garden in our backyard; we had cucumbers, tomatoes, all sorts of greens, lemon trees, various fruit trees, grapes and so much more. I doubt my grandfather needed to take time out of his day for a meditation. The man was meditating with God every moment of his day. He wasn’t planting seeds while jamming to an IPod nor was he chatting or texting on his cell phone. He passed away not ever having seen an IPod to begin with or having owned a cell phone. He probably would have thought both items were totally unnecessary for anything he’d like to have accomplished. I wish I could’ve learned a lot more from my grandfather; I’m sure his wisdom and enlightenment was priceless.
I’m wondering if we’re introducing so many new things into our world only to have to undo their effects. I love teaching my meditation class because it’s an opportunity for me to share with my students how to take 15 minutes out of their day to be still and quiet. I ask that they block all noise and stimulation allowing their senses to settle down and come back to center. I doubt a meditation class would have been necessary in my village 50 years ago. I wonder if a meditation class is necessary in parts of the world that are undeveloped and “backwards”. I’m starting to wonder who has it backwards us or them. There's something to be said about the simple life.
Is enlightenment possible with all the stimulation we have coming at us all the time? I read a fantastic book a while back called Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert. The author talks about going to an ashram in India to find her center again.
In her book The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit, Shirley McClain walks the famous pilgrimage across northern Spain known as the Camino, the Santiago de Compostela Camino. It is said that this 500-mile path lies directly under the Milky Way and that it reflects the energy of the star systems above it. The intention of this pilgrimage is to find deep spiritual understanding which Shirley McClain was able to do.
I'm not sure many of us could swing a month in India or Spain to find our center again. I read The Camino way before I had kids and thought to myself this is something that is definitely going to make my bucket list. Now that I have kids I think to myself when would I ever realistically take a month away from my family to walk under the stars in Europe. Maybe when my kids are way older I can convince my husband to go walk the Road to Santiago with me.
In the meantime, I’m going to have to resort to my daily meditations, my walks in the park and Wayne Dyer to keep me on the right track. I have to say though that the first three days of trying to keep two boys constantly entertained during Spring Break have proven to me just how un-enlightened I truly am. It is very clear to me that I have a long ways to go in learning the art of patience. Is it me or do kids need constant stimulation. My five year old will declare that he is bored the first minute he’s in a car on his way to a birthday party or to the zoo. Why is it bad to be bored anyway?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. You may leave a comment below, email me to firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Facebook by becoming a fan of marysalfi.com
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Off to find those two boys! My youngest is five today; I wish him a lifetime of happiness and love.