Disclaimer: I was actually going to write the title as “Enlightenment: all different shades of grey”… but totally didn’t want a reference to a particular series of novels. 🙂
Disclaimer’s Disclaimer: no judgement on said novels. Just no connection here (that I’ve intended at least 🙂 )
Through a big deep-and-meaningful with Beautiful Friend, I came to question enlightenment and yoga and a particular yoga teacher that I know. Thank you to Beautiful Friend for the depth of conversation, and allowing space for these questions to arise. As well as your insight, wisdom, perspective and love!
This yoga teacher is female, flexible, warm, funny, inspiring, challenging and loving.
She can instruct an incredibly profound class, and take you deep inside of yourself.
People (myself included at times) revere this person as quite wise and sage-like. Guru style.
Now I have been totally open with my mother issues… so for me, I think that this was a mother-attachment-issue. Female who older than me – parenting type age. Tick. Is warm and welcoming. Double Tick. Speaks of spiritual type stuff, with perspective and intelligence. TRIFECTA!
I do this thing where I like practically worship female figures that I admire. Transference of mother issues, right here! I trust them wayyyy too much to be healthy. I see myself as an awkward little servant girl trying to offer them anything that will please them. Information about employees, okay. Insightful wisdom I just made up, perfect. Opinions on this person, held by clients / others, totally. Financial / time / social commitment, etc etc, of course.
Another gorgeous friend of mine had come across this same teacher, through my conversations with her, I was able to let the doubts and questions see the light of day.
This yoga teacher was not a modern day guru… rather she is an incredibly successful business woman. She has a very loyal clientele base, with wonderful attendance at all sorts of overpriced retreats, catch ups, courses, functions and information nights.
She has every right to be a business woman. Even if her business is yoga. Even if her business is commoditising something that I value. Even if her target market is something I don’t feel comfortable with.
My reverence and loyalty was to an idea… that was outside of myself. My reverence was to her and her packaging of yoga. That made me think I was worthless, despite class rhetoric saying everyone is special.
Why isn’t enlightenment black and white?
Why can’t we be like, ‘yep, he’s got it.’ ‘So has she’.
And I don’t want to perpetuate this notion of hierarchy and un-attainable-ness… because I think that enlightenment is our natural state of being. And thus totally attainable.
It just made me seriously ponder what enlightenment is.
For me, enlightenment is natural and effortless… in the going to swallow 3 bowling balls at one time, effortless… totally effortless. [Sarcasm here]
But why can’t we be enlightened in this lifetime? Right now?
Because we’re conditioned from ever angle, saying what enlightenment / meaning / fulfilment looks and feels like, and what you have to do to get there. But does that mean we won’t ‘reach’/attain enlightenment – because of that conditioning?
*insert enlightenment attaining procedure*
Self torture; daily confessions to a higher, more spiritual soul; lots of weird body movements, sometimes called poses; mountain retreating; book reading; quiet sitting; less meat eating, more vegetable eating… wait, let’s just eat the sun whilst probably levitating…
And this is the notion of enlightenment as attainable or not. Now or not-now.
But maybe we don’t need those constructs.
And maybe us showing up is our enlightenment.
Maybe commoditising things that I find special is enlightened. Maybe it’s not. Or maybe there is parts of enlightenment in everything. Or in nothing. And maybe it was the specialness (of yoga in this case) that needed to be questioned, rather than the businesswoman’s style or rhetoric. Or what about questioning enlightenment. Is that even a thing? I think it is, but totally acknowledge all the cultural constructs we bring to such a word and concept.
And maybe you can experience enlightenment and bring the light to the world in service, or use the light for self. Or maybe both. Or maybe neither. And maybe there isn’t a good or a bad in that scenario, despite me clearly believing there is.
Chop wood, carry water.
Before enlightenment I chop wood and carry water.
After enlightenment I chop wood and carry water.
So maybe we’re already enlightened.
Or maybe we aren’t. And we don’t need to be.
I don’t know! There is a lot of blur!
And maybe the only reason any of this is uncomfortable is because I am looking outside of myself – I’m searching for someone to hand over my power to. I want someone else to be a guru; my guru. But that is a fear and need based on the old paradigm. When the spiritual / bliss / perfection / enlightenment was ‘other’. But what if it is actually us. Deeply, innately, purely us?