“Enlighten me”, something said with a tinge of sarcasm when in the middle of a disagreement. Spoken to one with an opposing view. Spoken by one who desires less to be enlightened and more to prove the other view wrong.
And yet, rewind. Try again. Say it one more time, only this time, remove the tinge of sarcasm and replace it with desire. The desire to learn, to grow, to listen with the intent to understand, to grow in knowledge.
I, like most, find myself listening with the intent to respond. Each word spoken, falling up my ears while my mind is actively searching for my response. Unfortunately the result is hearing less the longer this transpires as our brain is only able to focus, truly focus, on one thing at a time. We either focus on what we are hearing, or we focus on what we are creating to say in return. Being the selfish human beings we are, our focus slowly (or quickly) begins to tune out what we are hearing and delve into what we are planning to say.
Defeating the purpose of enlightenment, and seeking instead the self serving activity of formulating a response, an argument.
Meditation, for me, when I choose to partake, has become a source of enlightenment. I have found it difficult to quiet my mind. Turning my thoughts off does not come naturally to me. Instead of giving up on meditation altogether, I have chosen to meditate on what I would like to be enlightened by. Listening to prayer, followed by scripture from the Bible, with a background of soothing music and timely prompts to focus on my breathing, helps me meditate of words I would normally let pass into and out of my consciousness with little thought.
Rather than chastising me for trailing thoughts, I am encouraged to accept them and come back to the word or prayer I was focusing on. Instead of feeling as though I have failed, I am encouraged to once again listen to the scripture and allow it or God to speak to me.
The more I do this, the more I find my trailing thoughts become prayers to God. Accepting the words I have listened to, praying they become a part of my life, my daily activities, how I interact with and treat those around me. And at times, prayer for others who I know are struggling.
Enlightenment feels like the joy, love, peace, gentleness, patience, kindness and truth of the holy spirit flowing gently through my veins, one with my physical body as my spirit communes with God. His peace, the peace that surpasses all human understanding, covers, removes my anxieties, my pain, my hurts – physical, mental and emotional, as I release them all to Him. Replaced with the Word, the living, breathing, Son of God who has the power to take it all upon himself, bear it, die for it and break the chains that bind it to me.
One day I will see enlightenment. It will surpass the human imagination. Grander than any painting created, any sculpture formed, any building designed, it will shatter our hopes, dreams and desires for perfection. To see enlightenment will require the removal of all inadequacies, all imperfections, all distractions, all evil, all wrong-doing past, present and future. It will be heavenly.