A Voice in the Wilderness
WHAT IS REQUIRED TO ACHIEVE
PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION OR ‘ENLIGHTENMENT’?

Editor’s Note: For the next several months this space will be used to explore — one-by-one — the messages, metaphysical principles, and spiritual meaning of the material found in the nearly 3,000 pages of the Conversations with God dialogues. This series of observations and interpretations is offered with my continuing disclaimer: I could be wrong about all of this.

CWG Explored/Installment #5: What causes transformation?

Much has been made in the New Thought Movement of the word “transformation.” It has been said repeatedly in New Age circles that personal transformation is the ultimate goal in life. Yet what is “personal transformation,” and how does one achieve it?

This is not always addressed in specific terms within the community of New Spirituality authors, teachers, and messengers — who tend to speak in broad general terms, such as “higher consciousness,” or “awareness.”

I’m going to go out on a limb here and declare that in my own inner world — which has largely been created by the Conversations with God experience — the term “personal transformation” means the changing of one’s identity, or the embracing of a “new thought” about oneself, seeing oneself from this moment on as One with, and an expression of, God.

It is in this context that I have called myself, and every human being, a Singularization of The Singularity, or an Individuation of Divinity.

I have held the thought that a person who walks through the world holding the Identity of Divinity deep within changes the exterior experience of everyone else everywhere she or he steps, every room he or she enters, every space she or he occupies.

In my last entry here I said that if our entire species walked through this world holding such an identity deep within, it would produce Heaven on Earth.

The question is, what could cause our entire species to do so? Perhaps more to the point, what does it take to be “transformed” — or, as some have labeled it, “enlightened”?

So let’s look at that here. Let’s discuss this elusive magical mystical experience for which so many seem to be searching.

I’ll begin by observing that there is a pitfall here, and even a danger. The danger is two-fold. The first danger is thinking that there is something specific that you have to do in order to be Enlightened, and that if you don’t do it, you can’t be it. The second danger is thinking that there is only one best way.

Werner Erhard created Erhard Seminar Trainings (est) about 25 years ago or so, and the people who were involved in it were absolutely convinced that this was the fastest way to enlightenment. They began recruiting people to take est, and it was almost an urgent matter with them. And if you didn’t get the urgency, they would look at you and say, “You just don’t get it.”

I enrolled in the est program and I “got it.” In fact, I became so enlightened that I realized I did not need est to be enlightened – which really upset the est people, because they wanted me to take the next level and the next level of the training.

est was a program with multitudinous levels. Once you got into the program you had to almost extract yourself from it. And if you did get out of it, you were made to feel by those who were still inside it that you had done something desperately sad. Not wrong, just very sad. Because you just didn’t get it.

Many years ago Paramahansa Yogananda came to America with a technique for “self-realization,” which was his phrase meaning “enlightenment.” When you realize the Self, he said, you are more aware. You are more at peace with the world. You are internally serene, content, and able to experience Divine Presence in you, as you.

Now I want you to understand that I am not putting this down or belittling any of this. This is all very real, and that is why every person who has ever achieved mastery has wanted to share it with others. Human beings who are truly enlightened, truly aware (and there are many of them), experience at a deep level that most of us are operating from a place of pain, extreme suffering, emotional turmoil, physical dis-ease, and are, as a result, creating an entire world like that. Yet Masters know that none of this is necessary. You can overcome it, create yourself and your world in a new way. But first, you have to know Who You Are.

Paramahansa Yogananda knew who he was. He described himself as being enlightened. And he was enlightened. He was enlightened because he said he was.

Yes, I hate to break the spell, but to be enlightened is to say that you are. It is as simple as that.

A fascinating man named Maharishi surfaced a few of decades ago and he announced yet another path to enlightenment. His path was called Transcendental Meditation or, for short, TM.

Now, I learned a little about Transcendental Meditation and I learned it from students who learned it from other students who learned it from other students who learned it from the Master. And there is some sense of quiet urgency with some people in the transcendental meditation movement, because they will tell you that TM is a tool that can bring you to enlightenment in a very short period of time – and they want that for you.

There are many other programs as well. Many approaches, many paths, developed by many Masters. There is Dahn Hak and there is the Avatar Training and there is Lifespring and the list goes on and on. Which path, then, should we take?

God says, “No one calls to Me who is not answered.” The promise here is that each of us will be answered in the way that most effectively responds to the vibration we hold and create and carry in the center of our being.

Many people are inspired to this day by the man known as Buddha, and so have become Buddhists. It is, perhaps, good to tell the whole story of Buddha.

His name was Siddhartha Gautama. His father was the ruler of a large area who wanted to protect Siddhartha from any knowledge of the outside world. Siddhartha was kept on the grounds of the family compound, but one day he ventured beyond the walls because he wished to learn more of life. He gave up his riches and his whole family, left his wife and children and disappeared, to embark on his search for what was true.

Immediately he encountered people who were enduring much suffering. There was poverty. There was disease. There was cruelty. Siddhartha was stunned, and he knew, he just knew, that life was not meant to be like that. But what, then, was the truth? What was the path?

“What can I do?” he asked himself, and he underwent a series of extreme physical and mental disciplines of every imaginable sort, including fasting and prostration and self-denial. This went on for years. He sought out Masters and did as they told him. Yet nothing brought him the experience of enlightenment. It only brought him an arduous life and an emaciated body.

One day Siddhartha Gautama said, “I’ve tried everything. I’ve done all the physical disciplines, all the trainings, all the exercise, all the starvation, all the diets, all the fasting, and all the meditation. Now I’m just going to sit here beneath this tree and I’m not getting up until I’m enlightened.”

And there he sat, doing nothing. No exercises, no meditations, no fasting, no nothing. Now that is hard for many of us to do, because we think there is something we are suppose to be doing in order to be enlightened.

Suddenly Siddhartha said with a start: “I’m enlightened.” And people came to him and cried out, “What did you do? What did you do? Teach us, Master! You have become the Buddha, the Enlightened One. What is the secret? What did you do?”

And the Buddha said something quite extraordinary: “There is nothing that you have to be, do, or have.”

Imagine. After all that time. After the life he had lived and all that he did and saw. After all the luxury and then all the self-denial, after wearing a silk shirt and then a hair-shirt, after thoroughly satisfying his body and then starving his body, after no spiritual or physical discipline and then tons of discipline…after all that time, he realized it was not about doing or having anything and it was not about not doing or having anything. It was about the middle way.

It was about just living life, non-attached to anything in particular. Not attached to your luxuries and joys, and not attached to your poverty and tragedies. It was not about any of that. It can be if you want it to be. It can be if that is what suits you. It can be if that is your path, but it is not necessary to be, do, or have anything in particular.

The Buddha said, in effect, “I’m enlightened because I have realized that enlightenment is knowing that there is nothing you have to do to be enlightened.”

Isn’t that interesting? Think of all the effort that people are putting in, with years-long programs and trainings, only to find out that enlightenment requires nothing at all!  You were “enlightened” when you came here, because you were Who You Were.

You were, are,  always have been, and always will be, Divinity Expressed. You are Divine, and you simply don’t know it. Or don’t believe it. Or have forgotten it. Enlightenment is about remembering, declaring, expressing and experiencing Who You Really Are. That’s all that any spiritual master has ever done. Think of any spiritual master you wish to think of. That’s all that any one of them has ever done.

So if you think there is a Path to Enlightenment that is the only path, the best path, the fastest path, you may suddenly find yourself feeling pressure, stress, a false urgency, even upset, and your ego may become deeply involved in convincing as many people as you can that the path you have found is the path they just have to experience.

Suddenly you will start acting not like a master at all, but like someone who is under a terrific amount of pressure and stress, because it will suddenly matter to you whether I “get” what you are trying to tell me.

If you are not careful, you even start having quotas or goals. You’ll have to get a certain number of other people to agree with you every week, or every month, or every year. And if you don’t meet those goals you will think that you have not done a good job.

And yet enlightenment, when it is all said and done, has nothing to do with what you do with your Body or your Mind. It has to do with what you do with your Soul. If you learn to love yourself and everyone else, and life itself, unconditionally, you will be “aware,” you will have reached “higher consciousness,” you will be “enlightened.”

In short, you will be transformed. You will be acting as The Divine. Because Divinity, in a word, is Love. Love without restriction, love without limitation, love without condition.

So this moment is the moment of your liberation. You can be liberated from your life-long search for enlightenment. You can be released from any thought that it has to look like this…no, no, it has to look like that…no, no, you have to get to it by this path, by that program, by the other process or activity.

You may still do those things if you choose to, but if you feel stressed about them, if you feel pressured by them, then how could they be a path to enlightenment?

So set yourself free today. Stop working so hard on yourself that you don’t even enjoy life anymore. Do what works for you, but make sure it brings you joy and harms neither yourself nor another. Enlightenment is enJOYment. It is the pouring of joy into Life.

Now here is one thing that I know will bring you joy. Spend the rest of your life giving people back to themselves, that they might love themselves, and know that there is nothing they are lacking, nothing they are missing, nothing they need, nothing they are not.

A sure way for you to experience that you are enlightened is to cause others to know that they are. That is the message and that will be the teaching of the New Spirituality. That is why Namaste’ has become such a powerful, such a meaningful and special, exchange of energy:

“The God in me sees the God in you.”

There’s nothing more to be done if we really mean that. Of course, if we are saying it because it sounds good, then there is a great deal more to be done. But if, when we say this, we really mean it…then the struggle is finished, the search is over, and enlightenment, transformation, is ours at last.

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  • Jean

    Dear Neale,

    You are uncomfortable with the feeling of urgency that can be found in some spiritual paths. But i feel you are not different. Of course the context is different, it’s no more about personal enlightenment, but about saving the world. In your previous article ‘What kind of leader would you select ?”, here is an excerpt of what you wrote :

    “It seems now that it is only a matter of time until our completely unsustainable lifestyle on Earth, our totally self-destructive planetary politics, and our utterly unfair and increasingly anger-producing global economic model places every inhabitant of every country — not just those who line in so-called Third World nations — in circumstances so exceedingly uncomfortable that everyone everywhere will be saying enough is enough.”

    In the end, it’s always the same story : manipulating people with fear. Before it was necessary to fear god’s anger and to follow our religious leaders, not it’s with earth and environment. If you don’t agree with our spiritual and ecological values, the end is near.
    Let me ask a question : if there is nothing to do in order to get enlightened, why do you bother to write books ? or traveling worldwide to make conferences ? Everything is already perfect. So it doesn’t matter if Trump was elected or not. So there is no need to write an article to say that we have to change if we want to avoid apocalypse.

    • NealeDonaldWalsch

      Thanks, Jean, for your commentary. I am happy to answer your questions.

      In my experience, telling someone that the train is coming is not “manipulating people with fear.” It is simply a statement of fact. If one becomes fearful after hearing a statement of facts, that is each person’s individual choice. One can become paralyzed by fear, or one can become motivated to act. One can stare at the high-beam of the front light on the oncoming train, or one can step on the gas and move the car off the tracks. Or at the very least, if the car is stalled, get out of the car.

      Stating a fact — ANY fact — cannot be automatically “disallowed” because one might then be accused of “manipulating people with fear.” So I will never back away from stating simple and observable facts. Facts supported by hundreds of scientists from every nation on Earth. Our present lifestyle will not be sustainable unless it is altered. That is indisputable.

      Now to your questions.You have asked: “If there is nothing to do in order to get enlightened, why do you bother to write books, or travel worldwide to make conferences?”

      The answer is I do not do it because I think there is something one has to do “in order to get enlightened.” I do it because I enjoy doing it. I do it because I am asked to do it. I never go anywhere where I am not asked, where I am not invited. If someone asks me or invites me to give a talk, I am pleased to say yes, because I enjoy sharing the CWG messages. It make me happy. It is the same with my books. I don’t “bother to write books” because I think I have to write books in order for someone to “get enlightened.” I write books because I enjoy writing books, and because others have said they have benefited from my writing — and I enjoy the experience of doing something that others say brings them benefit. Why do you cook dinner for your family? Why do you do a favor for a friend? It is the exact same motivation.

      You have also said: “Everything is already perfect. So it doesn’t matter if Trump was elected or not.” I agree. You’ve added: “So there is no need to write an article to say that we have to change if we want to avoid apocalypse.” You are correct, in my opinion. There is no “need” to write such an article. There is only the joy of it. It is joyful for me to let people know what the present ecological conditions are on the planet, and some of the things they can do about it if they care to — or if they even believe me (which they may not).

      And, of course, I always say, I always make it clear, that “I could be wrong about all of this.” But if I see something that I sincerely believe could harm others, I am not going to stand by and say nothing simply to avoid being accused of “manipulating people with fear.” If you saw a friend in your kitchen about to put their hand on a hot oven, would your saying, “Careful, sweetheart! That oven is hot,” be “manipulating” them with fear? Or would you be simply and lovingly stating a fact, from which you know the listener might benefit?

      • Jean

        Neale,

        I thank you for the time you took to answer. Even if i don’t agree with you on everything, i appreciate. I wish you sincerely a happy new year.

  • mewabe

    From Neale:
    “It seems now that it is only a matter of time until our completely unsustainable lifestyle on Earth, our totally self-destructive planetary politics, and our utterly unfair and increasingly anger-producing global economic model places every inhabitant of every country — not just those who line in so-called Third World nations — in circumstances so exceedingly uncomfortable that everyone everywhere will be saying enough is enough.”

    So true!
    Unfortunately some individuals cannot handle the truth, because most people today have been programmed to process everything through an ideological filter…so that bare facts become either politically acceptable or unacceptable, depending on a person’s ideological allegiance.

    This reminds me of something I included in a previous comment: This is from Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order: “That we may be altogether of the same mind and in conformity with the Church herself, if we shall have defined anything to be black which to our eyes appears to be white, we ought in like manner to pronounce it to be black”.

    Nowadays people not necessarily conform to strict religious dogma, but they do conform to narrow political ideology at an unprecedented level!

  • mewabe

    To look for enlightenment, or for the divine, is the equivalent of trying to find your feet. Obviously, they are already there, all you need is becoming aware and conscious of them.

    As far as having nothing to do, have or be, not only that, but you will most probably have, because of programming and conditioning and of the way humans are always busy and driven, physically or mentally, to teach yourself to actually do, be and have nothing, until it comes naturally and without any guilt or fear. Only then will what you choose to do originate from the true self (the heart/soul), and reach the mark.

    When you are at that place, you will stand out from the rest of society, and will unfortunately not necessarily attract positive feedback…be ready to be judged, as would the person Jesus if he ever did exist and if he were alive today, according to what we know about him: he would be told to stop being a bleeding heart and a socialist (caring for the poor), to get a job and start a family and stop defying the authorities and making trouble.

  • Spiritual_Annie

    I can so relate to both the search and the sense of urgency because that’s precisely how it felt for me when I jumped on the self-help bandwagon. There were the various 12-step programs, the paths of gratitude and the Warrior’s Way, journaling and affirmations, and every sort of leader in charge of every sort of school of thought for every kind of healing.

    Each, in their own way, helped me heal my own past. Sometimes it was because there was an exercise or a technique that helped me clear away some of the clutter in my mind. Sometimes it was because I found nothing of value in it, which led me away from it towards another path.

    I found myself doing what I always do, which was using what felt right for me and leaving the rest. I ended up following no particular path that had been put before me, instead following my own by using bits and pieces that touched me inside. That moved me. That let out my rage safely so that I could feel the hurts underneath. That let out my hurts so they could heal naturally. That led me to a larger perspective of what had occurred and why, letting me feel compassion for all of the people involved.

    All I had needed were ideas that got me to listen to that still, small voice inside myself. I tweaked them here and there to fit me and my situation, by instinct. I found, more and more, that I didn’t need ideas from outside of myself at all, and started creating exercises and rituals myself. Ultimately, what I found I had needed was me.

    The development of my spirituality happened the same way. At first, it started as a way to find God outside of the Catholicism I’d been raised in but which I knew from personal experience could contain blind followers, hypocrites and a financial motivation by the church rather than a saving one. Then it became finding God outside of religion altogether as when I studied each, there were ideas that didn’t sit well with me. Most had to do with being the only, right way to God. Buddhism can go there, too, if one looks to things like the Eightfold Path rather than what lies underneath: choices in how we act towards ourselves and all others, as well as creation.

    I can’t say there was a “lightning bolt” moment that I remember, but rather a coming to the understanding that again all I needed was me. Whether that means writing out my feelings to get past a block, or sitting still with my fears in order to lessen them, or getting out into nature where it’s easiest to just be me. I get affirmations that I’m on my own right path from my feelings and from that still, small voice. I’ve found others who feel the same way I do, mostly through CWG, even though I have also taken from it what fits me and left the rest.

    I get asked how I got to where I am–which is disabled, poor, with health issues and chronic pain and mental health effects, not in a relationship, living in a state I’m not familiar with and relying on a case manager and meds and doctors–yet mostly peaceful and trusting of life and grateful and joyful and fully alive. And I share my history and what has helped me in specific areas. But it’s always with the understanding that what worked for me may not work for anyone else, and that they may need to tweak it to fit their own circumstances. That the way I’ve found to do that is to listen to myself–thoughts, yes, but more feelings and that still, small voice. That they may need to listen to their own. For myself, I call that tapping into my own Divinity.

    If all the unconditional love and compassion that’s grown in me ever accomplishes is that one person is led to an understanding that all they need is inside them, I’ll have doubled my goal, which was originally to unconditionally love and feel compassion for myself in order to learn that lesson myself. To dig deeply enough inside to find my connection with All That Is.

    Love and Blessings Always,
    ~Annie

  • “Yes, I hate to break the spell, but to be enlightened is to say that you are. It is as simple as that.”

    One can say they are a master baker or a master musician, artist, business person, etc. Yet unless they go through the training to get there they just can’t say “I’m a master baker” and they now can do so. Of course there are always exceptions, especially in the arts & sometimes else where.

    But for the most part, we have to do some transformational spiritual, psychological, therapy of some sort to get to a better place than we currently are or were. Again there are exceptions. Some are born very wise & peaceful beyond their years. The rest of us, it’s a different story. I believe this to be true even in an HEB enlightened society. that is, there are levels or varying degrees of enlightenment. If I’m missing something here, please point it out.

    So I’m dubious that saying one is enlightened will make them so. If that is a mantra or affirmation they use at a young age or even when much older, I can’t help but think they will draw closer to that state, but it won’t be instant. Again, there are exceptions. Byron Katie & Eckhart Tolle were lightening bolt enlightened beings. But what of the enlightened ones who got there gradually which is the bigger norm for most of us?

    I certainly feel their are levels of enlightenment. On a conference call with James Twyman years back I asked him. “Are you enlightened?” His answer was that he was at times but not a all the time. When I asked a spiritual psychotherapist if they experienced inner peace, the answer was “Sometimes I’m there & other times not.” I think this speaks for a lot of us.

    So as far as levels, I think we (or most of us) do rise to different varying forms of enlightenment & spiritual transformation. I know this is how I experienced things & Neale, I think you’ve said the same for yourself. But just to be clear, do you Neale consider yourself enlightened?

    “You can be released from any thought that it has to look like this…no, no, it has to look like that…no, no, you have to get to it by this path, by that program, by the other process or activity.”

    I’ve been thinking about this lately. That we do have stereotypes of what enlightenment looks like.

    Non traditional looking enlightenment:
    We often think of an enlightened person as sitting in a lotus position
    with a calm, peaceful serene disposition who is extremely wise &
    content.

    Can we now consider that a person can be enlightened who is a
    business person, musician, artist, grocery worker etc? Can we start to
    break out of the stereo type notion that an enlightened person must be
    & look and especially, act a certain way?

    That is the question of the day.

    Enlightenment is instant & easy if the whole of society is already enlightened & has inner peace. Yet with the collective world with so much turmoil it’s more challenging for us to get there.

    I do feel that it’s possible we can reach a critical mass and transformation in our world can start coming very rapidly. I don’t see that now, but in the near or farther future I can see it.

    As for me personally I didn’t want to be enlightened because of all the responsibility I’d have to deal with from being from such a state. I don’t feel that way anymore, & actively work & pray, visualize & affirm that “I am peace, I am enlightened” as part of my activation model to propel me & invite that into my experience, however it shows up.

    When in a challenging, frustrating situation I often now ask “Who do I want/desire to be in relation to what’s going on?” The answer is Peace. It is extremely satisfying to be in a position that could cause great frustration & see where it would be & yet have peace as you engage in it. That is really very cool.

    • mewabe

      “Non traditional looking enlightenment:
      We often think of an enlightened person as sitting in a lotus position with a calm, peaceful serene disposition who is extremely wise & content.

      Can we now consider that a person can be enlightened who is a business person, musician, artist, grocery worker etc? Can we start to break out of the stereo type notion that an enlightened person must be & look and especially, act a certain way?”

      This is essentially explained in the difference between Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhism.

      The first is a form of spirituality which regards material existence as a fall into the gross bondage of the flesh, and differentiation and individuality as a sort of cosmic mistake, to be corrected by an ascetic yoga which restores the original state of homogenized, unitary consciousness.

      The second, Mahayana, regards nirvana as one and the same reality as the physical world (samsara), the difference between the two lying only in one’s state of consciousness.

      Thus in Mahayana Buddhism the highest form of man is not the ascetic Arhan who remains in almost constant state of contemplation, but the Bodhisattva, for whom everyday life and activity are entirely consistent with being in a state of nirvana, and who lives in this world out of compassion for others, working to share with them his or her own state or vision.

      • Thank you Mewabe for that info. I’d would add that say, that metaphysical religions like Christian Science, & spiritual metaphysical books like A Course In Miracles as well as others tend to see this physical world as an error & illusions that take us away from the divine.

        CwG on the other hand, is one of the few thought systems or Theologies that view physical life as not an error, or illusion that interferes with our divinity, but a place we desire to be, a good place & illusions are not an error but a spiritual device to use in our favor. We can of course, either abuse or use such devices given to us.

        Free will allows us to experience both good & bad,(as we define it) the horrific & the sublime. As I’ve repeatedly said before, we eventually outgrow the negative.

  • mewabe

    In the metaphysical world, and in a western world which is generally speaking pragmatic and goals and results oriented, enlightenment can be seen as yet another badge of achievement for the ego to boast about, something to add to one’s list of excellent and magnificent achievements on a business card, resume, biography or obituary, perhaps even loudly announced on a plaque to be displayed on the mantlepiece .

    Yet those who attain any kind of spiritual knowledge (knowledge in the sense of actual experience, not of an accumulation of mental concepts) are usually extremely humbled by it, because the more they know, the more they paradoxically realize how little they know in relation to an infinite universe or universes.

    Many who claim enlightenment have consequently barely opened the door…they have seen a small ray of light and confused it with the sun itself…and they run around announcing the “good news” to everyone who would hear them. But there is something in the Bible to which I relate (incredibly): “Be still, and know that I am God”. The original meaning is not what I see in this…I choose my own meaning, which is that in order to receive any kind of spiritual understanding and experience, we need to stop being so busy, mentally and physically, and be still enough to “catch” such knowledge and experience.

    This is where a new understanding and experience of time itself must come into play, as well as a new sense of being.

    • I tend to think of enlightenment as a state of mind that is more ideal, healthy & positive without ignoring the darker elements of life. Gone are the dysfunctions that plague so many & it’s a state of being & awareness that’s always at peace & receptive to wisdom on a high level. Though I can’t really define, it’s just my current stab at it I guess.

      I get that some say they are enlightened and aren’t & Neale would add that some are & don’t know it! I’d love to here what Byron Katie & Eckhart Tolle & others would say enlightenment is.

      • mewabe

        I would say that enlightenment is not so much a state of mind as a state of consciousness, as we do have to get out of the mind…as a matter of fact, we have to loose our mind!
        However, these are just words…I understand what you mean.

        The quality of enlightenment you list are merely the icing on the cake. What should be sought is the cake itself, not the icing…and the cake itself exists for its own sake, not as a means to get the icing

        • Our simply say awareness?

          • mewabe

            Words are actually a very inadequate way of communicating…some experiences cannot be described, only approximated, and the communication of such must include a kind of intuitive inner understanding, which always end up being highly subjective and unique.
            But I do think we must be ready for paradox in any spiritual pursuit…such as the fact that we get there when we stop trying. I believe this is basically what Neale meant as well, and this is what the whole Zen school of thought teaches…Zen is about awakening (enlightenment) through paradox, pushing the student to the point of total mental blockage where there are no other alternative but for all of his conceptual thoughts to disintegrate into nothingness, at which point pure being emerges, here and now.

  • Jethro

    A transformation came to me when I willed it to happen. I wanted it, I needed it. In order to have what I wanted and needed, I had to search for a new understanding. I was looking frantically. I was a drunk in dire need of change.

    I did finally come to a point where I felt complete peace. I sat in that one spot on the back porch feeling in awe of life, and not just mine. I was a part of everything. The universe around me and the rocks under my feet. No more important and no less, just equally a part of. That stayed with me for a while, months I believe. I changed everything after that. I was the only thing that I felt needed change so it was, not easy, but easy.

    I have found myself in a state of confusion lately. I recognize things in the world are out of order. Nature is changing. People have changed yet they haven’t. I’m troubled by this because I don’t know if it’s just me or if people have actually changed. I have not taken time like I once did to stop and be one. One with all that is. So maybe I have just diagnosed my unrest. Unrest. My new little home doesn’t have a “me” spot. Time to make a spiritual nest and set in it for while.

    The question concerning an entire species becoming “enlightened”… I don’t know what it would take. My experience has been that enlightenment is not an easy thing to achieve. I had to be troubled enough to want to be. At the time I didn’t and still don’t call it enlightenment, I call it connected. No fancy foreign words or spiritual terms, just connected. Knowing how badly people view our past going back hundreds of years, I don’t see things have changed, technology and medical advances yes, but people, still the same only not as driven. I state that in its broadest view. Some folks are still driven and have found purpose. Found purpose…. Something to think about!

    Good day everyone!

    • mewabe

      Good day Jethro…my advice to you would be to keep cultivating that feeling of unity with all life…in the outdoors…until it become your only identity, of oneness with all life. It takes a bit of dedication (taking the time), but don’t try to grasp it, let it happen by itself. Just place yourself in a situation where it can happen spontaneously (being outside by yourself), and keep going with it. It will take you to an amazing and permanent space within yourself, and you will discover more than what you anticipate. And don’t worry when you are not in that space…some days you will have other things pulling your mind and emotions into other directions. Just keep going!

      Enlightenment is like…an erection (sorry if anyone considers this graphic, but at times you have to get away from the spiritual mumbo jumbo and holy attitude). You can’t “will” it to happen…but you can place yourself in a situation where it will. That’s what Siddhartha did, under a tree.

      • Jethro

        Hi Mewabe, you are correct. Outside is the place. Actually getting there, that is, a location untouched by the greed of humans, would be wonderful. I work outside, I spend my days driving from one location to the next. I have not forced an outing and I should. My and I have been very busy and we are both missing the recharge of walking in the forest, on the coast, and the dessert is a special place for us too.

        When I read your post last night, I knew who it was to… well, I had a strong feeling. I wondered if you would respond directly or not. I’m one of those people who need a “spot”, a place at home that I put my imagination. A hope chest with a place to set, if you will. It’s like an arrow pointing in the right direction so I don’t get lost. Over the years, others labeled it “the nest”. It’s something I’ve always done.

        “at times you have to get away from the spiritual mumbo jumbo and holy attitude” Yes, Yes, Yes!!! Talk to people like people. I don’t speak to people in 1700’s English when talking about Christianity, I don’t understand Hindu. So there will be gaps in understanding as I read other posts. I have a hard time believing some of the unhumanly happy posts that I’ve read as well. Be human, talk human, share human. I spent months learning to convert messages of god to messages not of God for legal purposes. It was not allowed more than actually illegal, to say God. I could have lost my job either way. I found those little words of old wisdom was received a lot better in that manner as well. Not god, no anger.

        There is nothing wrong with using an erection as an analogy, as long as you get your message understood. I use “shock statements” when I’m explaining things and get zomby face from people. But you are correct. The connection I’m talking about is like an erection very much.
        It appears when you don’t expect it at times, it doesn’t last as long as we would like, once you have reached an extremely wonderful feeling, it’s hard to stay in that moment for very long. The conditions must be right to achieve another moment of growth and your surroundings play a major roll in achieving this growth.

        Thank you for your reply Mewabe, you seen the entire post, not just one sentence.

  • “Suddenly Siddhartha said with a start: “I’m enlightened.” And people
    came to him and cried out, “What did you do? What did you do? Teach us,
    Master! You have become the Buddha, the Enlightened One. What is the
    secret? What did you do?”

    He did a lot prior work before this awakening and probably would not have awakened as he did with out his prior explorations. My guess, awakening comes in many ways & there is no one size or way that fits all. Yet, I totally get very much, how we all desire a quicker if not easier route to our own awakening.

    • mewabe

      “…how we all desire a quicker if not easier route to our own awakening”
      Especially in the west, and in America specifically, where people want instant gratification. Yet patience is a necessary requirement to actually understand time and its eternal nature and to have a full experience of the present moment, without which there is no possible enlightenment.

      • Well lately I’ve not liked having patience, so I replaced it with peace, guess what? More patience! 🙂

        • mewabe

          When we lack patience, it could be because there is something we are not looking at, within ourself, something we are literally running from (that’s 90% of humanity). But I am glad to hear that peace works…

      • Jethro

        “”As anyone noticed that Siddhartha sat under a tree in the outdoor?”” “”Sitting in one’s kitchen or living room is not quite the same…””
        The times of Gautama’s birth and death are uncertain. Most historians in the early 20th century dated his lifetime as circa 563 BCE to 483 BCE. later assumed more around 400 BCE. The story is he gave up everything. Where else would he have gone to set? Tree, rock, opening of a cave, temple floor? The story put him under a tree. The only energy necessary was his own. The act of thinking was his secret. A reflection of his past experience is what I imagine he was experiencing at the moment he experienced enlightenment. Separation is a product of thought. Otherwise Siddhartha was separated from everything on the other side of the tree.

        Mental trick. How would anyone determine enlightenment as a mental trick if one truly believed they were enlightened?

        “”(the real universe, not the present human world, which is mostly alienated from life).””
        The real universe as opposed to the one around us now? The present human world may be a little confused or lost but life it is. After all, we are a part of it, as shameful as it may feel some days.

        Neale stated above; “”And the Buddha said something quite extraordinary: “There is nothing that you have to be, do, or have.””

        I’m thinking I have not lost my connection, my path is merely changing a little. and it has. and it will be fine.

        • mewabe

          The human world is alienated from nature, which means from life, and willfully. It actually opposes nature, considering it as a sort of enemy to be conquered and subjugated, mastered and exploited without mercy. Civilization increasingly makes the natural world looks as if its people hated life, and the natural world look like a battlefield.

          To live within this alienated human world is to follow the rules of alienation…the beliefs, principles, ideas, lifestyles and wishes of alienation, to such an extent that the “solution” to such an alienation from life is thought to reside within the mind.

          But if you were to instead return to the body, as is done in yoga, and to the “body of creation” (the natural earth which is an integral part of your body), to the natural cosmos, the entire universe, mental alienation would cease instantly without any need to use any mental trick or idea or concept.

          This is however not a spiritual way that can be understood easily, because most people today can no longer make the difference between a city and the wilderness, between a tree and a wall, between security and separation, between the natural and the artificial, between stale air and live air, between the natural ground and concrete, between plastic and everything else, between naturally occurring chemicals and the toxic soup of pesticides, herbicides and GMO products this civilization creates while attempting to control nature, and between life and death.

          Most do not know or acknowledge what Chi or Prana energies are, and more importantly most do not understand that the natural world is spiritually alive, and powerfully…it is not made of “dead” matter or dead thoughts, but of a living environment that is spiritually alive and ever changing and regenerated.

          A city, or any man-made environment or structure, on the other hand, are merely alive with and bear the imprints of the thoughts of man, which are alienated from nature, and most often in a state of disharmony with the universe, except for the traditional Japanese architecture that is influenced by Zen, or Native American tipis.

          When living in an artificial, disharmonious man-made environment, it is therefore more difficult to feel connected to the living (natural) universe, the one that is harmonious and spiritual alive.

          Again, I know these things are difficult to understand, as they go against ages old social, cultural and religious programming. This is the problem of civilization: it causes people to be lost in their mind, and to believe that the solution is in the mind. The mind, in the ancient Tarot, is accurately represented as a maze within which we get lost.

          A simple blade of grass is more connected to the universe than any of us are, because such a life form has never imagined itself to be a separate ego.

          • Jethro

            The world has most certainly lost its connection to nature, and its sad. To say that humans are “opposing” nature is not totally true. I mean, it sure seems that way. They have “forgotten” the importance of natural things. Many have not seen the beauty of nature untouched. People have decided that nature cannot naturally do what it is supposed to do all by itself. Human actions are not only like that towards nature, they are like that towards humans too. Quite honestly, humans are trying to control everything! They don’t understand that if they don’t do anything the earth will still thrive. but there are also things they must quit doing.

            “the “solution” to such an alienation from life is thought to reside within the mind.” — The solution is actually going to be a process of thought, one of the mind, different from the process in which we are seeing today. In fact a changing of thought is the only answer. A thought in which we recognize how greed is destroying everything. A thought that may stop us from being so lazy.

            I’ll give you my idea of the separation of humans from nature. Back in the good old days, people worked the ground and didn’t have hydraulic anything. No cars, electricity, natural gas. No air conditioner to keep people bound to the interior of there homes because its not 73 1/2 degrees outside. heat for the winter required most to be outside for the summer harvesting wood among a million other things that needed to be done outside. technology has made humanity lazy. Its too hot outside, its too cold outside. There’s about two weeks out of every year that people will go stay outdoors, if they go, and most still only go with their fifth wheels that have all the things of home. God forbid somebody make a bead of sweat or get a little chill.!! ….Deep breath and ok… It has become too easy to manipulate things. I live in a place that was once covered in small farms. People raised and made their own food. They raised food for the animals from the ground themselves. They new where food and everything else came from. they took care of each other and the land around them. Grocery stores were for dry goods and hardware. Clothing was made at home quite often, and hamburgers had only onions mustard and pickles for a reason. We really don’t understand what it means for something to be out of season.

            People live in cities because its convenient, everything is close to home. There are better paying jobs if you can find one. Towns were once only necessary to a point, for certain kinds of business and the people who run them, schools should be there and churches. We are not meant to have the things we have today or we have not learned to manage it properly. I’m sticking with not meant to have. We should not have to look to a spiritual movement to be at one with nature. We should still be out there operating as one with nature whether we live in a stick house or a Styrofoam block house.
            I know that this is very hard to understand for most because it would mean giving up everything that creates false securities and comforts. It goes against everything we believe we deserve as educated beings. This is the problem with being civilized and deserving. It would appear people have lost their minds if they think we can keep doing what we are doing and continue to exist much longer as a race or a planet as we know it.

            On a happy note, things are changing and people are waking up to the problem. but not fast enough.

          • mewabe

            I understand what you are saying Jethro, and I totally agree…but what I was trying to express is different. As I said before, it cannot be understood because it is not a concept, or if it is, it is not one which which western people and cultures are familiar.

            I will try to simplify, since you mention churches: the wilderness is my church.
            A quote from John Muir:
            “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
            A quote from Thoreau:
            “I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.”

            The natural world is imbued with a powerful spiritual energy. I can’t explain it in terms that can be understood. Most people, especially western people, are not sensitive to it. Many Native Americans, as well as mystics of all traditions, are. That’s really all I can say…

          • Jethro

            It is very hard to explain a feeling, its hard for us to explain an emotion. I understand the energy your talking about. The kind of energy that can be found in a part of our world that man has not molested. Our senses are more receptive of mother earths natural energy in these locations. Its a feeling that cannot be achieved in the city due to the lack of being able to see a world as it is meant to be. The saddest part is the number of humans out to change what we call nature, in the name of making things better. In another reply I mentioned that my wife and I are in need of getting out to a natural location to recharge. To Recharge! We cannot recharge where there is not energy in abundance. Our eyes, ears, and noses are tortured by the energies of cities, and the bigger the city, the higher the level of torture. our bodies were not meant to survive on concrete. telephone poles are not trees.

            Am I getting close enough for you here?

            It does not require a mystic to explain these things, it doesn’t require a teaching to make this connection. It is a natural feeling. People who go back to nature begin to regain the connection naturally. The mystic, guru, spiritual teacher, whatever the title, might be necessary to help a person maintain that energy once removed from nature. We both already know its impossible to maintain, so out we go again and again. I will also say that the forest is not the only location. The desert has a beautiful energy to it as sparse as it may seem to so many, the ocean has always been a special place for me too, but no place on earth has ever sat me down in appreciation as a river of melting snow flows off of a mountain in the spring as everything wakes up from its winter sleep. Everything is in tune, as it should be.

            Do I get it Mewabe?

          • mewabe

            Yes you do Jethro…But it is possible to absorb this earth energy like a sponge and maintain it for a time…up to a year possibly…but it might take staying 3 months or more in nature, which is impossible for most people. I did it once and plan to do it again soon…to spend an entire summer in a wild area.

            We should never forget the spirituality of this energy…it is not just physical…it awakens and speaks to the soul, and causes us to come back to the here and now. In a more esoteric manner, Pranayama, the yogi science of the breath, is about quickly absorbing and retaining this energy which the yogis call prana, which is plentiful in nature, especially by the ocean or in the mountains. Pranayama is unknown in America.

            Don’t forget “grounding”…something the yogis have known for a very long time, and America just discovered. The most direct way is walking barefoot, or sitting directly on the ground.

          • Jethro

            Certain types of psychotherapy uses breathing techniques that no doubt was passed on by Hindu practices. As a matter of fact, many calming techniques prescribed by psychologists are borrowed from the Hindu. I’m not aware of the term pranayama, and I’m sure you are referring to it in a much deeper sense than an exercise in breathing. So I don’t know if I can agree or disagree if its truly unknown in America. I find it amazing that we need an exercise to calm ourselves from the pressures of having things so easy these days. Easy is an illusion!

            I’ve always said recharging rather than absorbing the energy. I assume there is a different meaning? I experience a reattaching. a reminding of the simplicity of how life flows. Humanity has a way of complicating things to make things seem more important.

            I think I could enjoy a couple months in the woods if I were in a different state, actually on the other side of the great plains. Too many mosquitos! Yes, I’m a wussy in that respect. aside from that this place has everything a person could need. We will be taking a trip to north Carolina, near the beginning of the trail of tears. Relocating there is not out of the question. Had the Europeans not settled there I may have been raised there. My wife too. I don’t think I’ll ever get a chance to camp out more than a week though. I envy you.

          • mewabe

            “I find it amazing that we need an exercise to calm ourselves from the pressures of having things so easy these days.”
            So true, and well put!

            I use the word absorbing because the pranayama breathing techniques are not just about getting oxygen in the blood and relaxing, but what yogis call prana, and about what is referred to as negative ions (which are the ones that are beneficial although they are called “negative”).

            My own mother talked to me about these things when I was very young, so I had an early start…but I dislike all disciplines and specific techniques, so I just let nature work on me, rather than doing the work myself. It takes longer, but I would rather be free from using these specific techniques. It however helps to have the knowledge, and you can research “prana”, “Chi”, and positive and negative ions…you will easily understand why you feel more tired in a closed and artificial environment (like in a house, a shopping center, or an office)…because, among other things such as lack of oxygen, of positive ions…you will also know why many people like to take long showers which refresh and energize them…because the running water grounds you and creates negative ions, as does a waterfall.

            I am lucky to be living in California where the outdoor opportunities are endless…when I was living in Oregon for a year, I would spend hours in the huge coastal sand dunes along the ocean. I was actually living right on the dunes…the outdoors where my backyard, literally.

            As far as mosquitoes, there are natural, non-toxic things you can use as repellents, such as cedarwood, grapefruit and/or rose geranium oils. It works against all bugs, including ticks.
            I once did the west coast trail on Vancouver Island in BC, and was covered with huge mosquitoes bites. I have learnt a few tricks since then.

          • Jethro

            I’m not one for disciplines either, I tend to educate myself in things just enough. I get what is useful to me. I find positives and negatives in everything. When I find something without negatives I will call it the perfect one for me. If we could combine all spiritual beliefs together, weed out the parts that require sex, sacrifice, prejudice, killing… I’ll just state things that go against natural feeling. Of course we are not aware of natural human feelings due to the harshness of being raised in our time of ease. We lose that natural feeling early in life and replace it with societies ideas which are mentally abusive. If we can weed those things out we have a much better belief system. Neale is as close as I’ve seen and Buddhism. I cannot claim to know enough to share that thought very often.

            My wife and I were raised in Bakersfield CA. We quite honestly can’t stand the place anymore. We lived near Palm Springs on a horse ranch, and loved it. We spent a little time in coastal cities in and around San Diego, Big Bear mountain, Salton Sea, Idyllwild, Anza-Borrego, 29 Palms. It amazes me and doesn’t, that you can’t find a place untouched by another’s feet, at the very least, unseen. While growing up my father made sure we spent a lot of time at Kings Canyon national park. Tehachapi, Mohave, Red Rock canyon, Greenhorn mountain area, Kernville, and the coast from Pismo to San Simian.
            We don’t get out there just for fun, its home. We are stuck here for the income, some day if my health allows, we will give remote living a shot. Its very sad the changes I’ve seen over the last 50 years. During the 70’s things began to haze up, some plants began to fade in color and some have disappeared. Watch old westerns from the 60’s and 70’s, and pay attention to the crisp horizon, That’s not just a camera effect! There is more than trash that would coax a tear from Iron Eyes Coty these days.

            The mosquito’s here range in size from no-see’em to the ones that can stand flat footed and look a turkey in the eye. I quit using mosquito repellants years ago. The reason for that is, I have been bit through that stuff as it was dripping down my arm, and its more harmful than a mosquito bite. We keep plants and other natural deterrents around our home but the fly swatter is the best tool yet. There’s just to many varieties here in southern Missouri. My area was once known as the great swamp. So it stands to reason there might be a couple skeeters. California skeeters are sissies! Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware has some awesome forest areas and I never received a mosquito bite. I’m looking forward to North Carolina where our Cherokee ancestors were removed from, Might be a perfect historical trip.

          • mewabe

            “Of course we are not aware of natural human feelings due to the harshness of being raised in our time of ease. We lose that natural feeling early in life and replace it with societies ideas which are mentally abusive.”
            Very true!

            In so called primitive cultures, life was physically hard but psychologically and mentally easier, due to people supporting each other and living communally. In our contemporary cultures, life is physically easy but mentally brutal, and actually anti-human, due to most people being alienated (survival of the fittest and every individual for himself), to insecurity and to daily stress caused by unnatural rhythms, by always being in a hurry.

            About information, I do the same whether it is about spirituality or other topics, I pick what I like and leave the rest. I think a lot of people do this too…

            I lived in S. California for a while, in Redondo Beach. The people were very friendly and open but I hated the traffic in LA and the smog. I explored the whole region while I was there, but S. California is way too crowded, as well as too expensive and too movie industry oriented.

            Yes, the earth has changed…gone are the clear blue skies. The trees are dying in many area, and many other things are happening if you observe carefully. Most people don’t pay attention to nature.

            I now live in Northern California, in a very small town…no industry except wineries, no pollution and no traffic. Yet this is not my kind of place either. There is no wilderness area nearby…just ranches and wineries…too many fences, too much civilization, I need the open space! The people are also different…not as friendly or open…more of the loner type.

            Cherokee ancestors? My ex was 1/4 cherokee…we spent a lot of time at pow wows through the summers in S. California…as well as other activities (sweat lodges, Sun Dance, etc). I have a sweat lodge on my land now and use it regularly, alone or with Native friends. It really cleans and clears your mind, heart and body!

          • Jethro

            Life is supposed to be a life of work. We should know ourselves well enough to know what we want to do and make a living doing that. We can’t all be doctors and lawyers. To much emphasis on the wrong kind of education in our schools. Working towards self success is tearing humanity up. Naturally chosen, our endeavors would naturally serve other people. No facts just belief.

            Northern Cali, is beautiful. People not so much. Same Rats different race as so cal. Redondo beach, we went there to bike the peer trail. Very crowded, but had a great time. I think there was an out door art show while we were there. Met some very interesting folks. It was 2012 I believe. I really enjoyed seeing so many expressions in one place.

            Yes Cherokee, I think the Cherokee and the Irish would have sex with anyone as many as there are. Joking of course. I’m Cherokee and Irish. I was told with that combo I was an alcoholic that couldn’t handle his liquor, if they only knew!! My grandmother was born on a reservation in Oklahoma around 1910. I’ve been told her dad was chief but I cant find any relation to my family from the very little searching I’ve done. Anyway, no traditions or customs past down. I’ve been in a sauna, but that’s Swedish or something. I’ve read a lot of articles on spiritual beliefs of native America and respect what I’ve found. Maybe its in the blood. My father always taught respect for nature. I’m mostly Irish as its prevailing on both sides but I could have my acre in Oklahoma if I pressed the issue. There are many religions that respected nature over the years that were pushed out to make way for Christianity. That was a bit of a mistake I think…. headed over to the new page to see whats up. Kristen appears to have ATF talking friendly…we’ll see how that goes.

    • Jethro

      Yes Marko, he had to experience many things to come to the point of enlightenment in the way he felt enlightened. Had another person been setting on the other side of the same tree and claimed enlightenment at the same time, they would have had different ideas of how to be enlightened. I’m learning more and more that life gets in the way of the awesomeness of reaching clarity. After achieving clarity it can take a life time or only a moment, to find yourself back in a moment of confusion, as it is the process of life, notably these days, that creates stress and confusion. It becomes easier to regain clarity the more you do it. Clarity is not something you just find and have. Like any other thing we wish to keep, it must be cared for and maintained.
      I have a problem with just letting go, I cant seem to let go of the fact that I cannot control everything. I will spend days or even months struggling with things before I come back to just letting it go, to come back to living in the moment… Thank you for this thought provoking post Marko.

      • You’re welcome Jethro. I agree too that, “It becomes easier to regain clarity the more you do it” Practice make easier.

        I have more peace because I practice it. And when not there, rather than complain, I just move back into it.

  • Perhaps “enlightenment” is about releasing or simply never embracing Old Notions about a God, or Deity, who is judging, condemning, and punishing, but holding new ideas about a Pure Energy that is the foundation of everything, the source of all creativity, wisdom, understanding, compassion, and unconditional love. -NDW on Facebook