You Light Up My Life


This post is brought to you by the letter “e.” “E” is for enlightenment. In danger of becoming a buzzword, it’s nearly overused before it’s barely been explored. It seems to me that in my social circles, enlightenment is a lofty goal, sure- but only as a sort of theoretical concept. To actually seek enlightenment in earnest, or to believe you were capable of finding it, uncovering it or attaining it- is naïve at best and maniacally egotistical at worst. Everybody knows that humanity is continually plagued by suffering, and that there’s not a whole lot we can do about it, and that pursuit of enlightenment can only ever be an idea that would come to naught. Right?

I have proclaimed, for some time now, myself as a person who would like to be enlightened. It’s a pinnacle state of being, and naturally, striving personality that I am, it seems a perfectly logical goal. Why sell yourself short?

I have also felt, for equally some time now, ashamed and cowed to proclaim said goal. How silly, to think I have any understanding of the hard work that enlightenment entails. How stupid, to hang my hat on such a noble pursuit. How ridiculous, to think myself worthy of pursuing such an ideal. Who do I think I am?

When I dive deep into an idea, I invariably end up at the same conclusion: everybody’s a little bit right- and everybody’s a little bit wrong. Recently I’ve started to reshape my idea of enlightenment. I discovered that hiding inside, at the very core of my concept of the “e” word, was a brutal perfectionism. I believed there would be a moment when the world would suddenly shift, and I would thereafter be untouchable, infallible, unflappable, and basically radiating light beams from my fingers and my toes.

While that is a glorious scenario (and still how I’d like to imagine it goes down), it wasn’t leading me any further down the path toward becoming one with the universe. Like it or not, I’m having to create a working definition in the meantime.

En-lighten. To shine light on, to shed light. To illuminate…

What if enlightenment is simply the ability to notice when we stray from our innate truth in any given moment, those times when we cover our selves, our souls? Enlightenment could be recognizing that devouring a bag of Stacy’s Pita Chips is your (my) way of handling an awkward conversation with a client. It could be noticing that you tend to start discussions (read: pick fights) when you (me) and your boyfriend haven’t seen each other in a while. It could be realizing that every time you (I) suffer, it’s because you’re resisting reality and refusing to accept what’s going on in the present moment.

Now that, truly, blows my mind. It’s not a call to be perfect- it’s a call to be vigilant. To stay aware, noticing, alert, ready, prepared- just as often as you possibly can. Like love, enlightenment doesn’t judge. It doesn’t deem you unworthy, and its vocabulary doesn’t include the word failure. It’s an ever-present whisper in our hearts, saying “Listen. See. Notice. This is all there is.”

I can work with that.

In love and light, K