Immediately after beginning to practice, my teacher told me that enlightenment – a state free of suffering – was achievable through meditation. He said that ‘becoming enlightened is an accident, but meditation makes you accident prone.’ So, for more than just to feel better, I’ve also been meditating in hopes of becoming enlightened. Well, if ask anyone who knows me, they’ll tell you it hasn’t happened yet.
I’ve just been accepted into Jeffrey Martin’s 17-week “Finder’s Course.” From what I hear, upwards of 70% of people who take this course experience the first stage of what some people regard as classical enlightenment—a shift in perspective that extinguishes personal suffering. Given all that, I’m really excited. Not suffering any more (or as much) sounds really great to me. But I want to be straight with you, I have no personal experience with enlightenment yet. It’s still all just theory to me. Jeffrey’s class starts this Saturday. So, in two days, starting January 21st, I’ll embark on my own personal enlightenment project. AND, I’m going to do it while continuing to manage my work, entrepreneurial aspirations, and also while fulfilling all my responsibilities as a husband and father. So, if you’re interested, you’re invited to join me on this inner adventure. You’ll have a front row seat into how it all turns out. I’ll share the good and the bad and the most relevant details, struggles and insights of the experiment through daily vlog posts. I’ll be sharing all this because, if I make it, you might decide to try it yourself. I reckon if we change (enlighten) ourselves as individuals, we might have a shot at changing the world for the better too.
Can we call on mindfulness to shoulder the heavy burden of remedying our disconnected families? I think we can. Mindfulness does a strange thing. It helps us to feel more satisfied within ourselves. We also start tuning into others’ feelings, which then increases our connection. As relationships grow and develop, we start valuing those relationships more. It’s a positive feedback loop. This holiday season use it as a means to enact the Golden Rule at home.
My work with individuals and couples has taught me listen and empathize with others. I don’t always agree with them, as in the case of my Trump voting family members. But if I take the time to ferret out the values behind their opinions I can always find a way to empathize. If we don’t do that hard work, our opinions start to become more and more distorted. We start to generate strong negative feelings and direct them outward, at our family members and people who we identify as different than us. Other people are not your enemy. Your personal enemy, if you have one, is a narrow perspective that sees only you vs. me and us vs. them.
Watch John Oliver deliver a harsh rebuke of the pharmaceutical industry for its dishonest marketing of opiate-based pain medications.
What motivates me to write this blog today is the desire to hear from people who are earnestly trying to see themselves in others. I want to fill my consciousness with stories of people who are negotiating win-win agreements, reconciling long-held disputes for the greater good, cooperating in order to make a business or a relationship work out in a good way, or in any other way making this a more humane world. That goodness is happening right now too. It’s just drowned out by the vitriol. So, let me hear from the do-gooders today. It’s their positive politics that I want to energize.