Mark 44 years old

Click on this image to go to Youtube and watch my video log introduction to My Enlightenment Project!

My close friends know that I’ve always been interested in self-improvement and spirituality. That’s just the way I’m wired. That said, I’ve also always been very attached to wanting to live the good life too, as in doing really well financially. At one time I had dreams of retiring early and buying a sailboat and cruising the world. Well, that didn’t happen.

As far as the spiritual side of my life goes, I’ve done much better. I’ve been meditating for fifteen years now and my practice definitely supports my spiritual growth. My meditation practice has also given me sufficient insight to help others who struggle with stress. So I work these days as a meditation teacher, primarily for people in recovery. All that said, I’m yet not enlightened. Yes, I am more skilled at working with my triggers, thoughts and sensations than I used to be, but I still suffer. As yet, I’m a work in progress.

Jean Paul Sartre famously said, “hell is other people.” Like him, much of my current suffering also comes from my relationships with others. Specifically, I’m still attached to being understood by others and viewed by them as favorably as I view myself. When that doesn’t happen, tapes play in my head. I wish this self-oriented mental talk would all go away.

I can also get really triggered and scared if I think too deeply about world events. To me, global warming and other environmental challenges don’t seem to get the attention they deserve. A voice in my head yells “there is no economy without an environment!” I also worry about financial stability all the time too. And don’t even get me started about Donald Trump. At times, I can be a hot mess… but don’t we all find ourselves there at times?

Despite all that though, the potential for my spiritual progress has greatly expanded in the past few months. Last September I started John Yate’s (Culadasa) two-year teacher training course. Using his book, The Mind Illuminated, as a reference, Culadasa is helping us work through the 10-stages of meditative accomplishment. Participating in this class has pushed me to meditate more. I’m still as busy as ever, maybe even more. But somehow I’m finding time to sit up to an hour each day. On top of that, 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.

Let’s do this. Let’s see if a regular, stressed-out Westerner can accomplish classical enlightenment, while, at the same time trying to live a balanced life, raise a family and make a living. Join me for My Enlightenment Project! Please share this post with others whom you think might also be interested.

Wish me luck and I wish you well!

Mark

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