“Real enlightenment is not an experience. Real enlightenment is the ongoing work you do to keep from getting caught up in your experiences.” ~ Brad Warner
I voraciously read books on peace, peace-building, spiritual growth, spirituality, and God. There is much wisdom in these books, many insights and experiences which have guided me and have been applied to my life.
One thing they don’t tell you is that the more you move towards a peaceful lifestyle, the more you must challenge yourself, and the more you will be challenged. The key, it seems is to realign our attitudes of such challenges, so that they become lessons, opportunities, and less about setbacks.
Before last summer, I felt that I really “knew” a few things about spirituality, the path to enlightenment and God. And then that summer came and brought me to question all my beliefs. It forced me to live through darkness and loneliness, as I had never previously experienced. From these low places, I began to see how low my self-image really was, and how high my self-judgment was.
It really is true, the path to peace is a practice. And indeed, there is no path to peace – peace IS the path.
We must day in and day out work to grow and expand our compassion and kindness. The imperative of the process is to examine and question the beliefs we hold. I would dare to say that the deeper the conviction, the more we should be examining it. There are deep truths we can live by. And none of them are rigid. Any belief that does not call us passionately to bring out more of our kindness toward all life has become calcified and is no longer serving us.
Love is flexible. Love bends and shades with infinite colors. Love reminds us we have no idea of the amount of beauty in the universe, in ourselves. Love reminds us we are children. Love reminds us that enlightenment demands we lighten up. Love reminds us that our work does not end. Love reminds us that every day we are finding our way, the best we can with what we know in that moment. Love reminds us that we have no idea where we are in that path, and where we are even heading.
Love reminds us that the daily practice of veganism is a great inner work. It is as Rumi reminds us, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”