Chapter 8 - Enlightenment Is Only the Beginning - Strength for the Journey
The experience of 'Enlightenment' has become, in and of itself, the end goal of many individuals.
But if that experience is not followed up on in everyday life, as with anything else, it is essentially meaningless.
First of all, a definition. By Enlightenment, I am referring to any experience that gives us a deeper realization of our connection to that Greater part of ourselves, the Universe (aka Truth).
As long as we have these physical vehicles we are (often ungratefully) lugging around (aka bodies), it is wisest for us to mold them in accordance with what we discover in our 'Awakenings' or 'Enlightenments'. If we do not, and we allow our vehicles to drag us around instead, we will not experience anything reflecting any sort of Enlightenment in our daily lives.
What exactly, then, can we do to bring our currently contrary (and typically obstinate), physical, emotional & mental bodies into alignment with Higher Purpose or the Divine Plan?
Awareness, and even further, an actual understanding, of just what exact problems we daily face, is vital.
For each individual, from the moment of birth (and, one could argue, even prior to), a conditioning process begins in earnest to shape the habitual Thoughts, Emotions, and ultimately, our Behaviors that will tend to direct us for years to come.
We must bridle this bucking bronco at all costs, or it will drag us to our deaths, or at the very least, into a stream of unpleasant, yet avoidable, situations (blindly referred to as 'karma').
We have choices. We can reshape our Thought Patterns, we can realize that Emotions do not have to follow Bodily Sensations, and we can change our Behaviors, by acknowledging our free will.
This does require a great deal of effort, self-awareness, patience, and courage. It does not happen overnight. Experiences of Enlightenment give us motivation, perspective, and hope that we can make a difference. While mind over matter is a truism, the physical density (or dimension) is bound by time. Thought Patterns take time to reconsider. Learning to recast bodily sensations as just that, and not overdramatize them into emotional rollercoasters, takes time. And changing habits, according to the common wisdom, can take about 30 days of consistent practice.
Maybe we don't want to hear these facts. However, this lack of acceptance of the requirement for time & effort (blood, sweat & tears) does not change said requirement. Natural laws do not change simply because we wish them to. Perhaps the greatest secret to manifestation is just how much physical, mental & emotional efforts are still needed. We must not be lazy, or we will never manifest anything helpful or useful. We will never change our lives, nor ourselves into living Enlightened beings, if we do not accept the Truth of the matter.
We have created characters for ourselves, complete with backstories, handicaps, and pithy sayings. Unfortunately, we tend to believe ourselves to actually be these limited personas or characters, and hence struggle to change this persona from inside. Enlightenment shows us that we are not solely our personas, and have more power than we commonly assume. We can harness these experiential realizations as opportunities, to fuel changing the circus of our daily habits, into something worth living with.
If we change our mind, we must then change our behavior. We cannot stop at mental improvements. And we must be very careful to avoid the pitfall of merely hiding our behavior from ourselves, imagining ourselves to be so much 'better off', while changing nothing of substance in the physical (and/or emotional) world of everyday life.
All things are possible, we CAN do anything we set our mind to.
The only catch is that we must actually DO something.