Thursday, February 02, 2017

I Am Awake

 “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals”.
-Henry David Thoreau
Sit still, be silent, let composure creep over you”.
-Norman Vincent Peale
When the Buddha was asked who he was, he simply replied, “I am awake”.  At first glance this seems like a typical cryptic response from a deep and wise teacher.  The goal of the Buddha was enlightenment.  After much searching he achieved his goal while sitting under a Bodhi tree.  He found enlightenment by sitting still and being quiet.  Although there are things I like and enjoy, my goals in life are mostly non materialistic.  It is easier to say this in my old age than it was in my youth.  When you are young you gather things around you.  When you get old you start letting things go.  My inner goal has always been enlightenment even though I have lived much of my life in darkness.  This darkness was not necessarily bad or painful although it occasionally was.  It was mostly a darkness caused by feelings of being lost, confused, or unhappy.  I am finally learning to focus on the most basic aspect of life.  I am learning to breathe.  Whatever is going on, if I take some time to be still, be quiet, and to breathe, composure creeps over me and, if only for a moment, I am awake and enlightened.  For Christmas I received a Buddhist pendant that has the word “Breathe” inscribed on it.  I now wear it around my neck as a reminder to breathe.  Breath is life.  My goals are to breathe, be still, be silent, and be enlightened.  There are many paths to enlightenment.  In the words of the Dalai Lama, “People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness.  Just because they are not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.”  Follow whatever path that awakens you and brings you enlightenment.  

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