Experience Is Your Teacher
Tao of Yummi, Sutra 23, Microsutra 3/6
Do you seek enlightenment? What is it and how do you attain it?
The joke goes like this: A man walks into a monastery, high in the Himalayas. The monastery is known as a great sanctuary for the kindest and wisest. Wise men and women, heads shaved, resplendent in saffron and crimson robes, sit in meditation. The smell of incense and sound of soft chanting is everywhere. The man says, “I’ve found it! Certainly one of these enlightened souls will grant me enlightenment!” And so the man goes from one monk to another, asking the same question, “Can you grant me enlightenment?” The answer is always, “no. I cannot. But please feel free to sit if you wish.” Finally, in exasperation, and on his way out the door, he addresses the Abbott of the Monastery. “What a crock,” the says angrily to the Abbott, “you are all supposed to be kind and enlightened, and you’re neither of these. I’ve asked each monk if he or she would please grant me enlightenment, and all of you have said that you cannot, or will not, and offered me a seat.” The Abbott calmly replies, “It is because enlightenment is not ours’ to give. Only you can give enlightenment to yourSelf. The seat is offered so that you can begin ‘the work’.”
There isn’t actually a joke, like the above that I have heard, but it serves to illustrate the point. Enlightenment is not something that someone else can give you. It is something you can give yourSelf, though. By doing ‘the work’ and having the experience…and you don’t have to climb the Himalayas to have the experience. You can play with your kids, give advice to a friend about a difficult relationship, or invent a mechanism that regulates the water distributed by a garden system. As long as you are mindful in the moment — each moment — and moment after moment — you are having the experience. One day you may see things with a greater clarity than you ever imagined. You may see that you are an essential part of the Universe. You are here to help. You have value to give. Each direction you face is forward. The opportunity to create authentic value is right in front of you. Living into purpose, you become mindful in the current moment, and open to the delightful and unexpected. Open yourSelf to the experience that is already all around.