No, becoming enlightened is not becoming some Buddhist monk, and meditating on a rock in the middle of the ocean.
1. Enlightenment is simple
To become ‘enlightened’ is just to turn on the lights in your mind.
To ‘enlight’ — to add light to yourself.
That means, if you feel lost in life, you’re just wandering in the dark. You need a flashlight, to figure out where you are, where you want to go, and what gives you purpose and direction.
Fortunately, we all have smartphones, and we all have the flashlight app on our phone. So we are ready any time to ‘enlighten’ ourselves.
2. What worked for me
For me, I think I was always enlightened; ever since I was 12 years old. The problem was that I let my inner-light go dim, as I got older.
When I was 12, I knew that happiness was doing creative work, having fun, having loving and meaningful relationships, to not care about money, and to not envy others.
But as I got older, I was told that I needed to get into a good college, to get a good job, to make a bunch of money, to buy a house, and to buy a BMW, and maybe one day retire and travel.
I think as children, we are all already enlightened. But the problem is staying enlightened as we become adults.
3. Am I crazy?
I remember when I was 18 years old, then 21 years old, still thinking the rest of the world was crazy. Then I wondered:
Am I the only sane one? Or am I the only crazy one?
I took a (somewhat) different path from my peers— I followed my passion (while holding down a 9-5 office job). I was an optimist; but a pragmatist. I knew I needed to pay my rent, so having a 9-5 job helped me do that. But I knew that I wanted to pursue my passion in life (teaching, photography, blogging, traveling) and that I could do that on the side.
As I became more ‘successful’ in life, I got more stressed. More emails to answer, more networking, more kissing ass, more business deals, more traveling away from loved ones, more jetlag, and more stress and anxiety.
Now, my leading motto is:
Know you will die; and you must die.
4. What is important to me?
So my simple leading philosophy is “Live everyday like it is your last.”
This is the easiest way to give you focus in life.
This will point your light to what is truly important to you. For me, the important things in my life include:
- Showing love to everyone, especially to Cindy, my family, and friends.
- Doing creative work (writing, thinking, reading, watching uplifting films, listening to empowering music, making music, making slideshows, making photos, blogging, making videos, etc).
- Staying physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy (reading philosophy, working out, and dispelling anger and envy from my life).
So I feel enlightened. I know what is important in my life, and what isn’t important in my life.
What isn’t important in my life:
- Having a lot of social media followers
- Having a ton of money
- Having a big ass house
- Having an expensive car
- Having expensive clothes
- Having expensive cameras
- Trying to become immortal
I also feel that my mission statement in life is love. To love others, to love myself, and to help others spread love.
5. Do more cool shit in life
I also think to become enlightened— you gotta do shit. Not to just think, and sit under a tree, and think deep thoughts.
But to make changes in the real world. To take action.
All matter is inert, unless we act upon it.
So to become more enlightened— is to do your life’s passion. To do more of what you are passionate about.
If your passion is photography; to become an ‘enlightened’ photographer is to just make more photos that uplifts your soul.
If your passion is writing; just write more.
If your passion is film; learn how to make films (not just watching them).
Spend less time consuming; more time producing.
Don’t fear what others will think of your work. Just do it. And publish works in progress. Don’t aim for perfection. Get it 80% good, and just hit publish.
Conclusion: Don’t listen to me
Of course; all advice is autobiographical. I’ve (kind of) figured out a lot of stuff for myself. And my biggest hope is to help you out.
But honestly, I can’t help you. Philosophers can’t help you. Only you can help you.
But I really do feel that enlightenment is something simple. It is just tapping into your inner-child; and pursuing what you are passionate about in life. Doesn’t matter if you have an office job— you can do your passion right now.
Everyday, stay hungry, keep learning, and keep on hustling. Keep creating, and live everyday like it were your last. But plan like you will live to be 120 years old.
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