Today is Thanksgiving, the beginning of the holiday season. I had a nice day, though before my walk I had very much doubted that I would. (All that food, I had thought this morning; I don’t want to be around all that food, and then there’s that boring obligatory after-dinner conversation!) Because of my renewed perspective I had a very good (healthy) dinner, and a very nice time at our relatives’ house. There was a smile behind my eyes the whole time, and I felt very much at peace. Somehow, as we all chatted by the fire, I always knew exactly what to say, how to draw other people into the conversation. More than that, though: I found myself caring enough to try. I wanted the people around me to enjoy themselves and to feel better for having encountered me that evening.
In other words: I enjoyed myself—in a way that was, I think, almost spiritual. Or, not almost—actually spiritual.
And that’s it. It’s just a small glimpse, I know, and its just the beginning. But if I could live every day of my life like this one—if I could be exactly the person I decided to be today, that I saw myself being today, this life would be a sampling of heaven. Even when the skies are gray. Even when I’m tired. Even when I’m a little sad for some reason or another. I want to have this feeling, exactly this feeling. I want to feel, very deep down inside, as far as the very end of me—the very deepest part where the caverns end and no path runs through anymore—there is peace.
That, for me, is enlightenment, and now that I have glimpsed it, and called it by its name (for I have glimpsed it many times in my life, of course, and knew it was what I wanted, but hadn’t named it yet, and therefore hadn’t been able to make it an actual goal) … Now that I have seen it, and recognized it, and called it by its proper name, I finally know that it is real. And more than that: I believe that it is possible for me.
And so, that’s it. I have found a piece of enlightenment, just as I’d hoped that I would. And I hope that it stays, or that if it goes away for a little while, it will eventually come back, and that you and I will see it one day again, in each others’ eyes and in the eyes of other people we know who see it, too.
Until then, I have nothing more to say on the subject.
Enlightenment is possible for me. And not only possible, but happening … a little.
And that’s something to be grateful for.
And so, I am on my way. No, wait—I am not on my way. (Have I learned nothing from reading this journal again?) I am there.
I am there, not because I’ve arrived, but because I’m on the path … and the path is the only place any of us can ever really be.
We are learning. We are growing. We are figuring out how to like who we are, right now, deep down essentially at our core—before another single thing has been changed. We are flawed, but we are working on it. And isn’t that really the whole point?
Just working on it.
As I read back over this journal, I’m struck by several things. One is how deeply flawed I was while writing it (and still am). And the other is how hard I was trying not to be.
It’s going to be a little difficult to share this book with the world. It’s going to feel pretty hypocritical when people point out (as they inevitably will) how much this “teacher” has to learn. But when I read over these pages, I am actually okay with what I see.
I see someone who was seeking and striving. I see someone who always wanted to improve. And I see a lot of glimpses of the person I am now, and will be more of: the person who is happy and at peace.
I am not enlightened—but I’m lighter.