For some, life is drudgery, filled with labor and duty, ending with nothing. We watch helplessly as the world crumbles around us, shaken by hate and violence and poverty. We overcome our sorrow with intoxicants and pleasures and possessions, hoping that the sadness does not affect us. We fail to realize that it already has.
Others see our planet glowing with energy, radiant with life, and capable of such happiness that we can barely contain it. There is beauty everywhere and we pride ourselves in being a part of the whole. Every moment of existence is bliss and we move forward with anticipation, creating wonders that are the envy of the universe.
You may have placed yourself in one group or the other, or perhaps somewhere in-between. What I tell you now is that each of us has the potential to create either of these realities. There is nothing that is impossible. You have much greater influence on the world than you imagine.
Though the four steps to enlightenment sound simple, our challenge is to incorporate these steps into every waking moment. Once you know the steps, remain aware of any circumstance when you stray from the path, and adjust accordingly. Attitude and perception are critical components, and once you fully realize that you are completely in control, following the steps becomes a matter of choice.
1. Accept everything as it is, including yourself.
The desire to change your environment causes frustration. In this very moment, realize that everything is as it should be, and that is good. Of course, you could come up with a list of things you would like to change, but for now all of that is irrelevant. Understand that the world around you, the people you know and don’t know, and everything about yourself, is perfect. Accept that perhaps things are the way they are for reasons you don’t yet understand.
2. Do not judge anything.
The existence of polarity causes us to create comparisons. Good and bad, black and white, hot and cold, male and female. We define our world by differences and our task is to realize that these differences are irrelevant. When you think of male and female, remember that the soul has no gender. When you think of hot and cold, remember that sunlight may feel warm in winter, and a breeze may feel cool in summer. When you think of good and bad, understand that these definitions are created by your own needs, morals, desires and perceptions.
3. See that everything is interconnected.
We tend to see ourselves as individuals and to define everything around us as separate. This is not true. We all breathe the same air, we all feel the same feelings, and we all share the same energy. Everything that you do affects everything else and vice versa. The qualities that you like or dislike in others are mirroring the qualities that you like or dislike about yourself. We are all one, and part of the singular energy that we call god, spirit, or the universe.
4. Manifest love in your heart.
It is easy to love something that you like. It is often difficult to love something that you don’t like. Overcoming this challenge is a necessary step on the path to enlightenment. Loving everything and everyone cannot be just rational thought. It must become something that you feel. When you see someone that you judge or dislike, realize that they are just another soul on a journey, and feel love and thankfulness that they are the person that they are. To truly attain this goal, there can be no exceptions. Everyone deserves your love.
It is an important step to love everything about yourself as well. Despite what you may think, you are perfect and are exactly where you should be today and now. Nothing in your past matters and nothing in your future affects you yet. This very moment, you are a creature of beauty, perfection and love. When you begin to accept this, not just from a rational level but as something you feel from deep inside, you begin your path to enlightenment.
1. Say the names of the four steps until you know them.
2. Which step do you think will be most difficult to achieve?
3. Throughout your day, make a list of perceived judgments.
4. Determine why these judgments may be incorrect.
Excerpted from Soulwork 101: A New Age Guide to Personal Transformation by Glenn Stewart Coles
©Copyright 2009, 2015 Glenn Stewart Coles