Day 24 of Ananda Commitment Giving Up The Quest

I went through a strange depression and lonely feeling for a few days. I still don’t know exactly why, but in spite of trying to be grateful and to not struggle, I felt that there was no meaning to life. I felt alone in my life because I just couldn’t relate to a lot of the things that are important to the people in my life.

As of last night, the depression lifted, but I am feeling a bit lost.

For days now, I’ve been feeling that I am chasing again. I‘ve spent time chasing money, relationships, a great body etc. Now I only want oneness, but the feeling of dissatisfaction is the same.

The shower tends to be a place for me to figure things out that are long standing problems. In the shower today it hit me, I need to give up spiritual seeking as well.

Enlightenment, or spiritual awakening, has truly been the number one priority in my life for many years now. I’m starting to wonder if it‘s possible, and I’m not even sure why I’m wanting to be enlightened. I’ve been feeling disillusioned because it seems like an incredibly lofty goal. I read this afternoon that only fewer than 30,000 people on earth are enlightened. I don’t know how “they” know this, and I’’m not sure who “they“ are, but if that’s true, then that means that I have .000375% chance of reaching enlightenment. I have a much greater chance of winning the Powerball Jackpot.

I have been dedicating my entire life to something that is nearly impossible. When I say that I dedicate my entire life, I don’t mean that I spend 16 hours every day in meditation. I simply mean that I meditate for 3-5 hours every day, I pray, chant Mantras, give selflessly and make a Herculean effort to remain present and allow life to unfold with zero resistance from me. I feel a little like I’ve been using my whole life as a training for an Olympic event that I just found out doesn’t even exist.

What does it even mean, to be enlightened? This question bothers me, because I haven’’t been able to get a straight answer.

As far as I can tell from listening to great masters, one is enlightened when he or she doesn’t perceive the self as separate. I like how Adyashanti describes it, as “perception without distortion”. In other words, one is enlightened when one’s personal self is taken out of the equation completely.

It also seems that, even if I engage in spiritual practice constantly for the rest of my life, this will still need to be a spontaneous experience that may or may not happen.

The frustration has been intense. I’m dedicating my life to a nearly impossible thing that I can’t even clearly define that may or may not happen spontaneously. The problem isn’t that I’m not enlightened. Enlightenment is just like any other state. I push happiness, love, peace AND enlightenment away the second that I want it.

It occurred to me that believing that enlightenment is possible for me, takes me further away from living as a spiritually awakened individual. It’s a GOOD thing that I now know that I have a greater chance of getting struck by lightening while being eaten by a shark than I do of ever being enlightened. It’s a blessing to let go of the hope of enlightenment.

Hmmm... for now, it seems that it’s not about trying to achieve enlightenment or reaching enlightenment. It‘s all about LIVING as an enlightened being. Even if I am not enlightened I can live as an enlightened person. I don’t have to wait for anything.

I may never learn what it means to be enlightened, and that’s okay. It isn’t the point. There is no “point” and believing that there is an ultimate destination to get to IS the problem. Seeking enlightenment is no different.

If the number one priority in my life shifts from trying to become enlightened, to just living as an enlightened master, that will change EVERYTHING. At the same time, it changes nothing at all. The practice is still to be as present as possible, loving everything that arises, focusing on service and not resisting anything. I will still engage in my spiritual practices. Literally, nothing external has changed. The only thing that has changed is that I’ve become aware of a persistent personal attachment to reach enlightenment. I’m deciding to drop this. The ONLY priority is the practice of being enlightened.

The “rules” or guidelines for a year of Ananda (See Ananda definition here)

* I will be as present as possible, grateful and loving what arises. I will focus on serving whatever is in front of me joyfully.

* No social media scrolling! I will only post my content and answer comments and questions that are on my content.

* No intake of external information. No more podcasts, books, audiobooks, YouTube videos or information of any kind. 😳 I will turn inwards for answers, guidance and information.

* I will trust life COMPLETELY. No more struggle, striving, controlling, wanting or trying to make something happen. I will trust and know that whatever is in my life is perfect, and I don’t need to fix or change it.

* I will move toward what I resist, NO personal preferences or agendas. I will say YES to all of life. (Unless I'm in physical danger, of course)

* I will engage in as many spiritual practices as possible every day.

* I will focus on GIVING and SERVING.

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