Confessions of Un Enlightenment

I humbly acknowledge less-than enlightened behavior during a time of enormous change.  UGH!


Dangling in the void

I am learning that divorce has a way of making you feel as if not only the rug – but the entire universe has been pulled out from beneath you and you are left dangling in mid-void trying to find some place to put your feet.  At least that is how I have felt for the past several weeks (ok, maybe months).   A truly enlightened being would be able to face this dangling in the void from a place of contented observation and surrender.   Throughout this experience, I have been continually reminded of how un-enlightened I truly am.  So……here are my confessions of un-enlightenment!

Reaching for anything to hang on to

In this position of dangling in the void, I have found myself desperately reaching out for anything to hang on to.  It was this reaching that compelled me to seek out Christmas Eve mass.  As my friend Karen so lovingly reminded me, “What the hell were you thinking?”  At one time in my life, I had found spiritual refuge in the mass, most specifically in the very building in which I chose to attend mass this year.  In my un-enlightened state, I had approached this liturgy with the mind of an active member of this faith community rather than with the mind of the visitor that I really was.   When I discerned that the spiritual path I had come to embrace could no longer be contained within the orthodoxy of the Catholic institution and decided to rescind my membership, I gave up any rights to question, challenge, condemn.  Again, as Karen said, “What was I thinking?”

Unknowing and Allowing

I have also found for me that this dangling in the void puts everything into question.  (See paragraph above!).  What DO I believe?  What about my dreams, hopes, desires – are they real or simply the workings of an over-active imagination?  Am I supposed to continue in my chosen vocation as Spiritual Director, teacher, healer – or is this another one of my fantasies?  Do I even have a right to claim to teach things of a spiritual nature when I am obviously so un-enlightened?  What about my desire to write?  Am I really any good at it?  Can I actually be a single parent, write novels and support my family?  What about a house?  How will I provide for my family?  Is it time to get “a real job?”   Is there really such a thing as a soulmate/twin flame or is this just another one of those lies?  Do I even want to enter into another relationship….anytime, anywhere with anyone?  (I know, WAY too early to ask these last two questions).

All of these questions are hanging in the air around me like a swarm of Lakeflies (if you are from Oshkosh, you know how truly annoying this is!), buzzing in my ears and leaving their icky green slime all over me.  My spiritual teachers keep telling me, “Surrender into allowing.”  My unenlightened response?   “Allow this MF!”  I’m tired of allowing.  I want some action!  This is the second part of my confession:  on the road to enlightenment, I am impatient, controlling and I want the map in my hands with itinerary, timeframe, answers – AND I WANT IT NOW! 

Reactions and Brat-i-ness

The final part of my confession (for today anyway) – I am a big fat brat!  A truly enlightened being learns to refrain from responding to the ups and downs of life and simply surrenders to the ebb and flow from a place of peaceful contentment.  I have learned that most of the time, but most especially in the midst of this divorce thing…..peaceful contentment eludes me.  Instead, I react.  Hurt me?  I bite back.  Throw me a challenge?  I’ll throw a temper tantrum.  Ignore me?  I will stomp my feet and pound my fists.  Try to usurp my power?  I will draw my sword.  Stand in a place of non-integrity?  I will call you on it.  I find that at this place in my life, I cannot sit in the middle of the pond on my lotus leaf in lotus position meditating while the slings and arrows of life fly around me.  Instead, I feel more like a warrior, sword drawn and shield aloft ready to do battle.  So…..if you are as un-enlightened as me….watch out…..I’m just warning you!  🙂 

Embracing un-enlightenment

So, as I acknowledge my un-enlightenment, I humbly return to my meditation chair, my chant, my yoga mat, my laptop and remember that the path to enlightenment is in the journey….not the destination….because obviously, I’m not there yet!

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

Oshkosh, WI

http://yourspiritualtruth.com


4 thoughts on “Confessions of Un Enlightenment

  1. BRAVO! Thank you for your bravery in sharing these struggles. I experience most of those questions on a daily basis and struggle with my first step a lot lately. Your nakedness is beautiful!

  2. Dear Lauri,

    Perhaps you need to allow yourself to grieve the loss of your church, husband, playmate, family unit, comfort, security, in-laws, home, job, …all the things you have lost or are loosing in the recent past, present and near future. Let yourself feel these emotions, work through the pain and know that the loving God you have given your life to will be there with you every step of the way. It’s O.K. to be human, Lauri.

    By the way, the Mass that so offended you was said by a human being who obviously does not know too much about his job. Try to remember that it is not the Church and the Sacraments you object to as much as the uneducated, unfeeling priests who are running it so poorly.

    All of us in your family and your blog are supporting you with our love and prayers.

    Mom

  3. Great thoughts Lauri. From one who is on the same roller coaster we just have to ride it out until the roller coaster comes to a complete stop. Doesn’t mean you are not enlightened it might just be you just fell into a free fall of the coaster ride and weren’t fully confident in the straps that hold you into your seat. The ride will start to climb again and you will be able to see your life from a different view. I have surelly discovered many things about who I am and what I want from life from the many views the roller coaster has provided me.

  4. Laurie…

    In my opinion, you’re already there…the questions you raise could only be asked / fretted over / wrestled with by one who is AWARE. Enlightenment is choosing to be aware. We cannot separate the human from the spiritual, as if being tired and hurt and angry and sensitive isn’t also on the spiritual continuum. And, we keep talking about the journey – which implies a (future) destination. For me, to be enlightened means to enter the mystery of life right now. That’s the only flavor life truly comes in. We get trapped in dichotomous thinking – either/or. The challenging part, I believe, is not to separate our experience, but to hold everything in unity, simultaneously, together, right in this moment. You are who you are right now, you’re experiencing feelings and thoughts that are quite normal and human. That doesn’t mean you’re unenlightened. It means you’re human. Sometimes, I think, we who call ourselves seekers get caught up in the trap that to be enlightened means to be something other than what we are at the moment, and end up feeling great pain and despair because we can’t live up to our own (personally created) standards of “spirituality” or “spiritual enlightenment.” It’s similar to people who say, “I’ll be happy when…”, and thus are never happy because the event lies somewhere in the future. We can do the same by saying, “I know I’m enlightened when…”, and reject the very substance of enlightenment found within our human experience. We believe that “enlightenment” and pain cannot exist in the same moment. We don’t like the pain, of course, but to attach enlightenment only to peaceful feelings may be limiting.

    And then again, I could be totally wrong.

    I can’t say that I totally know how you feel, because I don’t live in your skin. But I can say, probably with you, that “floating” is an incredibly disturbing experience…I experienced divorce myself seven years ago. And at so many different times in so many different ways (like all of us), I’ve experienced endings and beginnings throughout my life. It is never easy, but does serve to hone awareness and understanding – and appreciation.

    Why should you continue to do what you do? Because in sharing your thoughts and feelings of pain and consternation, and walking with and helping others / us – you will find not only satisfaction, but also redemption for your own pain and suffering. We heal as we help others heal. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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