Is enlightenment the means rather than the end?
I've spent the greater part of my adult life believing that my purpose in life was the achievement of union, enlightenment, realization, liberation, non-duality - call it what you may. I believed that the practice of meditation, kindness, moral discipline etc would (in one lifetime or another) lead to the achievement of this exalted state.
Now I begin to wonder if I got it the wrong way round. Now it seems to me that the practices of meditation, kindness, moral discipline etc are an end in themselves. The purpose of life is simply to live a good life - good in the sense of living for the greater good of all.
From this perspective, whatever megre level of enlightenment I can manifest is the means, not the end. Enlightenment is the tool through which I can craft a good life.
To put it another way, Enlightenment is not some exalted altered state of consciousness, but a daily practice. It is something you do, not something you experience. Enlightenment, is a craft skill!
I think the Zen master Dogen, said much the same thing a thousand years ago. It makes sense of the fact that even highly realized masters continue to practice meditation, kindness and moral discipline on a daily basis.
May be too, this is why Tara is always portrayed with one foot off her lotus seat ready to leap into action. She is an action girl!
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Copyright 2019 by Nicholas Hudis
Who Am I?
I am Nicholas Hudis an author and mentor dedicated to the path of self-cultivation. After 25 years as a therapist/coach, I see that the need is not for therapy but for cultivating the skill to live wisely, ethically and purposefully. I am no "sage" but the wisdom of Confucius, the Buddha and the Stoic philosophers guides me on a daily basis. My desire is to share this inspiration, through my writings and personal mentoring, and make a difference to your life too.