Benefit is a “third grade” thing. Enlightenment is a “seventh grade” thing.
The “modules” aren’t the same.
You can’t understand seventh grade lessons if you are approaching them from what you learned in third grade. This is obvious, right?
A mind that is looking for “benefits” needs to focus on its life, on making sure everything is okay, on dealing with immediate problems, and finding solutions, and so on.
Once you have learned everything there is to learn about such experiences — then you may start asking questions such as: What is life? Why am I here? Is this all there is to this immense universe?
Then you are onto something. Follow the cues. Dig deeper. See what comes up. Some things may disturb you. Others may exhilarate you. Keep going.
Your hands should be full at this stage. Just as they were when you thought the only things that mattered in life were a job, money, luxuries, and arguments. Now you have heavier questions. And most people won’t be able to give you an answer. You have to find out for yourself.
This is a journey. And each step has its own flavor, its own lessons, its own curriculum. Do not pursue enlightenment because it’s the hot thing in spiritual communities.
Have you cleared out your deepest fears? Do you feel affection for the Earth? Do you feel like She is your Mother? Do you feel compassion for your fellow human beings — whether or not they’re from your race or country? Do you sleep peacefully at night no matter what is going on in your life? Have you stopped being frustrated with yourself because you feel like you are not good enough? Did you forgive your parents, siblings, and those that hurt you in the past? Can you hear criticism without taking it personally?
Instead of pursuing enlightenment — focus on becoming a better human being.
Spirituality and “real life” are not separate from one another.
Just focus on this moment. The “now.” Look at your life, evaluate yourself — what could you have done better? What beliefs have always held you back? What would you like to do with your life if you were guaranteed it would happen?
Take some time to reflect, and answer those questions.
And once you come up with some answers, what do you do about it?
Obviously, you learn how to get there. You need to get out of your own head to look at things from different perspectives. Do it through books at first. Then reach out to those who can help. Eventually, give yourself challenges and learn from your direct experience.
Whatever you learn, put it into practice. Do it for many months. Eventually you change as a person, and you should.
Because we are in a physical dimension, we need to act with consistency to establish long lasting changes. In time, you won’t recognize yourself. You will be a new person. You are progressing on your path. Yes, others will recognize you as John or Jane, but internally, you will feel different about life. Hopefully better too!
If you learn that the Earth is a giant intelligent organism as an example; take a walk in Nature, and observe how everything is interrelated. You breathe thanks to the plant kingdom. And this plant kingdom needs what you exhale. Look closely at life. Without your biases. Without your opinions. Without what mom and dad told you. Just look with the eyes of a child.
Keep going. You are too busy learning from your experiences. No need to dissipate your energy into the future.
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