I think that enlightenment is a process—not one where somebody flicks on a light bulb and then you’re enlightened forever, and you’re perfect, and you speak all languages—no. It’s not like that. But it is a process, and when we engage in a daily meditation practice, perhaps that is the most enlightened choice that we can make for ourselves and for the world.
The Zen proverb that I like to quote is, “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” You still chop wood and carry water—in other words, you still do the things you have to do; change the oil in your car, pay your bills, pay your taxes, be a citizen, and so on—but there’s a whole different quality to the journey after you take the essential step of adopting practice as the axis around which your life turns.
I’ve worked with so many people over the last eight years who actually do the practice, do the meditation, and I see a substantial difference in them. A big shift happens when you do the practice on a daily basis. There’s more creativity, and there’s less getting caught in the drama. I won’t say there’s no more drama, but you play your dramatic roles more skillfully and more beautifully. There’s a certain amount of freedom that comes with realizing that you’re playing Macbeth, but you’re not really Macbeth; you’re an actor playing a part—then you can really rock with it.
When we don’t practice, our ego patterns just get reinforced over time. When we try to do everything according to our conditioning, our ego structures get carried on and on, and it’s just a goddamn mess! A lot of people get hurt. I’m still a mess, but at least I’m working on it. People ask me why I’m so dedicated to my practice, and the answer is because I was such a mess; I suffered so much; I was a disaster.
Practice just makes all the difference. If you’re a therapist, and you get your clients doing a daily meditation practice, you’ll see how the deepening, the releasing, and the talk therapy become what we always dreamed they could be, because in the actual process of doing the meditation, you and your clients start releasing your old knots of conditioning and the unconscious patterns that have ruled your life.
We think we’re free when we’re really not. We’re just acting according to our conditioning. As we begin to untie the knots and to release the pain, we begin to work through our traumas, and we begin to accept the world around us with all of its faults and all of its tragedies. We become freer and freer. We become more compassionate, and we learn to accept our own suffering. A daily practice opens our heart to be able to be present with the sufferings of others. We realize our own essential nature is truly connected to a deep, sacred, divine intelligence that everything has sprung from (as far as we know about this universe, about 13.7 billion years ago). We begin to surf the wave of evolutionary, revolutionary, compassionate unfolding.
I think it is important that we live life as if it mattered—live life as if we might have something important to do. That’s where an Integral practice comes in, where we exercise our bodies, our minds, our emotional bodies, our souls, and our spirits in our ongoing practice. Of course, the Profound Meditation Program is an immense help in this matter, speeding up our transformation, rebooting our brains, and evolving our brains into ever higher levels of functioning, at a time when, oh my God, do we ever need it.
So, be dedicated to your practice. We know enough now about collective consciousness, fields of energy, and Dr. Rupert Sheldrake’s work on morphogenetic fields to understand that when people start behaving and doing things in different ways, it really opens up a space for others to follow. So, those of us who are in this ever-expanding circle of practitioners, who are doing this transformational meditation, are really going to make it easier for those who come after us.
Plein-air Pastels by Scotty Mitchell: Fingers of God, Monsoon Season. www.scottymitchell.com
Adapted from iAwake Technologies’ free, weekly teleconference call on May 15, 2013.
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John Dupuy is the CEO of iAwake Technologies and the founder of Integral Recovery, a holistic addiction treatment approach inspired by Ken Wilber’s Integral Model. He is also the author of Integral Recovery: A Revolutionary Approach to Alcoholism and Addiction, recently published by SUNY Press. As a pioneer in the use of brainwave entrainment in therapy and personal development, John has dedicated his life to helping others deepen their spiritual practice and transform their lives.