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Enlightened Living

21 Nov 2011   Shanti Gowans

It's possible to be completely enlightened...  

except with your family.

Martin came back from retreat and told his friend Ram that he 's achieved enlightenment. To which Ram replies "Wait until you have to spend a weekend with your parents." Christmas day, of course, is not only about the food and presents. It's about sharing food and presents with those who grate on you and push your buttons. Thus we get trapped in the suffering of repeated cycles of existence. 

If we want to be good lion tamers, we have to first understand the nature of the animal. In the same way, if we're going to ride our karma rather than be ridden by it, we first need to understand it's nature, and the factors that go into creating and maintaining it, not just intellectually and conceptually, but in a personal and even heartfelt way. Why intellectualise something that will eventually come to a dead end? Understanding the laws of karma can substantially change our lives for the better.
Sentient beings are confused and lost in samsara, the world of confusion, created by ego, our manufactured self. Lost in that confusion and out of that confusion we engage in creating more negative karma because of our attachment, and aversion, and ignorance. Sages see the confusion, see how people create suffering for themselves and genuinely feel a sense of loving care and feeling of compassion for them, but they do not follow after that confusion. However, sages with even a higher level of realisation don't actually see impurity anywhere at all, nor impure sentient beings. The simply see everything that appears as an expression of the divine wisdom mandala and all sounds as mantra. Looking around, see only the goodness around you and don't see faults in anyone. Recognise the thought, do not follow after it, or become entrenched in it.
If we expect somebody else to create peace in the world, we might be waiting a long, long time. And we'll become even more angry and anxious because our unmet expectations will bring frustration, disappointment and inevitably, more instability. However, if we can stabilise our motivation and learn to cultivate peace and compassion, our willingness to take responsibility for changing the environment will inspire many other.
Gandhi reminded us that there is no way to peace. Peace is the way.


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About Shantiji

Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.

Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television... Read more about Shantiji's biography

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