I have been enlightened, now what?

When I first began practicing Zen I was building up for that all-powerful moment, the moment I achieve enlightenment. I had built up this belief that I was going to go all Neo and see the matrix for what it was. OK, I didn’t really think that because when I first started practicing Zen, The Matrix didn’t exist, but as usual I digress.

I was expecting my world to change

What did happen that first time I became enlightened? I still remember the moment to this day- could not recollect the date or year, but I remember the moment. I was driving in my car listening to “Pacing the Cage” by Bruce Cockburn. It was off some mix CD I created to understand yet another failed relationship. Oh yes, ANOTHER failed relationship; you think getting to the world series of love you just walk up to the stadium and demand entrance? It takes practice! But that is yet another story for another time. Anyway, I was driving, and listening, and I had become … enlightened.

I just sat there- driving and relishing in the feeling of it all. I cannot put into words the calmness that washed over me. For those who have experienced it, you know what I’m talking about. For those of you who have not experienced this, keep practicing, it’s worth it.

Needless to say, this feeling of enlightenment did not last forever, or even a few hours. As it washed over me and passed I was confused, concerned that I did not in fact achieve enlightenment but just a moment of clarity. It took a few more moments of clarity to realize something – they are moments of enlightenment, just not in the way I perceived them to be.

Enlightenment is exactly that- the lightening of self, the releasing of something that weighs you down. So simple in it’s nature the translation can sometimes be lost.