After googling “How to become enlightened,” because Google knows almost everything, i followed the You Might Also Like.. around the internet to find various “How To’s” on Relaxing, Meditating, Practicing Mindfulness, Being Happy, Experiencing God, Connecting with Holy Spirit, Attaining Nirvana, etc. Surprisingly, there seems to be a strong connection between what some might call a religious/spiritual approach to God / Enlightenment / Nirvana / Salvation and a more secular approach to achieving happiness / enjoying life. The secular and religious approaches to the good life are not mutually exclusive! And, it seems that by pursuing one of the paths, you might very likely practice day-to-day life in much of the same way.
The Buddhist approach seems to finely teeter the line between living a scientifically practical life and a devoutly faithful one. Many of the Buddhist practices, including mindfulness, meditation, smiling, vegetarianism, empathy / compassion / loving kindness, have been scientifically validated. Even if you view life as limited to one single human experience that you have right now and simply want to enjoy it fully, and so you live however ‘science says is best,’ you might happily find yourself aligned with many Buddhist teachings.
Science validates the daily practices of smiling, walking, laughing, meditation, hatha yoga, conscious breathing, and vegetarian / vegan as part of a holistic lifestyle that returns greater health and happiness. So even if you want to limit yourself to the mind/brain/body, you’ll still flourish on many levels. Also, exercise, 20-30 minutes a day, seems to a standard prescription for anyone seeking health and happiness. Although physical exercise doesn’t exactly appear in any spiritual scripture, there is talk of keeping the body healthy and ready to do God’ work, and also talk against sloth/laziness…so move it or lose it!
More religious approaches to living the good life, or what may be called the holy life, don’t necessarily include smiling or laughing, but they also don’t advocate against it. In fact, the Bible advocates for cheerfulness (Be cheerful for I have overcome the world) and also not to worry, which we might as well connect with Bob Marley’s song (Don’t worry, be happy!). The Bible also advocates for storing up treasures in Heaven, not on earth, which i personally interpret as choose to invest in education instead of acquiring material possessions. Or, in more secular terms…Read, read, read to succeed (Leaders are readers).
Thus far the Bible advocates being cheerful and not worrying. And science agrees.
Also, the good ole passage in the Bible…Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened unto you. What does this mean in practical terms? It means…know what you want. Ask for it. Think about it often. Write it down. Write it down again. Ask yourself how you can get it. Use your mind to think of creative ways of obtaining that which you seek. What’s this sound like? How about…goal-setting! And sure enough, Daniel Amen, a Brain-Health Guru, advocates for goal-setting in his book Magnificent Mind at Any Age. He talks about the power of our brains to focus and go to work consciously and subconsciously to discover means to attain that which we seek.
Ask and you shall receive. Set goals and you shall achieve. So simple. Whether scientific or religious/spiritual, you live the same way.
How about the Biblical teaching…Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. How does this translate to practical living, and what might science say about it? Perhaps the most valid science that relates to this passage is David Hawkins work detailed in Power vs. Force. He denotes Power as any concept that makes us go strong (e.g. a pure thought like love, peace, joy, abundance, acceptance, gratitude, honesty, surrender, virtue, etc.) and Force as anything that makes us go weak (e.g. selfish/ego-centric thoughts like hatred, anger, greed, shame, guilt, fear, excess, entitlement, etc.). Essentially, the teaching, whether scientific or religious/spiritual, is purify your thoughts and intentions. Align with that which all consider good, like Peace!, and all the goodness will come to you. There is Power in Peace, Power in Purity, and that might be what the Kingdom of God is all about. The Kingdom of Goodness! Commit to Goodness in any of its variety of forms and that’s like God. God and Good…not so different, are they?
Which reminds me…science is incomplete. But, as you can see from some comparisons above, religious teachings suggested scientific findings thousands of years before science ever validated them. In this way, religious teachings are way ahead of scientific validations. That is, religious teachers personally experienced truths more advanced than science could prove then or maybe even has proven now. The truth is in the experience. The proof is in the pudding! We don’t need to wait for lab results to start practicing the ancient teachings of Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Krishna, etc. Certainly, all the great saints and sages and seers wanted what’s best for everyone and everything, which in a word you might call happiness, and they offered prescriptions for our happiness, salvation, and enlightenment. Why wait for science to catch up to their experiential findings? Let us practice! Besides, it seems that we’ve reached a point where the core of any of the teachings from the various religious approaches have all been validated by science at this point.
Cheerfulness. Don’t Worry – Be Happy. Ask and Receive. Meditate. Seek God – Do Good. Store up Treasures in Heaven, not on earth – educate yourself; the mind is your greatest possession, as is your relationship with the eternal / the all. Think good thoughts. Preach the Word of God / Share the Good news ; if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. Treat all beings with compassion. Realize the goodness in everything; focus on the positive.
What exactly are we waiting for?
Truth is one, paths are many. Let us enjoy!
Are you having fun yet?
Focus and create. Breathe, smile, go slowly. Live in Reality. Here, Now.
Ask and you shall receive.
Hallelujah 🙂 Love the Truth. Love Goodness. Love the One and All.
See the Self in All. Unity. Oneness.