I got many responses to my solo cycling tour from Berlin to Copenhagen in 2015. One of them which was oft repeated was, “I would love to do this once in my life”. It was a very weird statement and I couldn’t identify with it at all. Because if it is something we love to do, why would we do it just once? I mean what makes it so unreachable to do a second time?
I loved cycle touring, so I went again in 2016 when I got a window to Australia and Taiwan. And now I am exploring something else (long stays in small, beautiful towns), but I have more cycle touring and other adventures in mind for sure.
I don’t understand this thing about “once in a life”. I think the best thing is to keep topping yourself. Keep a keen awareness and attention on your life and see what really feels worth it – and do more. And do more.
So I guess, this thought about “Oh, once in my life I want to do this” happens because it seems really tough and difficult.
And it is, in this same way, that people say “Oh but enlightenment is so far for us, how can we even think about it…. blah blah…”
Now there were a few people who after following my cycle tour… they also did a version of it later on. And I felt great, they felt great… everyone felt great 😀
But they never said, “Once in my life I want to do this”. Anyway once they have done this trip means they can do it again… in this form or some other feasible form.
The thing is…. a lot of these thoughts aren’t necessary. They don’t help. And not only do they not help, they become a barrier.
So also with enlightenment.
Thinking it is too difficult doesn’t help in any way. What would actually help would be to understand and delve deeper into what it is and the nature of what we call spirituality and so on.
It is only after you have some spiritual basics in place and the mind is relatively quiet can one truly progress on this path and then look towards enlightenment with some modicum of sense. At which point, the evaluation can be done about whether this seems feasible, reachable or whatever.
The fact is that the very nature of spirituality is that it addresses a very fundamental and core aspect of us humans. Sadly, while ‘spirituality’ is often touted in many contexts and situations – there is no clear articulation and understanding of what it actually means. And just because it is a subjective experience within oneself, people seem to think anything goes. But the bigger tragedy is in the fact that the fundamental premise of spirituality isn’t understood at all by many people.
So the step and thought that truly matters is only to spend time understanding and delving into what Spirituality means first of all. Only afterwards comes enlightenment.
(From book ‘Who am I‘)
Only, when a spiritual seeker has a strong base in place… and starts consciously thinking and evaluating his / her progress, that’s when it truly matters about what it would require to reach the ultimate goal. Only at this point does it actually matter about how difficult or non-difficult it is.
So the point is not whether Enlightenment actually is difficult or not. The point is that thinking it is too difficult – doesn’t help at all.
The only time this can actually help would be if it became a tool to increase your intensity on the path. And even then it would have to be eventually dropped – because this thought also is only one form of bondage.
The Buddha story comes to mind at this point,
After almost eight years of very body-destroying efforts, Gautama had become very weak. For four years he had been a Samana. The main sadhana for a Samana was to walk and never seek food – just walking and fasting. This destroyed his body almost to a point of death. At this time, he came to the river Niranjana, which as many other rivers in India today, has dried up and disappeared. This river was actually just a large stream with knee-high water flowing swiftly. He tried to cross the river but half-way across, his body was so physically weak that he could not take one more step. But he is not the kind to give up so he just held on to a dead branch that was there and just stood.It is said that he stood like that for many hours. We do not know whether he actually stood for many hours, or for a few moments which seemed like hours in that state of weakness. But at that moment, he realized that what he is seeking is after all within himself, so why all this struggle? “All that is needed is absolute willingness and it is right here. Why am I searching around the world?” When he realized this, he had that little extra ounce of energy to take that step, walk across the river and sit down under the now famous Bodhi tree. He sat down with the determination that, “Unless the Ultimate happens to me, I will not move. Either I will get up as an Enlightened Being or I will die in this posture.” And in a moment he was there because that is all it takes.– Sadhguru (Source)