• Sofia

Fear of Enlightenment

Updated: Feb 3

I have been raised in a family with a spiritual outlook and have thus always been inclined to be interested in such practices. There have been various phases in my adulthood in which I immersed myself more in mindfulness and meditative practices, focusing on two types. The first, and always present, is a practice originating in Java, Indonesia and called ”Latihan”. It is essentially about quietening your heart and mind and allowing your inner most spirit to spontaneously erupt into whatever needs to come to the surface and reveal itself. This, at least, is one of my versions of explaining it. I have benefited from this greatly throughout my life and have all too often neglected to follow through with regular practice, as us humans so easily do when it comes to anything that requires discipline. Perhaps not all humans, but I’m certainly one of them.

I have also been practicing yoga and more recently immersed myself into the literature rather than just the physical and mental practices (just?) in order to more deeply understand what is behind yogic teachings. None of what I have read so far seems entirely new to me, but I nevertheless find it instructive in the sense that occupying myself with it in a literary sense, makes me focus my consciousness more throughout the day. I have noticed that whenever something becomes challenging, I remember to find my way to this deeper consciousness in order to observe feelings and thoughts, live through them and let them pass rather than let them linger. Doing this has made me be more patient with my children, bolder about decisions that I am usually insecure about, more tolerant in my relationship and, just generally, makes me smile a lot more. Life doesn’t seem so daunting and all the things that happen throughout the day have far less weight than I would usually give them.

However, I have reached a point in my reading that teaches about limits that our minds create in order to shield us from mental pain or disturbances of some kind. We all create these walls and when we find ourselves in situations where we approach these walls, disturbances begin to manifest themselves inside of us. Yogic teaching tells us to allow for these disturbances rather than create protections in an attempt not to be confronted by them. Allowing them, living through them and learning to be comfortable with them will then remove these walls and begin to remove the walls that our minds have constructed to reveal, what is largely known, as an enlightened state of mind, freedom, ecstasy, nirvana...As I read about it I suddenly felt excited. The thought of mental freedom is amazing. And suddenly, after excitement, I noticed it turning into anxiety. I physically felt afraid at the thought of mental freedom. Breaking down my mental walls and allowing for pain and disturbances scares me. Can I do it? Is it worth it? Surely the price is worth paying for mental freedom and enlightenment!

Of course I will continue down this path and do my best, because this is who I am. I am will always strive for mental freedom. If that isn’t worth it then I don’t know what is!

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