Awakening to an enlightened state, traditionally involves meditation. This can mean any of the following: chanting, incense, bells, walking, an altar. These are combined with ceremony and ritual. This is formal meditation which, when successful, guides you to a state where you are awake, alert and without thought. This, often hard-won, state prepares you for a spiritual awakening; also called an epiphany, a satori or an enlightenment.
There is, however, an informal form of meditation, called “The Six-Step Path”. I have used this method and successfully taught it to thousands of others, who have also found success with it. It has been refined and tweaked over the past 43 years. It is user-friendly, relatively quick and fairly effortless. It too, brings one to a state of being awake, alert and without thought. It is as follows.
As Siddartha and many others and others have made clear for the past 2,500 years—“Life is suffering”. Fortunately, he and others offer ways to transcend this suffering. The way is meditation…not necessarily formal meditation. The form of meditation I endorse is informal…It is your daily life…”as it is”.
At first, the Six-Step Path may seem simplistic. Actually, it is—we are complex. Socrates was so right when he said—“The unexamined life is not worth living”.
My Six-Step Path begins with Observation…not just any observation. This most important of all six steps is non-judgmental observation. With non-judgmental observation you witness your own behavior with all its flaws and weaknesses that all humans possess.
For example, when you get angry, observe that anger. Focus your attention on it. Don’t judge it as either justified or wrong or any other qualifier. Simply see it as a behavior of you, a human being. The more intense and often you focus your attention on your behavior…all your behaviors, without judgment, the more you will see these your undesirable behaviors begin to wane - The more you see the less they will be. As you get more familiar with your true, imperfect self, you will become, little-by-little, more forgiving of your real self. The observing IS the cure.
This brings us to the second step in the Six-Step Path…That of Forgiveness. The degree to which you judge yourself is the degree to which you judge others. As you begin to lighten up and be more forgiving of yourself…your own flaws and weaknesses, your judgment of others will also become less frequent and less harsh. In time, this forgiveness of your self and others leads to step three of the Six-Step Path—Acceptance. Once you can observe without judgment and forgive imperfections you naturally adopt an attitude of acceptance. To forgive and accept what you observe, in yourself and others, is the beginning of true spirituality…and, ultimately, enlightenment. Acceptance of what is IS practicing unconditional love; first on yourself and then on others. This is the love that is the result of enlightenment. This is God in action. It shows no need to look outside yourself for help; which is not in your control. Looking within IS in your control. When you accept your life “as it is”, you are enlightened…you are living the life you would lead as the result of a spiritual awakening…the life you’re meant to live.
Living a non-judgmental life of observation, forgiveness and acceptance brings you to the fourth step in the Six-Step Path—Love. Unconditional love; love without conditions; for your self and others. This is the true, and only love that comes from our Source, through us, to all life. This love IS our Source (and us). At this point you are in sync with your Source…no longer trying to control the world, just letting it be. In Zen this is “life as it is”.
Living in this manner you will surely Awaken from your dream—your dream of separation from your Source into a separate, ego-centered identity. Your awakening; also called: satori, enlightenment, epiphany, etc. is two-fold—First you know, down to your bones, that you are part of something greater than yourself. Next, you realize that you ARE that thing greater than yourself.
When this happens, you can’t help but want to Celebrate every moment of life for the miracle it is. The way to express this understanding is to serve others; for they are you…All life is one. Celebrate life forever.
As you progress (imagined) from being a fear-based, ego-centric part of the universal problem, you become an accepting, loving, part of the solution. Your self in search of itself has found itself in six steps. You are now back where you started but with the understanding of what it means to be…who you are and where you are…in the now.