This One Small Act Brings Enlightenment
The Pursuit of Enlightenment
Undoubtedly you’ve heard of enlightenment; you’ve seen pictures of Buddha meditating, or at least heard of the concepts.
After all, the idea of it has been around for almost five thousand years, and the pursuit of it has consumed the east for just as long; inspiring religions, renunciants, and in the case of the Buddha- royalty.
If they’re not inspired by it, many people are at least intrigued by its promise: the end of suffering.
This inspiration has led some devoted followers to adopt extreme measures, giving up everything they own (even family) to pursue meditation in the forest.
But even though Buddha followed that path of extreme renunciation, the way he taught others was somewhat different when compared to other teachings at the time.
SEE ALSO: 10 Interesting Facts About Buddha
The Philosophy of Balance
Buddha believed in the concept of balance in all aspects, especially when it came to pursuing enlightenment.
Many seekers at the time would undertake measures that can only be described as self-torture, living lives that would make others cringe.
Starvation, for instance, was normal among sadhus and monks in an effort to conquer desires of food.
Having tried this methodology, Buddha realized that there was a better way:
The middle path.
Balancing the two extremes- renunciation and healthy living- Buddha found enlightenment.
Spreading the message of balance far and wide, his teachings became one of the most powerful influences in the world.
Buddha believed in balance, but what was the actual practice that brought him enlightenment?
Meditation is the key to enlightenment, no matter which eastern philosophy you subscribe to.
It’s said that Buddha sat for day after day underneath the Bodhi tree, refusing to leave his meditation until he became enlightened.
But it wasn’t just meditation; it was the technique that mattered.
And that particular technique is called being present, or mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the act of completely embracing the moment we inhabit- something that is so simple, and yet so challenging at times.
Often, the mind likes to go back and forth between the past and future, missing the moment completely.
But the Buddha was completely in control of his thoughts, and was mindful constantly.
The Act of Presence
So what’s the small act?
Staying present- in and out of meditation.
Over time, this practice of presence begins to build, and the mind sinks into deeper levels of awareness.
Awareness of the ever-present-now is what Buddha described as true enlightenment; it’s just that he was able to maintain it indefinitely.
This ability to be mindful changes every aspect of our nature, and brings peace and wisdom.
This is what Buddha defined as enlightenment…and you don’t have to go to a cave to find it.
As many times as you can during the day, bring yourself back to that mindfulness, and you’ll be well on your way to finding the most highly prized treasure of the east…and some would even say humanity.
This video of Tich Nhat Hahn is an great explanation of mindfulness and Buddha:
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