Inspirations from Buddha

Joan Marques - Ed.D., MBA.
Burbank, California

Although it is not easy to refrain oneself from all desire while wandering on the face of the earth, and even detach the self from one's "self," one can grow toward a more mature state of spiritual being. This state will limit, if not eradicate, desolation and exultation, resentment and lust, excessive fear and extreme ruthlessness, as well as every other disproportionate state of mind that only causes inner disturbance and disparity. This state will enhance, if not entirely establish, inner-balance and acceptance of life as it presents itself.

When one has obtained a state that is free from wrath, disproportionate expectations, greed, or envy, one can start enjoying one's current circumstances more, and live more fully, and with increased gratitude, in the here and now.

Obtaining such a state takes time and effort, and one will encounter multiple conditions along the way, even after obtaining the aimed state, that will seemingly justify a relapse into old patterns and behaviors. After all, living in a civilization that is build on influence, possessions, a need for security, and a pressing prerequisite to engage in political performance, almost seems to be an undeviating inconsistency with the attainment of this liberated state.

How can one achieve liberation of the self and still live in a subjugated world? How can one achieve spiritual boundlessness and still perform up to daily expectations? How can one discover, and hopefully find a lasting way to dwell on the inner nirvana while remaining part of a controlled system, entangled in oftentimes ridiculous and rigid rules and regulations?

The answer cannot be given as a pre-formulated, all-fitting set of directions, as this in and of itself would once again be a manifestation of the boundary establishment, which we tend to struggle with in our modern culture of excessive organization and control. The answer can actually only be found within oneself after thorough inward turning, concentrating on one' s circumstances and character, formulating one's personal perception of freedom, and determining one's capacity to persevere in reaching the discovered personal definition of spiritual liberation.

Acceptance may be one of the magic words here. And gratitude for all that one is and could not have been without carrying oneself with dignity and sincerity. And respect for all that lives and grows around him or her: family, colleagues, strangers, flora and fauna. And awareness of matters without giving in to the tendency of falling into the trap of mass-hypnosis, thoughtlessness, and justification of wrongdoing due to partisanship.

Enlightenment starts with encouraging oneself to be awake. And being awake starts with distancing oneself from mass thinking and elevating oneself toward personal views. And recognizing one's personal views starts with detaching oneself from unthoughtful adoption of group perspectives while being alert enough not to become a pariah. And detaching oneself from group perspectives starts with obtaining respect for one's own perceptions. And obtaining respect for one's own perceptions starts with valuing oneself. And valuing oneself starts with accepting oneself. And accepting oneself starts with loving oneself. And loving oneself starts with knowing oneself. And knowing oneself starts with realizing the difference between one and self. And realizing the difference between one and self will provide insight in what matters to one without necessarily incorporating self. And having insight in what matters to one without necessarily incorporating self will provide awareness into what is beneficial to all. And awareness into what is beneficial to all will lead to doing things right without fearing consequences, as one is detached from politics, refrained from insincerity, and freed from excessive desires.

Such is the reward of being awake: tranquility, peace, and serenity. It may not always be present at the level one would prefer, as one is still part of the world, part of a family, and part of teams; and one still has feelings and emotions; but it can be maintained and enhanced as soon as one realizes that one tends to regress into previous states of mind. The sensations thereto are familiar to all of us. All one needs to do is train oneself to stay in touch with the inner source, and detect alienation from this source as soon as it occurs. And growth will be a fact.