My friend Monica Hamburg posted a hilarious daily-deal from Ethical Deals on her Facebook page today. Oh, how I laughed.
Dude’s selling basically spiritual enlightenment for $129, a savings of 84%, you lucky motherfuckers. Act now or forever live in the dark. Free shipping.
You know why he’s selling “awakening” for 84% off? Because you can’t BUY ENLIGHTENMENT, chumps.
It’s not a “Oh, shit! Wrong aisle! I was looking in aisle 7B, next to the Mexican food” scenario. Enlightenment doesn’t come with a t-shirt and a money-back guarantee. It’s not something you take a course for then suddenly you got ALL YOUR SHIT FIGURED OUT.
Are you kidding me?
You think THE MYSTERY OF LIFE comes in a 2-DVD pack with a bonus Afterlife pamphlet? You think it’s just that easy to understand? You think that’s why people have been asking “What’s the meaning of life?” since the time of Socrates and Plato? Because asshole on a Daily Deal site IS HOLDING ALL THE SECRETS, and you gotta pay $129 for that shit?
I heard someone say the average IQ is 85, so it suddenly makes sense why I want to slap people so much, but let’s see if I can overcome that and write this anyhow.
You don’t need no fucking enlightenment course. Anything you need to know about life has been written already. Hell, you can stick to 50 years of creative content in the 20th century and answer anything you need to know about life. For the price of a library card, you can attain Nirvana.
Ken Kesey, one of America’s greatestest writers EVER, once said something to the effect of, if you can’t find God in your backyard in Kansas, you won’t find him at Egypt’s pyramids either. (“God” there is whatever you want it to be — enlightenment, awakening, meaning of life, whatever, man.)
Okay. Don’t gotta go to Egypt. And don’t live in Kansas, but I’ve got Wizard of Oz on the PVR, so I’m set, bitches.
The secret to life isn’t out there, it’s in you. Just like Jack Palance‘s gravelly old cowboy mutters in Billy Crystal‘s City Slickers, that the secret to life is, “One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that, and everything else don’t mean shit.”
That “one thing” is different for everyone. For you, maybe it’s butter chicken.
I won’t pretend I’ve mastered my one thing, but I’m closer to it now than I’ve ever been. And, like everyone should know, it’s not about attaining it, it’s about the chase.
Like Will Smith says in The Pursuit of Happyness, the constitution doesn’t promise finding happiness, only the pursuit of it.
For me, I find that’s the secret of life. Never stopping the search for more, never becoming stagnant, always trying to be better. Like a snowball rolling down a hillside. As long as it doesn’t stop, it just keeps growing.
I get that some people feel unhinged and lost, and that feeling overwhelms them. I get that others feel there’s no point to life, that they’re a cog on some wheel of stupidity and nothing matters, and they’re desperately hoping to find anything that will change that perception.
I kinda think accepting and embracing those bitter truths are a part of enlightenment too. Feeling small is good. It makes problems less traumatic. Feeling like the world will go on without you should free you from your panic, not increase it. Knowing it all comes down to you finding meaning in your own life is an empowering thing. If you’re not living for a reason, then that’s your choice, and either you accept that choice or you change it ASAP.
Enlightenment can happen in a parking lot, on a beach, in the dark of night while you’re in bed, staring at the ceiling in bed. It probably ain’t happening in a classroom or in front of a computer monitor, though.
“Enlightenment” is also about relinquishing some control and understanding that the good and bad come in waves, and living in the moment makes it less encompassing.
And that sounds easy but it’s not. There are a lot of factors in life that we can control — being in a place we like living, having the time to do things that make our heart feel full, choosing to live in the moment rather than What-If Land — and there are many that we cannot. No matter who dies on us, what tragedies befall us, there is always, always, always a life beyond that experience, and we have to dial up the courage of ancient explorers in order to travel to those new, scary lands of change. That ain’t easy to do, either.
But that’s what it’s about. That’s life. Constant change. Not all of the happy-happy, fun-fun variety, but all of the relevant, educational variety.
If you ain’t on the move and having new experience, you’re not living. You’re avoiding death.
There’s your enlightenment. On sale for 100% off, with free shipping and handling, all thanks to a blog and a library card, man.