by Jim Riley
My own spiritual journey started slowly, like a locomotive drawing heavy freight. But gradually I picked up steam. Finally I reached the destination, a rustic country station, "The Village of The Enlightened." On the platform, a kind but stern Stationmaster instructs all who would live there:
"Please realize, however our travels differ, we are all on similar routes. We give our wanderings different names, depending on our faith or lack of faith. But they are seldom more than names.
"The greatest joy is open to every heart, moments of diamond-like clarity, glimpses of the Divine. While great art may evoke the experience, it cannot represent it. Yet great lives may.
"Throughout the universe, countess beings ponder their purpose. Whatever their shapes or forms, the lucky come to this: Love is who I am. Love is why I am. And conscience is the lamp that lights my way."
I readily admit that mine is not a traditional view of enlightenment. I do not lean on timeworn tropes on Buddha or his life, nor do I expound from Holy texts. All of us may find enlightenment on our own. It does not require a guru or a teacher. There is a universal source of wisdom, readily accessed. But the ascetic, meditating mind has not the means. The living, loving heart does.
Enlightenment does not belong in Heaven or Nirvana. Brilliant lands have no need of lamps. This often-dark world does. We each have a heart. Thus, we each hold a key that opens the door to enlightenment. There is no other key to search our pockets for.
Let my verses act as piano tuners for your spirits, allowing your heartstrings to resonate with truth. For it is the heart only, not the mind, that may reach to pull back the dusty curtains of delusion and let in the light.
- Jim Riley, November 2010
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