In the spiritual world, we so often hear the question, "How can I become enlightened?" And sometimes in life, we can find ourselves at a crossroads where we want to have the child-like innocence of the Dalai Lama, the wisdom of the Buddha, the compassion of Jesus, or simply to reach nirvana.
We want to transcend our fears, our anger, our pain...and move to a state of bliss. The most common question I am asked by my students is, "How do I reach the GAP? or as we say in Spanish – el espacio cosmico.
Twelve years ago I traveled throughout India in search of the guru. I began my journey in the north –near the city of Varanasi- in the town of Sarnath where Buddha taught his first lesson after achieving enlightenment. Months later, my aha! moment occurred while reading The Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 2, Verse 48 as I lay in a hammock in a cashew forest in Kerala. As I read Krishna's guidance to Arjuna, it all made sense to me: "Yogastha kuru karmani" – establish yourself in one-ness and then perform action.
It was a powerful lesson in understanding the power of the present moment. But how do we live our lives in bliss with all the issues of money, health, relationships, love, fear, success, happiness, karma, dharma, and our ego swirling through our head and impacting our emotions, our conversations, and our actions?
As long as we are sealed in this flesh casing for the span of a lifetime – living as humans on this wild and magnificent planet – the answers can seem impossible to attain. After the Buddha had meditated under the Bodhi tree for 40 days (960 consecutive hours), he had his aha! moment. He realized the one-ness of existence and touched the ground with his right hand so the earth could be his witness.
We have the same opportunity in our lives, but it requires a daily meditation practice, opening our heart, connecting to the present moment, and accepting that this moment is exactly as it should be – perfect and pure, whole and infinite.
Communing with nature is a powerful way to experience the present moment – it takes you out of the past and out of the future so you can truly LIVE in this sacred, precious moment. Whether we are watching a sunset, riding a bicycle, witnessing an ant crawling up a tree, swimming with turtles, or walking barefoot on grass – each time we experience nature, we experience one-ness – the totality of the universe. This is a perfect starting point to begin your journey to enlightenment. So right now, take a few moments to commune with the magnificent flow of nature. Go outside...and just BE...take it all in – even for a few minutes. Breathe and soak in this magnificent existence of ours.