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The Web of Enlightenment

There have been many discussions about enlightenment on this platform from countless individuals who I have grown to admire. Each one of us is experiencing a different set of feelings and emotions during any given moment of our day. Boredom, joy, frustration, serenity, humor… on and on the vast scope of our human condition fluctuates – but what is enlightenment?

I suppose this is different for each and every being. I suppose it has to deal with your circumstances and your background, whether you are struggling with anxiety or some form of stress. Yes, we all feel it… that thin tenor of noise and distortion which disrupts our conscious view of the world. Indeed, it’s always there, hammering away like some angry construction crew, a steady jackhammer pulverizing our serenity.

Work stress, family crisis, health issues, bills, debt, politicians spewing hatred and garbage, social media addiction… None of this is natural. We are not born with these issues, but we can certainly die from them. Long periods of exposure to such toxic insanity can only erode our spiritual immunity. Slowly but surely our confidence drains and our ability to resist stress is destabilized. This ultimately leads down a dark path we need not revisit.

While enlightenment comes in many forms, it always seems to be necessary when the chips are down, when we have exhausted our patience over a less-than-ideal situation.

Some may turn to religion. Others find enlightenment in friendship or group discussions. Many feel enlightened after exercise or while they create art. Either way, enlightenment serves as a personal revolution against our own sinister reflection.

For me, dealing with tension requires solitude. I must be at peace with my soul before I can create art or write literature. I have always been relatively grounded in my perspective, but even I have to deal with a certain level of chaos on occasion. We all deal with it – every single day – and with that bottle of ulcers comes the tendency to complain. I am no different, but I have learned that bitching never gets me from point Alpha to Bravo. In fact, I have come to the realization that self-indulgent pity can only exacerbate the anxiety and depression – it’s like dousing a fire with gasoline.

I suppose my overall point is that enlightenment is not very complicated. I would say it’s spiritual, but it is also an issue of physical brain chemistry, of finding a proper method in which to release endorphins. I’m not a scientist. I’m not a clinical physician or therapist. Nor am I recommending anything in the form of advice or meditation, but I am telling you that enlightenment is important. It is imperative for every soul to find that special knowledge which separates you from the dark stain erasing your stamina.

Enlightenment is clearly different for everyone, but know that we all possess that special ability to change course.

We all need to own our demons, to develop our own personal measures in which to release the light. For those who are hurting, all I can offer are prayers and sympathy. Just remember that kindness is free. It is the first step toward unlocking that special chemistry, that primary beam of photons which spell recovery.

So what is enlightenment? You’ll have to discover that for yourself. I wish you many blessings creative universe – may you find health and joy on your spiritual journey…

Aaron Towle
Aaron Towlehttp://www.repdigest.com/
Aaron Towle is a Multimedia Artist living in Green Cove Springs, FL. He proudly served in the military as a journalist and now works as a developer in the Defense Contracting Industry. He is passionate about art, literature, and photography and looks to continue building his credentials as a professional writer. He currently produces an online publication called Reprehensible Digest, which explores the subtle dynamics between art and literature.

16 COMMENTS

  1. The inner search is a path of knowledge that allows us to become familiar with what we really are. A sort of “rediscover”, “re-knowing” what we are. It’s a journey, but it’s not a journey to distant lands, it’s more like going home.
    Everyone has their own way of making this journey. Personally, I believe that seeking moments of solitude allows one to focus and to understand one’s own path, one’s mission, to understand what is most suitable for oneself, to descend deeply into an ever more complete relationship towards everything: of life, of the people, things, situations. The same solitude that Jesus felt when he decided for forty days to isolate himself from everything and everyone by going to the desert, to be able to listen to his own inner voice, to really understand what his mission here on earth was. And for this I also believe that it is important to learn to be alone, to feel good in the company of oneself, to be able to travel in life with a trusted companion, who will never abandon us.

    • Thank you Aldo, I agree with your statements, and Jesus was probably the only one who could ever truly know himself from within. I think many of us strive for solitude, and we would like to search for the answers, but often we let things get in our way. Bills and responsibilities have gravity, and we fall into that sense of duty that prevents us from searching. In many ways, writing affords me that quiet place where I can exercise at least a few of those emotions, but it is certainly not a pure form of meditation. That is something we all need to master…

  2. Aaron, I enjoyed reading your article. It is heartfelt and thoughtful. Indeed we all have those moments of chaos where the jackhammers go non-stop. However, it is possible to come back from the chaos and find what I like to call a peaceful calm. Mine’s been MIA for a few weeks, but it’s par for the course this time of year for me.

    For me, exercise, writing, spending time with my husband and canine child, being outside in nature, and laughter with friends are some of the ways I find my enlightenment.

    Thank you for sharing this, and for ending your thoughts by shining light on kindness. You’re right, it costs us nothing, but it can mean the world to someone else. I love witnessing kindness, but even more, I enjoy giving it away also.

    On Sunday, my husband and I were at the market, which was super busy. We were in line with a cart full of groceries, but the gentleman behind us only had two butternut squash. I said to my husband that we should let the person behind us go ahead of us. He agreed. So, I told the gentleman to go ahead of us. I wish you could have seen the beam in his eyes. He was so thankful, and it felt great to extend that gesture.

    • Thank you so much Laura, I left a nice response to this on the LinkedIn side of things, but I will say that even I need to slow down and smell the roses on occasion. As a writer I tend to overthink and search for details that aren’t always there. I work hard for my wife and son, but sometimes I never give myself any breathing room… so I’m probably the last person who should be preaching enlightenment. Truth be told, I have learned that putting everyone else first is a beautiful sentiment, but you can’t forget to put yourself first on occasion. That is something I am working on… and so my own path toward enlightenment continues…

  3. Hi Aaron, I believe we have been witness to the outstanding creations that come from a time in solitude and peace – and you are a wonderful example of that. I agree that enlightenment is such an individualized journey for all. Your work on really exploring separating ourselves from daily life and having some type of nurturance for the soul feels so right and makes sense to me. I too am with you in offering prayers to those going through many varying circumstances. Your piece today so respects the experience of humankind. I so loved the message.

    • Thanks so much for the kind message Maureen. I believe we all have a greater responsibility to look within for solutions to problems, to find ways to heal ourselves instead of looking for snake oil solutions that only make things worse. Peace has to start in the heart before it can transform the soul. Anything that comes from the outside is not a proven commodity. How to get people to believe in their own souls first is the trick, and it all starts with an open mind… At least that’s how I see it in a nutshell. Always much more to the story, but that will be another rainy day. You take care my friend and see you in the next interesting discussion… ?

  4. Thank you so much for the reminder to create solitude for inner discoveries alongside much needed quiet. The practiced path of meditation and embodied mindfulness continue to source a life rich with blessings as I tend to reframe challenges quickly-to see all there is to be grateful for. Choosing to shut down the channels of toxicity in my life supports me immensely. i continue my news fast as well as being fairly focused in my relationship to social media (if the topic doesn’t intrigue me or inspire me I often scroll on by.) We can choose what we expose ourselves to-for the most part. We can choose practices that support our souls, bodies, hearts, and minds-and notice when we don’t. I appreciate you opening the conversation to lots of perspectives on what enlightenment is-how people actually experience this in their lives-how they would describe it. Contrasts allow us to find the paths of least resistance, greater freedom, peace of mind.

    • Thank you so much for the thoughtful insight Laura. I’d say there are so many ways in which we get distracted from the solitude we crave. Many people turn in the wrong direction when they are stressed. They tend to compound their problems with negative news, social media and various other sources of noise. None of this is healthy for the soul, it is nothing more than static. I am far from an expert, but I can clearly see how we drown ourselves with things that increase our stress hormones, things that prevent us from thinking clearly or reaching our peaceful center. I can say this because I have my own challenges dealing with noise. The difference is recognizing the symptoms and not letting the distractions control you. Enlightenment is different for each person, and so I find myself turning off the gadgets and devices from time to time. Writing is my own personal form of therapy. It helps me to reach my quiet place and that is where I can start each day over with peace of mind… You have an outstanding week ahead, and hopefully we will chat again. Many blessings…

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