Swenson on enlightenment: Leave things better than you find them

David Swenson breaks up today’s Guru Purnima theme by posting about the ever-illusive idea of enlightenment.

He begins with a joke that should be familiar to Confluence attendees (and perhaps those who have taken a workshop with him):

A student once asked me: Are you enlightened? 
My answer: If I am it is a big disappointment!

David then provides a thorough, but also simple and short, definition of “being enlightened”:

Expanding upon that definition we could say that the truly enlightened individual is one that is grossly absorbed in the activities and duties of their daily life. Living to the fullest extent their true purpose. With such enlightened activities as getting their children dressed and ready for school. Approaching their job and all actions and encounters that each day has to offer with the greatest of integrity and presence. If truly enlightened the individual does not need to disengage from apparently mundane activities but rather every action becomes an expression of a truly deep understanding of the eternal spiritual nature of all beings and the common inner-connection we all share through the thread of spirit that permeates the fabric of life.

Laying things out simply and clearly definitely is one hallmark of David’s teaching; Bobbie’s been looking through his essential instructional manual lately, and it is remarkably clear, even when describing some of the more tricky parts of the asana practice. (I.e. you get into that pose how?) He brings that same clarity to this post.

He also asks a very telling question at its end. But you’ll have to check it out to find out what it is.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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