4 Ways to Deal with The Elusiveness of Enlightenment

“All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.” ~ Spinoza

In the beginning, as in the end, enlightenment attracts precisely because enlightenment eludes.

This is all the more reason to allow the journey to be the thing. But it’s easier said than done. For the journey toward enlightenment can be one hell of a painful rollercoaster ride.

Filled with sinister abysses and soul-crippling crossroads; challenging dark nights of the soul and uncomfortable thresholds. The journey can hurt like hell, especially once you realize that enlightenment can never truly be achieved; and the best you can hope for is to discover an imaginative and open-minded sense of humor.

enlightenmentThe secret, beyond having a good sense of humor and allowing the journey to be the thing, is to embrace the pain experienced along the way as one might embrace a teacher or a guide.

A cruel teacher, sure. A harsh guide, no doubt. But that’s what it takes to improve oneself, to individuate, to self-actualize, to self-overcome. That’s what it takes to become enlightened.

Most people would probably rather bypass the blaze and go straight to being golden. They’d rather skip the rub and simply become a pearl, or forgo the pressure and somehow become a diamond, or waive off the sharpening and go straight to being sharp.

But the path toward enlightenment isn’t having any of that “easy road” nonsense. It’s not the path toward enlightenment because it’s easy. It’s the path to enlightenment because it’s difficult. If you’re on it, then you already know that this is the case.

If you have yet to begin walking it, then you’re in for one hell of a rude awakening; for the forge, the rub, the pressure, and the sharpening will test your mettle like nothing else ever has.

Let’s take a look at how we can deal with the elusiveness of enlightenment ~

Surrender to the forge

“Heroes are meant to be forged golden from the blaze.” ~ Nikita Gill

The crucible of life is going to test you anyway. You might as well learn from it. Let it burn you. Then rise from the ashes with a Phoenix heart.

The critical difference between being on the path and not being on the path is this: those who are on the path are hyper-aware of the crucible and what it has to teach.

When you are on the path, you are a comfort-zone-stretcher par excellence. You brazenly take leaps of courage. You are not afraid of “jumping into the fire.” Because you are fire. You are the blaze.

Your surrender, albeit painful, is a surrender into yourself. Fire plus fire equals greater fire. Pain is mere kindling. Nothing burns brighter than pain, and you have the courage and the wherewithal to own it.

Embrace the rub

“The pearl is also always grit, an irritation as well as a luster.” ~ James Hillman

Nothing takes more grit than putting one foot in front of the other on the path toward enlightenment, especially considering the fact that enlightenment will always be elusive.

As grit, your grit will come in handy when it comes to withstanding the rub. The rub is the Great Mystery’s way of polishing you into a pearl.

The cosmos is your oyster, massaging you into greatness with each irritating, painful, uncomfortable rub. Nothing is more difficult, yet nothing is more enlightening.

With enough cosmic rubbing you begin to realize that you are not just a speck in the universe, you are the entire universe in a speck. And suddenly your hard-earned luster has all been worth it.

As Rumi famously stated, “If you’re irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?”

Encourage the pressure

“The obstacle is the path.” ~ Zen proverb

Without pressure, how will you know your capacities? Without a challenge, how will you know what you are capable of accomplishing? Pressure keeps you circumspect through the vicissitudes of life. It keeps your body healthy, your mind sharp, and your soul calibrated.
enlightenment art e1543586090213
There are ways to smooth out the clumsy kinks, the ignorant delusions, and holier than thou mindsets that creep up along the path. And they all require pressure.

As with all diamonds, pressure is needed to polish them. Not comfort, not security, not safety, but pressure. So it goes also for the rough diamond of the soul. Pressure is needed to smooth out the edges. To make it more robust, more antifragile.

Indeed. It’s pressure that transforms the coal-black demon, buried inside you, into a diamond-backed ally, rallying beside you. Even the Shadow (probably especially the Shadow) is not immune to Pressure’s enlightening nudge.

Submit to the sharpening

“If on your journey, you should encounter God, God will be cut.” ~ Hatori Hanzo, Kill Bill

There is more wisdom in an inch of hard-earned scar than in a mile of easily-gained knowledge.

As long as the wound doesn’t kill you, there is the potential for great wisdom hidden within. There is pain there, sure, but it’s the kind of pain that sculpts a heart into wholeheartedness. That carves a mind into open-mindedness. That sharpens a soul into a thing sharp enough to cut God.

Your sacred wounds are the deep scars you earned from being raked over the coals of life. They keep you awake and aware to the process of becoming who you authentically are.

They keep you courageous in your vulnerability and vigilant in not allowing inauthentic invulnerability to dull your hard-earned shine. In short: they keep you antifragile and meta-flexible to the difficulty of the journey.

Submitting to the sharpening is being okay with the fact that you will receive many sacred wounds along the path toward enlightenment.

It’s surrendering to the Philosopher’s Stone and the alchemical process of transforming the dull, leaden, heavy, codependent, unenlightened you of yesterday into the sharp, golden, lighthearted, interdependent, enlightened you of tomorrow.

Image source:

Art by Cameron Gray
Artwork-1 by Hannah Faith Yata
Artwork-2 by Hannah Faith Yata

Newsletter Signup

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and get the latest updates straight in your inbox!

Please share, it really helps! :) <3

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Latest for Members

You May Like

7 Buddhist Koans and Their Meanings

Buddhist koans also called Zen Koans are a guiding light in the darkness of life. They have been used for centuries by Zen teachers...

The Path of the Sacred Warrior: Where Hero and Healer Converge

“It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.” ~ Zen parable The garden is a metaphor...

Walking the Labyrinth to Encounter Your Inner Monster

The Labyrinth is one of the oldest symbols of humanity and linked to the ancient culture of Goddesses, believed to be the oldest religion...

The Middle Path: Life in Balance and How to Balance Yours

Have you spent time ever pondering about what the meaning of life is? What about the kind of life we're living? Robin Hill Sr....

The Myth of Normalcy and How to Break Free

“Reason: the rust of our vitality. It is the madman in us who forces us into adventure; once he abandons us, we are lost.”...

How can Roadblocks Lead you to Your True Self?

“Your conflicts, all the difficult things, the problematic situations in your life are not chance or haphazard. They are actually yours. They are specifically...

For Members

Spider Medicine: The Magic Elixir of Storytelling

“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of...

Freedom Without Adjectives: The Marriage of Anarchy and Fallibilism

“Our highest truths are but half-truths. Think not to settle down forever in any truth. Make use of it as a tent in which...

Mythos and Ethos: A Hero’s Journey

"When you see a new trail, or a footprint you do not know, follow it to the point of knowing." ~ Sioux Proverb Mythology has...

A Guide to Wellbeing: 25 Spices from your Kitchen that can be used to Treat Common Ailments

“Until fairly recently, every family had a cornucopia of favorite home remedies--plants and household items that could be prepared to treat minor medical emergencies,...

9 Meditations to Bring You Back Into the Light

“However beautiful and however enchanting an experience you come to, you are not it. You are the one experiencing it.” ~ Osho To those who...

Kairos and the Metamorphosis of the Gods

“A mood of universal destruction and renewal has set its mark on our age. This mood makes itself felt everywhere, politically, socially, and philosophically....

Releasing the Wounds of the Divine Feminine to Enter our 5D Reality: For Women and Men

"Man is not the enemy here, but the fellow victim" ~ Betty Friedan As spring arrives in the Northern hemisphere you can always sense it....

McGee’s Guillotine: Beheading the Irrational

"To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day." ~ Lao Tzu McGee’s guillotine is an addendum to Occam’s...

Four Steps to Take When your Heart has Gone Numb

“Traumatized people... often become expert at ignoring their gut feelings and in numbing awareness of what is played out inside. They learn to hide...

The Art of Value without Attachment

Spirituality seems to have a stigma attached to it that has undoubtedly turned many people in today's modern world off from exploring it in...

4 Old School Parenting Tactics Conscious Parents are Breaking The Mold on

"A conscious parent is not one who seeks to fix her child, or seek to produce or create the 'perfect' child. This is not...

Deep Diving into the Seven A’s of Healing

I recently had the chance to read Gabor Maté's When the Body Says No. Gabor Maté has decades of experience as a physicist, and...