Enlightenment is a funny thing.
Sometimes it comes over you in a slow, beautiful way—like a flower opening, revealing the truth in gentle, colourful segments.
And then other times, it hits you over the head with a shovel.
Trust me. This is a good thing.
We all need a good whack if we're headed in the wrong direction for too long.
But did I ever tell you about the time enlightenment snuck up on me in the form of a cat?
Then let me start at the beginning.
I'd just had words with my sweetheart.
Suddenly we were on opposite teams, white knuckled and rigid, stuck in our need to be right.
I left the house, seething.
Why couldn’t he see things my way?
Why was he so selfish?
I walked and fumed, allowing my thoughts to travel down an old familiar road of self-pity and loss.
I’ll never be understood.
Men just don’t get it.
Relationships are too hard.
It’s hopeless. I’ll never be happy in love.
Once the wheels of my mind slipped into this rut, I was caught.
The heartache was almost unbearable.
My story was so familiar, it actually felt like the truth.
And when the mind thinks it’s found THE TRUTH, it stops looking for options.
That’s what happens with our brains. Patterns of thinking develop over time and if they’re not questioned, they become habits that cut us off from all the creative possibilities available to us.
I was so deep in the groove of my old story, I couldn’t see any alternative routes.
So I just kept walking, barely seeing the sidewalk.
And then suddenly, there wasn’t any sidewalk at all. Only dirt and grass.
I looked up and saw an old, weathered stairway leading down a steep hill.
Come to me, it said. And I did.
And that’s when I saw him—a large Tom, crouched on the railing—preparing to launch himself into the tall grass below.
His concentration was so lethal, so primal, that I instinctively froze, forgetting everything else.
Then, just like that, he sprung off the edge—stretching his body out to its full length, as he plunged down into the grass.
I held my breath.
At first there was nothing but silence.
Then, a terrible, high-pitched squeal.
He's got something!
I watched as he leapt up through the grass—a struggling mouse in his mouth.
Within seconds he was back on the stairs, right beside me, crunching through bone and fur.
I had never seen anything like it before in my life. An honest-to-God kill, played out live at my feet.
That's when I noticed . . .
All the thoughts that had made me feel worthless and unloved were gone.
I wasn’t in pain anymore.
The life and death struggle between the cat and the mouse had snapped me out of my victimization and into the present moment.
And just like that, I was free.
I continued on down the stairs with a profound sense of gratitude.
I could see everything around me.
The trees. The squirrels. The magpies. The bushes of wild roses.
It was such an incredible, beautiful day.
My heart began to open again. My whole body felt light and energized.
I felt surrounded by love.
And I knew, in that moment, that nothing had gone wrong between me and my sweetheart.
The problem wasn't with him. The problem was with my story about him.
And here's the great lesson.
Thoughts are just thoughts!
They're not the gospel truth.
And any thought that causes suffering needs to be questioned.
So the next time you get stuck in an old, painful story, pay attention.
Are your thoughts wandering the back alleys of the past, gathering evidence to support their argument?
Is your story helpful? Does it bring you peace?
If not, poke at it a little bit.
Because every time you question a habit of thought, you weaken it’s grip.
That's how you create new paths to the land of possibility.
That’s how you get yourself out of the ditch and back on the stairs of enlightenment.
And here's how you'll know that you're there . . .
You’ll feel better.
The right path always, ALWAYS feels like freedom.
And why would you want to walk anywhere else?
Sending you so much love,