So you seek enlightenment? You keep trying, but life seems to be about lessons to be learned – albeit one after another and yet: Has anything really changed? Are you finding it difficult to keep up with the latest (fashionable) New Age therapy? The big question remains: what is the purpose of it all? Change begins with you, within your mind, because of your beliefs and how aware you are of their effects on your life. Only by consciously applying consistent effort, in a disciplined and genuine manner, and by being alert to changes and feelings does ‘spiritual development’ take place. In this way, a more aware state of living is achieved.
Change is constant, so accept it! As humans (or, if you prefer, part consciousness manifest in a human body), we are emotional beings. We learn through emotional experiences, so embrace them. The lessons will not stop, as long as you are alive. Enlightenment does not mean a non-chaotic state of being, as that is the nature of the state of existing. But the manner and degree in which you relate and react emotionally will change, bringing about greater harmony and more contented living.
The way we react emotionally to change and experience develops our understanding and gives us wisdom. This process dictates our blueprint for change, or spiritual evolution. This is how consciousness evolves. That is Karma. Let’s consider the definition of consciousness for a moment. The Concise Oxford Dictionary (1987) says: ‘Consciousness: state of being conscious; totality of a person’s thoughts and feelings, or a class of these (moral consciousness, stream of consciousness); perception (of, that)’. In his lecture on ‘Spirituality and Commonsense’, Keith Casburn says; “Chaos does not stop no matter how much understanding you have. You are not immune from anything, none of us are.
The understanding that we gain allows us to have a perspective. That can be comforting. Because you know you are not alone, you know you have a common denominator between you and absolutely everybody else. That their experience is your experience, is their experience.“It is terribly simple, but very hard. The reason it’s hard is because we feel emotionally we need to relate to it. Emotions are important, because it is our identity. But what is our identity? What are we identifying with? Register the feelings, register the emotions; maybe we do not need to push them out into the world, maybe we do not need them mirrored back. Maybe we can do that ourselves.
“Spirituality is reading a book, eating a meal, having an argument. Spirituality is going through divorce, giving birth to a child. Spirituality is swimming in the sea, staying in a luxury hotel, staying in the YMCA. Spirituality is living and breathing.”
Positive changes come about as a result of a continuous drip effect of having the ability or allowing ourselves to acquire new perspectives with every experience, good and bad. With understanding comes wisdom. With wisdom, consciousness evolves. As we evolve, we are more in command though not in control of our lives. Reading books, attending development courses, or getting psychic readings will only work if your mind is flexible enough to accept and understand new concepts and truths about yourself.
Holistic Living and Karma
Through understanding, we are able to detect patterns of behaviour, and to have the courage to admit to ourselves that there is a non-productive loop of behaviour or pattern – causing a rut. Only then are we able to assimilate this newly acquired knowledge and put it into action at every level of our daily living so that it influences our lives. That is holistic living.
Karma is more than what we are born with. It is also the actions we take – in other words, how we manage our lives. Otherwise, the only thing we would be acquiring is a dependence on courses and a pseudo state of New Age living!
A high IQ is worthless if we lack the ability to apply knowledge in our lives. The ability to understand has little to do with intelligence. A simple person may understand and grasp life’s mystery more easily than one with a complex intelligent mind. Remember Forrest Gump?
Daniel Goleman, in “Emotional Intelligence”, pointed out that there are a series of “intelligences” and that emotional intelligence is more critical in terms of success in life than IQ. The down side of a high IQ is a predilection – unknown to its owner to set up barriers to understanding, masking them as intellectual exercises. This is known as analysis and over analysis.
Yet, during this complex process, a simple but bold truth seems to be always ignored: the frequency of analysis does not change the nature of what is being analysed! In his book Psycho Electronics, Raymond Tallis writes: “‘Complexity’ is not an intrinsic feature of certain states and arrangement of matter. No one bit of matter has a right to be thought of as intrinsically more complex than any other. Complexity is in the eye of the beholder and it reflects our ability, or more precisely our inability, to comprehend the object in question”.
This seems to explain the myriad of final analyses (otherwise known as excuses), which I have come to hear from ‘seekers of enlightenment’ and those who claim to be ‘spiritually aware’: “I am stuck in a rut at the moment. It’s one hurdle after another it’s not meant to be. This hex over me does not seem to lift. Why is it always me? It’s not me, it’s Mercury – still retrograde. I have done that course, or have read that book and got nothing out of it. Does it never end? I am a perfectionist, that I why it is not done yet, etc.”
But, the ‘number one’ statement that makes me cringe is: ‘It’s my karma!’ No, it is not. It’s worth noting here that Karma literally means action in Sanskrit. The sum of a person’s actions is what is viewed in Buddhism and Hinduism to dictate ‘fate’. Actions are a result of our perceptions and understanding of knowledge we acquire as we go through life’s emotional experiences. Willingness to understand is essential to the evolutionary process and results from having an open mind. We react to impetus at the level it is given and not by taking what happens in our lives personally against us- as though we had nothing to do with it, as if the universe is personally against us!
Knowledge implies responsibility, making our lives the direct consequence of our actions. Not many people are willing to accept this. Taking responsibility is the first step to positive change and spiritual, or emotional, evolution. Having an open mind comes about through being aware, and staying alert to changes in our emotional state without fitting them into an already restricted personal context, or frame of reference.
Recognise what you feel, but do not analyse it. Have the courage to stay true to your self by acknowledging any ‘rut’ your life, and recognising that you can change that by altering your core beliefs about you and your life. From my experience, the process of dismantling barriers requires consistency, continuity and commitment. Many people continue hold to beliefs which they know are negative because they are afraid of change and also because there is comfort in the ‘devil you know’. This is not karma, nor the fault of your parents, nor the position of the new moon last Wednesday, nor the fact that you walked under a ladder, or broke a mirror. If you really want to be a different person change your beliefs. That can be the hardest thing you will ever do.
I have found Susan Jeffers’  books of immense help in facing and changing beliefs, particularly, ‘Feel the Fear and do it Anyway’. You might also add to your reading list Louise Hay’s You can Heal Your Life  another encouraging read. She even suggests holding a mirror while looking into your own eyes as you say your new affirmations – how prepared are you to do that? If you choose not to do your ‘homework’, or if that does not appeal to you; that is also fine! Perhaps you might think of taking up a new activity, golf or gardening – that appears to have nothing to do with self-development. Because the ways of the universe are limitless, some activity like that can itself lead to change. Follow your intuition, but be honest to yourself!
Once you are emotionally secure within yourself, the need to emotionally react to and control experiences diminishes. Accept that you are not the centre of the universe but rather an essential speck in it. Accept that the universe just is. It does not get personal, we do. It is your responsibility to modify outdated beliefs and replace them by practical understanding. To put it simply, if you do not like your movie, rewrite the script!
© Sahar Huneidi 2003
 Spirituality and Common Sense, by Keith Casburn, 1996 taped lectures are available from The College of Psychic Studies, London, UK.
‘Holism: tendency in nature to form wholes that are more than the sum of the parts by ordered grouping; so holistic’-The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English, 1987.
 Daniel Goleman – Emotional Intelligence, published Bloomsbury, London 1996
 Raymond Tallis – “Psycho Electronics”
 Susan Jeffers – Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway: How to Turn Your Fear and Indecision into Confidence pub. Rider 1997
 Louise Hay – You Can Heal Your Life