Enlightenment must not be “me-centered.” It cannot be a commodity, as though it were the next thing to get in a long line of getting.
The world will not remember you for what you know, but for what you have contributed to the world. Is the world a better place because you are in it? Some people affect the world on a wide scale; others affect it through the work of their hands. Some have a profound influence on one or two people; others change the lives of millions.
But the keyword is “affect.” Simply garnering the adulation of millions is not really affecting the world. Instead, it is more of a distraction. It can actually delay a person’s progress, because while they are busy adulating you, they are doing nothing to make the world a better place.
Which are you? Are you out to get something, or are you out to give something? Do you see enlightenment as your personal crown of glory, the final and definitive proof of how important you are, or do you see it as a means by which you can do what you do better?
The Japanese are widely regarded as the best woodworkers in the world, followed closely by the Germans, but even the Japanese revere the American Shaker’s furniture making, cabinetry and architectural skills. The Shaker craftsmen’s motto was: “Hands to work, hearts to God.” Their craft was a living prayer, and the products of their hands are the embodiment of Spirit.
We don’t have to physically make things in order to bring Spirit into manifestation, but we do have to manifest Spirit in our lives if we are to think of ourselves as enlightened. A light bulb is not a light bulb until it glows. Otherwise, it’s just metal and glass. A chair is just pieces of wood stuck together until someone sits on it.
What are you?
In what ways do you facilitate the manifestation of Spirit in the world? In what ways do you allow God to use you to bring Heaven to Earth? What were you born to do? What lights you up? What is your bliss that Joseph Campbell advised us all to follow? If you “get” anything in this life, get the answer to these questions. If you need to, sell everything you own and buy this pearl, the Pearl of Great Price.