There are many widely-circulated opinions about what enlightenment is, what it should be, what it looks like when we do things right.

And clearly, based on social media posts and blogs, proper awakening includes blissful focus on sunsets, dolphins, flowers, love and keeping calm no matter what.

Forests, ocean, butterflies, kittens playing, children laughing- yes that's it right there.

Oh the beauty, the beauty.

There’s probably no one alive who wouldn’t mind having bunches more of any of that.

And yet…..

Crying children, cruelty, poverty, hunger, blood, dying species, hatred, pain, mess, agitation, self-hate...

Um… not so beautiful. Not enlightened. Not consciousness.

We say no.

Even though... there’s so very much of it.

What’s up with that? That’s not how things should be.

Clearly we humans are doing life all wrong.

Better Keep Calm and Carry On till we get things right, or we'll remain ego-bound, non-enlightened, missing-out-ers forever.  

How ‘bout we fix this mess with meditation, workshops on healing emotional wounds, therapy, inquiry.

And yet….

Maybe we've missed something.

Because, is consciousness only about beauty?  

Does it make sense that consciousness would include only happy, calm, wise Buddhas and not triggered, none-too-bright family members? No pain, no anger, no fear or tears?

Does awareness not include any of that non-beauty stuff?

Maybe awareness has made a mistake.

Or…

Maybe consciousness is just as happy to be aware of suffering as it is of love.

Why wouldn’t it be?

What benefit would there be to awareness to experience only smiles and not sobs too?

Take away the human judgment of right or wrong, (an evaluation no other species is afflicted with) and we might discover that consciousness is just as open to being conscious of horror as it is of laughter.  

Then every experience, every feeling, every thought, is totally equal. Fear is equal to love. Rage is equal to calm. Lying is equal to silence or truth.

Because simply based on the enormous amount of evidence over millions of years, existence has plenty of room for both ugly and beauty.

Which means we’re not doing this life thing wrong after all.

Whether in pain and traumatized, or calm and laughing with joy, no matter what is being experienced,

we can’t help but do it perfectly.

What a relief- It's all equal.

So pain is beauty too.

Not as in, “Yes give me more suffering!”  

But if we can consider that whatever does show up is all part of an aware experience, then we might carry on, living the same life, just without the overlay of, “No no no, this is not right!”

And without condemnation for being wrong, broken, or unenlightened.

Meanness and kindness, joy and rage, suffering and bliss.

All included, welcome, taken in as is.

Accepting. Experiencing. Existing. Conscious. Aware.

Wow.

Oh the beauty.


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