"You know I consider myself lucky. I found myself a long time ago. And I'm grateful for that...It really just means being comfortable in your own skin. That's all enlightenment is, isn't it? The Buddhists can do their crazy calisthenics, their marathons of silence and ritual bullshit, but at the end of the day if someone's happy in their own skin, that's the Buddha. People think they need that perfect job or perfect inspiration or perfect spiritual practice but all anyone wants or needs is peace of mind." ---The Empty Chair by Bruce Wagner

This quote reminds me of how hard we make the process of enlightenment. Often, it's with us far more than we imagine. We look here and there, do austerities, and all the time it's in the moment. We pass up moments. Moments of awe, gratitude, wonder surrounding and drenching us. It's the drenching part, I believe, that frightens us. We want, even crave, peace of mind, being content in our skin; but, so often our healthy desire is from a distance.

People come in for depth psychotherapy and say they feel they're jumping out their skin. It's anxiety. It's the everyday crazies. It's as though we crave peace of mind, but find ourselves colluding with uptight, anxious, crazy ways of living. Dreams are taken over by bugs. We say we're buggy, jumpy, jittery.

We're jumping out of our skin because we need to be out of our skin. The old ways don't work anymore. They need to be shed. The rigid ashram Buddhas, old plastic Jesus, deities of dogma be gone! Human skin, deep psyche, flesh and blood and bone, passion, caring, dreams and visions are the stuff of enlightenment, the peace of mind that makes us comfortable in our own, new, skin!

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Comment by Katherine Sternlieb PsyD, RN on January 18, 2014 at 12:23pm

Sometimes it can take a long time to feel comfortable in our own skin and I think that when we are ready to be comfortable, when we have grown and looked at ourselves, then we can have that tranquil and joyous feeling of being comfortable in our skin...I bring myself back to "the moment" when I drift into different thoughts. I think it's simplistic but so true to appreciate what lies before us at a particular moment in time.


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