Enlightenment, a term often stemming from Hindu or Buddhist roots, is defined as the extinction of human suffering. Wow, that’s a tall order. Although when we sit down to actually consider this term, it’s merely an aspiration that can serve as a beacon to direct us in the direction that can be most effective for us.

Acclaimed author and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh says, “There is no enlightenment outside of daily life.”

This is what rings true most for me. He grounds the concept into something tangible, something we can all get our hands dirty with. At the end of many mindfulness-based groups that I run, I discuss how we can truly engage with becoming more present in our daily lives. A common objection with the concept of doing meditation is that “I simply don’t have the time or discipline.” Ok, fair enough. While it is suggested to make time for practice in order for it to seep more effectively throughout the day, we might ask, where are the spaces throughout the day to practice?

  • While driving a car in traffic, the common habit might be for thoughts and feelings of frustration to arise along with tension in the body. What would it be like to use red lights as reminders to just stop, check in with the mind and body, and intentionally choose to bring the focus to the breath and relax the body?
  • While waiting on hold with a company (e.g., phone, internet, computer, credit card, take your pick) that bounces you from one department to another can be a source of exponential irritation, what if you understood that it was a space during your day to practice being present, acknowledging your frustration, not judging it as good or bad, and bringing awareness to the sensations as they arise in the body. Notice what happens.
  • If you find yourself constantly rushing while walking from one place to the next, understand that is also a space where you might choose to walk slightly slower, bringing attention to the sensation of walking. You may even say to yourself, “breathing in, I calm my body, breathing out I relax” with every few steps.

There are so many opportunities in the day, so many spaces to weave in mindfulness to move in the direction of what some people might call “enlightenment” while others may simply call “peace of mind.”

Question: What are some other spaces you can think of that might be a place to stop, take a breath, and bring mindfulness to that moment to transform it from a moment of dis-ease to a practice to be present?

As always, share your thoughts, stories, and answer to this question below. Your interaction here provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.



View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 3 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.


From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (July 1, 2009)

From Psych Central's Dr. Elisha Goldstein:
Two Steps to Simply Living a Better Life | Mindfulness and Psychotherapy (May 5, 2010)

    Last reviewed: 1 Jul 2009

APA Reference
Goldstein, E. (2009). Where can You Find Enlightenment?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 5, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindfulness/2009/07/where-is-enlightenment-found/


Mindfulness & Psychotherapy

Subscribe to this Blog:

Or Get a Single, Daily Email (enter email address):

via FeedBurner



Books and CDs by Dr. Elisha Goldstein:
Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind

The Now Effect: How This Moment Can Change The Rest of Your Life
A Mindfulness-Based
Stress Reduction Workbook

Subscribe to this Blog:

Or Get a Single, Daily Email (enter email address):

via FeedBurner

Recent Comments
  • Monni: Last night I dreamed I had an elephant, a strong, an honourable friend that I loved dearly. After a time away,...
  • Lori: Acronyms are a favorite, especially the ones that help me live my best life (and ones I can remember!). I have...
  • Mrs. JR: I commend you on not only your advice but your strength! I too lost my husband of 34 years to the same...
  • Serena: Loved this. Concise and effective. Thanks :)
  • Brian: This quote is not from Rumi. If you do a search for it you will find many pages of where it is wrongly...
Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code

Users Online: 12240
Join Us Now!