Feeling Stuck? Try Enlightenment!

In ancient times, only society’s elite had access to certain resources. You had to be royalty, or the equivalent, to own a cell phone or participate in higher education. Now that an ever-growing percentage of the population has cell phones and goes to college, communication and education are becoming available to everyone, and our cultural communities are evolving as a result.

Enlightenment is no different. Why should only a few people at the top of the spiritual pyramid have access to such an essential human experience? Enlightenment can be for everyone too. All you need to do is have high expectations for yourself and the people you counsel, and follow a few simple steps . . .

I’ll come back soon with more of the basics of enlightenment for counselors. In the meanwhile, keep sending me your questions about counseling, psychology, and human nature for me to answer in future blog entries: questions@interchangecounseling.com.

View Video Transcript
Feeling Stuck? Try Enlightenment!
Steve Bearman
October 18, 2011

Today I would like to offer you a simple and refreshing technique you can try when you or someone you are counselling is stuck on a problem. So, say you are working with somebody who is caught up and feeling angry all the time or anxious all the time and can’t seem to shake it or maybe they have some kind of big disappointment they have just gone through and they just can’t seem to get back in action or perhaps they are feeling like a victim about something that happened to them recently or in the distant past and no matter what work they have done on themselves that just doesn’t seem to go away and it gets in their way, so they are stuck or maybe it's you who is stuck. Here is what you do: try enlightenment. You’ll find that if you get enlightened, or get your client’s enlightened, everything changes: their perspective shifts, their ability to understand what's going on for them changes, their whole way of being in relation to the problem will be totally different. So it's simple, enlightenment is the answer. Now you may be thinking, “hey wait a minute Steve, enlightenment, isn’t that that sort of thing that it's almost like a super power, it's like you’ve got to be some kind of Yogi or a Zen Master and practice meditating in severe conditions for your entire life and then maybe if you get lucky enlightenment will be handed down to you magically from the heavens?” and that is in fact how lot of people think about enlightenment, but it's not true, enlightenment is something that is available to everybody and it's available now, there is no need to wait. So let's just say here we are together feeling stuck and what we would like to do is get enlightened. Here is how to do it, do this along with me. Take a moment first to pay attention to how you are breathing. Just let some consciousness and aware attention, follow your breath however it is that you happen to be breathing, this will help you get present, notice what you are sensing in your body and to be present to what's happening in the moment in the room around you, it's a good place to start. So I want to invite you to just take a moment and think about the world in your life and the circumstances of your life and see if you can allow everything that’s happening to be happening. Instead of resisting the world being the way it is can you just allow it to be exactly how it is as if nothing that’s happening is bad, there is nothing that should not be, there is just the world as it is and it's possible to be in a relationship with the world where you allow it to be how it is and that includes you being how you are. If you can allow every part of yourself, every feeling you feel to be okay then what that means is you stop resisting you being as you are; you can be okay right now already. So what we are doing is allowing things to be as they are and that’s another important step to take. If you can do that I want to invite you to do something else now. There is some way of being that you have tasted that you know about, that you have experienced in beautiful moments, in moments when you have cared for somebody else in a selfless kind of way, and moments when things have gotten quiet and simple. There is a part of you that you might think of as like your higher self, as your bigger self, it's a way of being that isn’t caught up in the details of the moments, that’s able to remember that there is a larger spiritual context behind ordinary reality and I want to invite you to occupy that self right now to allow that part of yourself to be who you are, to be your big self allowing the world to be as it is here in the present moment. This is the practice, this is it, it's actually this simple and the more we practice being our enlightened selves the more we get to bring that quality of enlightenment into everything that we do. So this is just an opportunity to practice being your enlightened self, and whatever it is that has been going on in your life that’s felt stuck, I want to invite you from this place to just take a look at it, to notice how you would like to be in relationship to it. Is there some way that you could be differently, is there some way that you maybe never need to return to how you used to be because when you stop and backup, zoom out and get present, when you get into your big self everything changes, you remember what you forgot that had you get caught up in the first place? So take some time here, you don’t need to stop when this video ends, but I would like to encourage you to have really high expectations of what's possible for you and for the people you counsel, it's possible to step outside ordinary reality, it's kind of what counselling is about, because a lot can happen here that can’t happen when we forget.

About the Author

Steve Bearman, Ph.D., earned his doctorate in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He founded Interchange Counseling Institute in 2002 and is the lead teacher of Interchange's San Francisco-based year-long counseling and coaching training. When he's not counseling people, leading workshops, and advocating for social justice, Steve climbs mountains, adventures in the urban wilderness, explores the edges and limits of what's possible, deconstructs everything, and finds new ways to put it all back together.