Understanding religion is an important part of conquering the world. Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone with a complete understanding of all the religions and belief systems of the world. However, there’s a lot of good stuff out there, and just because you aren’t ready to write a dissertation on it, it doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate it into your own ideas.
In Buddhism, there are Bodhisattvas, who are enlightened beings who choose not to enter Nirvana, so they can stick around and continue to help our world. This has always seemed reasonable enough to me. I’ve never met someone who I could tackle and yell, “This guy’s enlightened!” but I have met many people who seem further along the path to enlightenment than I.
For this scenario to be acceptable, it doesn’t matter if you believe in Heaven, or Nirvana, or if you are into slaughter and are hoping to end up in Valhalla. You don’t need to accept reincarnation as a fact- there’s a lot you can learn in one lifetime, and experience plays a significant role in your spiritual growth. You can be a Christian, and believe that Jesus of Nazareth was a Bodhisattva. Any of your typical Biblical prophets could be a Bodhisattva, in any religion with any Bible.
Granted, these are some weird ideas. I’m sure glad they don’t burn people for heresy nowadays. The truth is, I don’t really know how it works. If I did, I would invent an easier to spell word than Bodhisattva (nothing against Sanskrit, it has some very cool words and even cooler concepts) and call myself that. Like Frank. Or Bill.
Anyway, the point is, I’ve never met an enlightened being, but I believe they are somewhere in this world, spreading acts of compassion, and teaching. If they aren’t, it’s a bit depressing, but the rest of us could sure benefit from taking up the slack ourselves. In fact, it might even be better to assume they’re not out there, and to start acting a bit more enlightened right now. It wouldn’t hurt, unless, of course, our egos also increased to the point where we all demanded disciples.
There’s nothing wrong with that. But, there are only so many disciples, so there would have to be some sort of tier-system, & although I like organizing things, it would be a bear to implement. Although, click on the picture on the left to view a pretty awesome chart showing what Jesus’ Social Networking Chart might look like.
The book I’m reading right now, “A Ring of Endless Light” by Madeline L’Engle, who is was an excellent writer, quotes the adage “we should live each day as though we were going to live forever, and as though we were going to die tomorrow.” I’ve never been able to quite master it full time, but in the brief moments that I have, it’s pretty glorious.
Be aware that your time is finite, but be unafraid to live it with joyful intensity. Live how you want to be remembered, but (let’s be trite) remember to live.
Give enlightenment a shot. Let me know how it goes.
Cue Kashmir by Led Zeppelin: (This song always makes be feel badass and fearless of mortality.)