Robert Thurman once said that the possibility of becoming a buddha was not in the realm of imagination for most westerners. The idea that one could be connected to everything, have unlimited awareness, and live in perfect joy in this society is so incomprehensible that people cannot move, seriously, toward the attainment of enlightenment.

This is an amazing statement, and somewhat factual, considering that most acts cannot be accomplished if a person can not visualize them, sit with them, think them over, and imagine them. If it is beyond the point of imagination there will be no movement. The imagination is the doorway. It is the first step on the journey to attainment of a thought, idea, or goal. Without this first step the effort and will power to attain the goal will never be set into action and the goal not attained.

It is also somewhat frightening that many people in our society can't imagine something closely related to what Thurman said, that we are already the Buddha . The idea that we are beautiful beings who are connected to everything and extensions of God and universe doesn't set well. People nod and say yes, but they don't really believe it. The mystics have said that we are that beauty which we seek by whatever name, but our society has conditioned us not to believe this. Instead we are constantly monitoring ourselves, looking for evidence of perfection, or at least evidence of being better than others, as we perform the way we were told we should all of our lives.

We are told that we should never be satisfied. Satisfaction means death because it stops of from progressing and makes us complacent. If this is the case, the underlying, shadow side of such an idea is that we should stay dissatisfied. How can we live a fulfilled life when we set ourselves up, constantly, to be dissatisfied? How can we be happy when our loyalties are divided between our selves—the true Self, and the self we are told that we should be; a self so deeply implanted in our subconscious that we cannot escape it without much effort? The answer to all of these questions is to do the one thing that we have been told we shouldn't: we should be satisfied with ourselves fully and completely right now.

There are many exercises and practices that some of us do to accomplish this task. Tai-Chi, Yoga, Chi-gong, meditation, the arts are just a few. They move us beyond our egos and bring us into awareness with the greater universe around us. They teach us to accept ourselves where we are in the moment. If we are not careful, however, the external ideas about the need to perform will even manifest themselves in these practices. We will feel that we are not doing these practices well enough. Based on the performances set up for us by the society in which we live, or the internalized, critical voice of that society, we will begin to not enjoy those things either, or use them to entrench the idea that we are better than others and unique instead of obliterating them. That is why it is important to pay attention to what we are taking in.

There are thousands of books on spirituality and modalities of various, physical practices coming out on just about every subject. They tell us what we should do, what we should think, how we should move, what we should expect. If they don't tell us they show us pictures of people who look like gymnasts doing Yoga, or very thin, young or old people doing Tai-chi, they uphold the great celebrated artists who have been embraced as the best by our culture. They tell us that we should be someone else or get the message across in more subliminal ways. We should be better. We are not enough. Be dissatisfied. I say be satisfied. As soon as you are satisfied you will find that you have arrived at a life full of successes.

When you are satisfied you will have the strength and wisdom to begin to dismantle all of those thoughts and seeds of unworthiness buried in the subconscious and watered, every day, by the media and most institutions. When these negative voices are gone you will find the joy that is already there. The joy that is natural within the human being. You will find the Buddha, or the awakened being within and realize that it is you, and always have been. You are the awakened one and the supreme being you have been searching for wrapped in a human ego consisting of thoughts, ideas, fantasies, imaginations and desires placed in you long ago by a society that has lost its way. It lost its way when it decided that performing, or doing, was more important than being because being took too much time.

“What is the difference between doing and being?” you may ask. When you do art it is mechanical. It is not uplifting. It is not an expression of who you are, but a collection of techniques learned from others. When you are an artist every creation comes from the essence of your being and your art is a gift of God even if you have never taken one art lesson. You are the art. Art lessons, in this case, will help you express more of who you are. Art lessons in the previous case will help you express more of who other people are.

Author's Bio: 

Om Prakash (John Gilmore) is a Writer, Lecturer, Spiritual Workshop Leader and Life Coach. He has done extensive writing on Practical Spirituality and spiritual techniques for a better life. For more information and a calendar of his workshops and speaking engagements visit us at: