Enlighten Up, Seriously

“The first step towards true enlightenment is to lighten up on yourself.” - Bashar

Whether you’re on a quest for enlightenment or not, lightening up should not be some marginalized or extraneous activity. And if you are into broadening your perspective, you shouldn’t think of enlightenment in heavy terms like it’s a final destination or an answer.

All of us want a deeper sense of well being and that elusive quest is about opening up, experiencing more and taking on new questions. And playful curiosity (about the self and life) lies at the heart of all these activities. Key word, “play.”

Play is essential for life and it is not silly and not just for children. Author and psychiatrist Stuart Brown, MD, says play helps us make deep connections, cultivate healing and can lead us to “sacred spaces.” In fact, the National Institute of Play believes play, “unlocks the human potential... in all stages of life.” They believe it even has the power to transform the world through transforming education, inspiring corporate innovation and benefitting our health and relationships.

Playfulness is proven to host a myriad of health benefits. Lightening up means letting go of dwelling on the negative, which is known to create a cycle of depression and rumination since being negative leads to more negativity. Laughter, in particular, shuts down cortisol production and therefore can be credited for reducing stress. Once stress reduction comes into play, then the list of health benefits cascade into the picture -- granting gifts like better immunity and lessened pain.

Maybe this lightening up business is serious. So, seriously, when was the last time you listened to new music for fun, made art or engaged in a pleasant day dream?

Here are a few ways to lighten your daily load:

  • Accept yourself today with a childlike love for who you are at your core.
  • Find daily joy in something that you don’t own, like nature and friendship.
  • Be creative each day, in any way, so you can create a vibrant life.
  • Make space in your supposedly jam-packed, serious day to be quiet and listen to yourself and the world.
  • Focus on appreciating all your senses, every day -- smell the flowers, listen to the music, see the art, touch the leaves.
  • Take mindful pleasure in everything you get to do today -- even simple things like eating and sleeping and taking a deep breath of fresh air.

Lighten up to liberate yourself from the overly-serious doldrums of modern life. But don’t mistake lightening up for devaluing yourself or the world. It’s not about shrugging off your existence as insignificant and having another beer. Just the opposite.

Your life is, in fact, SO important that you cannot waste it fretting about taxes when you could walk in the woods with your loved ones. It’s about learning to play and be light like the universe itself. There will be storms, but mostly just weather, and you can play in all types of weather.

Rocky Lewis
Rocky Lewis