Step 1. Observe yourself without judgment
Step 2. Forgive yourself and others.
Step 3. Accept what you observe.
Step 4. Love yourself unconditionally.
Step 5. Awaken from your dream.
Step 6. Celebrate life forever.
As Siddartha and many others have made clear for the past 2,500 years, “All life is suffering.” Fortunately, he and others offer ways to transcend this suffering. The way is meditation…not necessarily formal meditation…The form of meditation I endorse is informal. It is your daily life “as it is.”
At first, the Six-Step Path may seem simplistic. Actually, it is—we are complex. Aristotle was so right when he said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
My Six-Step Path begins with Observation, but not just any observation. This most important of all six steps is non-judgmental observation. With non-judgmental observation, you witness your own behavior with all its flaws and weaknesses that all humans possess.
For example, when you get angry, observe that anger. Focus your attention on it. Don’t judge it as either justified or wrong or any other qualifier. Simply see it as a behavior of yours. The more intense and often you focus your attention on your behavior, all your behaviors, without judgment, the more you will see these objectionable behaviors begin to wane. The more you see, the less they will be. As you get more familiar with your imperfect self, you will become, little-by-little, more forgiving of your real self.
This brings us to the second step in the Six-Step Path: That of Forgiveness. The degree to which you judge yourself is the degree to which you judge others. As you begin to lighten up and be more forgiving of yourself — your own flaws and weaknesses — your judgment of others will also become less frequent and less harsh. In time, this forgiveness of your self and others leads to step three of the Six-Step Path — Acceptance.
Once you can observe without judgment and forgive imperfections you naturally adopt an attitude of acceptance. To forgive and accept what you observe, in yourself and others, is the beginning of true spirituality, and, ultimately, enlightenment.
Living a non-judgmental life of observation, forgiveness and acceptance brings you to the fourth step in the Six-Step Path: Love. Unconditional love: love without conditions, for yourself and others. This is the true, and only, love that comes from our source, through us, to all life. This love IS our source (and us). At this point you are in sync with your source, no longer trying to control the world, just letting it be. In Zen, this is “life as it is.”
Living in this manner you will surely Awaken from your dream — your dream of separation from your source into a separate, ego-centered identity. Your awakening, also, called: satori, enlightenment, epiphany, etc. is twofold: First you know, down to your bones, that you are part of something greater than yourself. Next, you realize that you ARE that thing greater than yourself.
When this happens, you can’t help but want to Celebrate every moment of life for the miracle it is. The way to express this understanding is to serve others; for they are you. All life is one. Celebrate life forever.
As you progress (imagined) from being a fear-based, ego-centric part of the universal problem, you become an accepting, loving, part of the solution. Your self in search of itself has found itself in six steps. You are now back where you started but with the understanding of what it means to be, where you are: in the now.
Don and I have reviewed each other’s books, and I am one of the contributors to his Senior Wisdom – Valuable Life Lessons
He is also the author of the following books:
An End to Stress – spirituality and self-help
The Plague – sci-fi cautionary tale
The Side Job – a novel of a female assassin
The Writers Bloc Club – an anthology of prose & poetry
Near Death in the Gila National Forest – a memoir
Frosty the Soulman – an illustrated children’s book
He has written about spirituality and stress relief since 1971. Ten years successfully teaching his “Six-Step Path” at College of Central Florida Sr. Center, MTP College, and The Lifelong Learning College in The Villages, FL. He has taught his unique brand of meditation to over 2,000 people, who subsequently achieved a level of inner peace. He has taught his “Six-Step Path” for stress reduction for the past 12 years, at Del Webb and 3 local colleges.
He taught Art and/or Design at McNeese State University in Louisiana, East Carolina University in North Carolina, and Stanford University in California.
He and I are comrades in arms for creating a better world. He also makes the world a better place by regularly emailing funnies to a large mailing list.