This is not the enlightenment that spiritual masters speak about, but the enlightenment of a moment, a moment that brings to light something that has been deeply hidden in the dark recesses of your mind.

Shadow of child and father reflected in ocean
Shadows of what we learn as a child can reflect in our actions as an adult.

So often we allow an idea, a perception, to become a reality, etched in the stone of survival. Unless we are able to shed light on these perceptions, usually adopted at a young age and then never scrutinized again, we are governed by them without any knowledge of why. Even the taunting of childhood, “Men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses” and the like can become self-fulfilling if internalized deeply enough.

Yesterday I presented my ideas on the job I do and how it could be made better, to the manager of the store. I have never, in my entire adulthood had a conversation with a manager at any job I’ve had. I’ve never presented ideas on how things could be made better or told them something wasn’t working, but I did yesterday. You know what? I am still alive to talk about it.

Many of you are probably thinking, “Well, duh!” For me, it was a lightbulb moment (after the fact). You see, my father was a bigwig executive with a local grocery chain. He was very old school. The boss speaks, you jump. He could make an employee feel like a worm with just a few words. He was not a terrible man, just very demanding with his employees. However, this is the image I had etched into my stone of survival. If you want to survive and not be roasted alive, don’t rock the boat, do as you’re told, and keep your mouth shut.

After my talk with my manager, who, by the way, is a great person, listened to me and acknowledged my ideas and even shared a few of his dreams for my position, as well, I had the enlightenment. I realized that my entire adult life I’ve been terrified of talking to anyone in authority because I expected them to treat me like my dad treated his workers.

I almost perpetuated the illogical idea, because I almost chickened out of talking with him. I had to wrestle with my inner child to allow me to speak. I’ve had several enlightening moments recently, where very old concepts have been brought to light. It is so enlivening to let go of a “rule” of life and replace it with something more truthful, something more adult, something more life-sustaining.

Almost all of us, and probably all of us, have some ways we respond to situations that we decided at an early age would keep us safe. Adults were much bigger and stronger, they knew more about how the world worked, so we accepted that we were the ones that were wrong and adapted. These adaptations worked at the time, they kept us safe as a child, but when we aren’t aware of them governing our adult life they can wreak havoc. It is our job, as an adult, to look at how we interact with others, in various situations. When we find one that isn’t working for us, we need to seek out the deep recesses of our minds and rewrite the stone of survival with new more up to date and useful concepts. Sometimes it takes a moment like yesterday to even bring the outdated modus operandi to our conscious mind so that we can choose a new way of living that is more life-enhancing.

I would like to challenge each of you to scrutinize situations and relationships that aren’t working for you and see if there isn’t some old concept controlling your actions that could be replaced with something more advantageous.

Featured Photo by Artem Sapegin on Unsplash
Article Photo by Steve Shreve on Unsplash

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