Enlightenment, conflicting desires and emotional growth

We all have conflicting desires. We all sometimes have desires or emotions that may go against our core beliefs or highest held ideals. We’re all hypocrites. At least in thought, if not in action. The sooner we accept that about ourselves and each other the sooner we can evolve as individuals and therefore as a collective.
Enlightenment is a red herring, a fake out, a wild goose to chase down a hierarchical, path that paradoxically requires you to see there is no better or worse to be better than you were. At least my perception of the general misunderstanding of the the terms enlightenment. The real work happens every day after the enlightening experiences, when you want to remember nothing matters in a universe of infinite fractals but this person right now is costing you time or money or patience. It’s emotional work, it’s learning to forgive yourself and others within this highly convincing illusion.
But we are restricted, because what I am speaking of regarding the words “enlightening” and “enlightenment” are quite different from how the words may have originally been intended by those translating Buddhist texts. I will not attempt to define “nirvana”.
But enlightenment. I can discuss some contrasting interpretations.
Whether that is an enlightened state where you understand something of the fundamental nature of reality or a state of inner peace where duality and negativity no longer register – it’s not a final destination.
The word is loaded so I replace it with a phrase – inner peace.
I would never describe myself as enlightened, far from it, I am plagued by unanswerable questions of an inquisitive mind, over-sensitivity to most of western modern culture and insecurities related to all of the above, but I have had both moments of clarity where the fractal nature of reality was made clear. And I have had periods of inner peace. They have both been followed by periods of confusion, depression or anger later down the line.
But both study and experience have reminded me of the zen phrase – “before enlightenment, chop wood and fetch water. After enlightenment, chop wood and fetch water.”
Do the work. The real work is seeing the dark things your mind does sometimes and wants sometimes and loving yourself anyway. The real work is feeling those desires but listening to your heart. And that doesn’t happen in a flash of enlightenment in a tipi or on a mountain, it takes practice. It takes facing situations that could piss you off and maintaining inner peace. It’s a process, not a destination.
I’m still learning ways in which I am and have been a hypocrite. And I’m still learning ways to love myself despite them.
Love yourself.

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