If Only God Would Give Me a Sign!  A Bad Case of Enlightenment Envy… or How I Moved Past Seekerďż

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by Linda M. Potter

One of my favorite movies is the Nora Ephron 1989 classic, When Harry Met Sally. It’s the movie with the famous deli scene that gave birth to one of the most memorably funny movie lines of all time, “I’ll have what she’s having”— an order request from a female patron after witnessing Sally in the throes of what appeared to be orgasmic bliss.

Who wouldn’t want what she was having? She was enjoying some kind of peak experience—who wouldn’t want one of those? Never mind that Sally was faking it. That didn’t really matter. Her performance was convincing enough to send even the most casual observer into ecstasy envy.

It reminds me a little of that awe and longing we often feel when we encounter someone who we believe has had a transformational spiritual experience of some kind — a spontaneous healing, a financial windfall, a career achievement, a dream relationship. We rarely know that person’s path, their experience, or whether or not they’re “faking it.” And none of that matters anyway. What does matter is that we’re immediately afflicted with ecstasy envy, or, more accurately in this setting, Enlightenment Envy. We want what they’re having!

In my job as a writer and editor, I’ve had the great honor of interviewing many spiritual rock stars. Listening to their accomplishments and the impact they’ve had on…well…the whole world, it’s easy to come up short if I start playing the Enlightenment Envy comparison game.

After a life-changing interview with Ram Dass late last year, followed by a conversation with Wayne Dyer a couple of months later, I jokingly said to a friend that in order to even begin to catch up with these icons I had made a to-do list for 2014 that included:

• Attend at least one “I Can Do It” conference in Las Vegas

• Create 999 (1000 would just be excessive) prosperity affirmations written out on sticky notes to affix to my bathroom mirror

• Make a deluxe, fully laminated tri-fold vision board for each area of my life

• Re-read at least 13 (my lucky number) of Wayne Dyer’s 42 books

• Memorize Ram Dass’ Journey of Awakening cover to cover

• Meditate one minute (maximum of 100 minutes—I do have a job to go to!) for each unenlightened thought/and or action from the previous day
• Re-watch The Secret followed by What the Bleep Do We Know?! the first Monday of every month.

• And so on…

My friend thought I was serious, took out a binder and started making notes. I assured her I wasn’t planning any of those things because: 1) I couldn’t keep up with all of that even if I was crazy enough to try, and 2) I was quite sure all that doing-ness would add very little to my quest to becoming a more Conscious Being. It was just me feeling a little “lesser-than” and I would get over it. She looked relieved.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be more evolved or wanting to have a greater impact on a world in dire need of more spiritually conscious people. Unless…we begin beating up on ourselves for what we see as our misjudgments, missteps and overall lack of progress. When that happens, Enlightenment Envy can quickly spiral down into what I call Seeker Regret — a common affliction characterized by “could have…should have...wish-I-would have” thinking that drops us into a very dark hole where no light could possibly find us — including the light of the Divine.

What we need to remember is that our personal spiritual evolution is just that…personal. And since it’s our unique path, it’s pretty hard to make mistakes or come up short. Every experience along that path teaches us something (whether we like the lesson or not) and moves us forward. Our path isn’t going to look like Deepak Chopra’s or Marianne Williamson’s. Instead of trying to catch up with these spiritual celebrities with whose combined titles have outpaced sales of the Bible, we’re better served by seeking a little guidance as to our own dharma and how we can best serve a world in crisis.

Let’s face it. We’re all looking for enlightenment: “…an insight into our true nature, an expression of a transcendent truth about who we are, a transcendental state of total acceptance and connectedness beyond the reach of any expressed language.” (Betsy Chasse) Sounds good, right? We all want what Betsy’s describing! But why can’t we seem to get it?

Americans in particular love a good bargain — a cut rate deal that gets us what we want for less than the “suggested retail.” We like to think shortcuts like books, workshops and affirmation cards are going to get us that special bargain on personal evolution, but unfortunately the discount code doesn’t apply here. Enlightenment is a full-price proposition and we simply have to do the work—our work, even if our efforts don’t make the talk show circuit.

Spend some time with Spirit listening to guidance. Once we learn to get quiet, we find it’s always available and it’s never “fake.” When you follow your very own personalized Divine path to enlightenment, you’ll want more and more of what you’re having.

Linda M. Potter is a writer, popular speaker, the editor of BellaSpark Magazine, and the author of If Only God Would Give Me a Sign! For more information, or to book Linda to speak at your next event, contact her at <linda@lindampotter.com>. [www.lindampotter.com.]9Http://www.lindampotter.com)