Unveiling Your Mental Brilliance: A Journey to Enlightenment

Unveiling Your Mental Brilliance: A Journey to Enlightenment March 6, 2024

The first installment in the “Unlocking Your True Self, A Guide to Enlightenment” series.

A good start is the platform for success   Image by SpaceX-Imagery from Pixabay


How do you start the meditation journey? It doesn’t matter who you are or what you think is possible. You are the platform, and you can launch into a new reality with daily practice, diligence, a few teachings, and joy in exploring the unknown.

The Beginning

Meditation? I knew nothing about it. Rumours about it kept coming up in conversations, but I had never met anyone who actually did it. I recall being attracted to the idea in Jack Kerouac’s novels, along with a mysterious  word he used a lot: “Bodhisattva.”

You can be aware anywhere. Even at a dance party! Image of the meditator by Ralph Schwaegerl from Pixabay

Jack’s habit of meditating at parties in his stories, even when no one else joined him, seemed unusual, intriguing, and courageous to me. It was either a display of self-denial in a crowd, which I could relate to or something else entirely. The idea stirred something new within me. I always loved reading his books, and even now, the image of a young wandering Jack sitting in a meditation pose on the floor against a wall in a living room full of people smoking, dancing, and discussing philosophy still stands out in my mind as a powerful memory.




Full of Hope

I was 22 years old, obsessed with music, and Bino’s restaurant was a favourite late-night and into the wee hours of the morning hang-out for my cohorts and me, where we philosophized about how our band would take over the world. The conversations would get very intense. Probably in direct relationship to the intake of sugared-up caffeine (the Bino’s fast-walking servers kept a steady supply of free refills of coffee coming for as long as we sat there)and the blue haze of cigarettes ( you could smoke in a restaurant back then.)

My primary goal then was to become a successful songwriter and guitarist in a famous band. I had strong, blind certainty that I could actually do this. For a time, the belief held, and I had some wonderful and exciting experiences pursuing that goal by playing in places like the Town Pump when it was still around.

Joe’s Cafe on Commercial St.


I lived near Commercial Drive in Vancouver. Pearl Jam was breaking out of its cage, and Tetris made its magical appearance in Joe’s cafe. There, I discovered lattes, a mountain of white foam served in tall clear glasses. My best friend and I pumped into the Tetris machine quarter after quarter and drank lattes that only cost a couple of dollars. I was in heaven.



That sets the scene, the backdrop if you will, and then, from the wings, another important player entered, eventually holding a leading role and finally taking centre stage. It quietly introduced itself in the form of a skinny blue paperback book on meditation. Here is a link to my post about Mahamudra meditation.

A Mysterious Change Rolls In

I don’t recall the book’s name or how it ended up in my hands. It was almost weightless and had the intoxicating brand-new book smell, and holding the pages open took a little muscle. It needed working in. The blue cover had the word Zen in big black letters as part of the title. I opened it up, skipping all the preamble and got right to the opening point. Speaking very directly, the author asked me to take a simple test: “Do you, dear reader, think you can watch the second hand of a clock go around one time and not lose focus?”

You can learn to focus and not be lost in the dream. Image by Annette from Pixabay

Ooh! This sounds new and fun! I was enthusiastic and felt confident it would be an easy test to pass. After all, I was a musician, wasn’t I? I spent hours and hours diligently focusing on guitar scales and chords on a daily basis. How hard could it be to focus for 60 seconds?

Luckily, there was a large rectangular clock with big black numbers and a long red second hand on the wall of my music room. I looked up and focused on it, waiting for the second hand to reach twelve o’clock, which seemed like a good place to begin. Here we Go!

“I was baffled to find that I couldn’t keep my focus! Even more surprising was that I couldn’t remember when I lost my concentration or what distracted me. I don’t know if my focus lasted for 15 seconds, 30 seconds, or 10 seconds.”

Here’s a link to my first article, in which I describe meeting my Lama.



Have you ever wondered how much of the day you are not present? Image by Mahbub Hasan from Pixabay

Where did the meditation object go? When did I lose focus? Where did my mind travel to, and why? What was left behind? Was I standing in a room like a ghost with no place to be?

How do we not recall losing a meditation object?

As surprised as I was, I could understand forgetting the object, but the mysterious moment when it happened fascinated me. I was to learn the reason for that much later. But here is a little snack-sized version of what I eventually learned:

The Great Mystery Image by 愚木混株 Cdd20 from Pixabay


When we lose awareness, the simple fact that we have lost awareness is why we can’t remember when we lost awareness. We weren’t there to see it. Amazing, right? Doesn’t that thrill you to know that? Call me a meditation geek if you want, but this kind of thing sends lightning up my spine. These small moments of forgetfulness imply a pattern that dictates our lives, our direction, our choices, who we think we are- all of it. The outcome of the whole game comes down to whether or not we are fully aware at any given moment.

Here is a link to an article on what it means to be enlightened according to Buddhism.






And, Yes. You guessed it. The goal is never to lose awareness. EVER. I was at the bottom of Mount Everest, looking up. I couldn’t stay focused on a meditation object for over a few seconds!

Determination Arrives

Those fateful 15 seconds of my life produced an undeniable realization- I had a concentration problem. At the bottom of my gut, I knew very clearly that it was an obstacle to something unknown and important.

And so I began to meditate.

They weren’t long meditations at first. 15 minutes.  The author’s instructions were to sit facing a plain patternless wall and gaze into the empty space about twelve inches from my nose, trying not to get lost in thought.
You can meditate in a chair! Image by Pexels from Pixabay

I couldn’t do any fancy meditation pose because of my job as a concrete worker, which required me to work long hours, sometimes 60 hours a week. Back then, yoga was nowhere in sight and my body was inflexible, twisted and full of knots despite being strong. I was far from being able to sit cross-legged on the floor like Jack Kerouac, so I had to settle for sitting in a kitchen chair.



I meditated every day. If the day had gone on and we had company over in the evening and I hadn’t meditated yet, I would disappear into the bedroom and stare at the wall for 15 minutes while my girlfriend would say,” Oh, he’s off to meditate.” I felt embarrassed about this sometimes and self-conscious, but not once did I apologize for my behaviour, and not once did I miss a day. Nothing could steer me away from my goal, even if we were off on holiday or I was sick or busy.

I wanted something. Bad. I didn’t know what it was, but I would get it come hell or high water. If Jack could do it, so could I!

Here is a link to my  Chitta Chat podcast.

The Journey Begins

The freedom of limitless contenement awaits you! Image by Antonios Ntoumas from Pixabay

I hope that by reading this series of posts, you get to know me a little and perhaps get some excitement about your own meditative path or start one if you haven’t.

I hope to show you that meditation is not a straight path. It travels like water. Sometimes, it winds and wanders like a slow river in a flatland; other times, it rushes through a mountain drop teeming with tree trunks and boulders. Rarely is it a straight shot like a waterfall. But one way or another, it all flows to the vast ocean and the limitless horizon where liberation awaits.

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