Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

There Is No How

Quit trying. Quit trying not to try. Quit quitting. ~zen saying

I want to be awakened. I want enlightenment. How do I get it? Where are the instructions? If I read this book, practice these techniques, listen to this podcast, attend this workshop, devote myself to this teacher, read another book, breathe a certain way, think a certain way, meditate a certain way, chant a mantra, go to a retreat, read another book – will I achieve my goal? Will I pass the test and get my certificate? Will I be enlightened then?

How do I do this? Just tell me how. Please.

You want the secret? Okay, here it is. There is no how. Take it from one who has tried everything listed above. And more.

But then how…

There is no how. There is no way to get from here to there, because there is no there. There is no journey because there is nowhere to go. There is no technique, because there is nothing to do. There is no way of teaching because there is nothing to learn.


I know. Right? The brain can’t grasp this. Truly, the brain can’t understand this, because our brains think. That’s what they do. Sometimes they do it really well. But you cannot think your way to enlightenment. Because enlightenment transcends thought. Oh, and also because enlightenment doesn’t exist.


Well, it doesn’t exist in the sense of a static state. It is dynamic, offering an opportunity in every moment to enter, as A Course in Miracles calls it, the holy instant. The holy instant reveals all eternity to us in the perfect bliss of oneness.

Missed it? That’s okay. Here is another moment. And another.

I’m trying, but…

Don’t try.

Then how…

Just allow. Take a deep breath and surrender. Let go of everything. It only takes a moment. Because a moment is all there is.

Do or do not. There is no try. ~Yoda

10 thoughts on “There Is No How”

  1. Wow, I will have to read this more than once, ponder on it for a while and maybe then I will have a more than one thought on this one. Here is just one thought. I feel that enlightenment comes through the light of Christ that is given to all men.
    This coninsides with many of my experiences when I ponder, pray and allow the spirit to enlighten me on truths that I am searching for. These are instant holy moments for me.
    As always I love your posts! Hugs~

  2. LeAnn, your description of allowing the spirit to enlighten you is lovely. There might be variations in the concepts and vocabulary that we use to describe this surrender to the universal, the sacred, the Holy Spirit, or other terms, because the truth is beyond words and thinking. But in essence it is the same. Jesus taught that faith is the key. You have an abundance of faith that keeps you in harmony with the divine. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Yoda was a smart little Jedi, wasn't he? And yes, as Adyashanti says, surrender is the name of the spiritual game. You have demonstrated this beautifully in your saga about Danny's health. Thanks, Martha.

  4. Your post is so thought provoking, so relevant.
    It brought me to thoughts about Life's Purpose. I've contemplated this for decades, my "purpose"; I defined (or at least stated) my purpose about 20 years ago.
    Today, as your post suggests, I wonder…
    Can't read about my purpose in a book. Can't accept my purpose description from someone outside of "me." Can't be sure that my purpose was predestined at birth. Can't be sure that it is an it that can be found as I live my life.
    So…perhaps my purpose is to experience this (each) moment "naturally", "honestly" as it unfolds.
    Could this be similar to finding/gaining enlightenment?
    "Row, row, row your boat, Gently down the stream…"

  5. I think your description is spot on, CD. Experience each moment directly, without judgment, manipulation, desire or aversion. As you say, naturally and honestly. I think that is as enlightened as it gets.

    But it only lasts that moment. Then we do it again in the next moment. And the next. One of my martial arts teachers is fond of saying "Agaaiiiinnnn." I think with enough practice, experiencing moments naturally and honestly can become habitual. Enlightened moments begin to string together until it seems constant.

    So are we finding or gaining enlightenment, as you call it? I would say that we are releasing everything that is not the natural and honest experience of each moment. When we release all of that, we allow ourselves to experience our natural state. Enlightenment is revealed, perhaps, rather than gained.

    What if we don't row, but just let our boats flow gently with the current?

    Your comments about purpose made me think of the story about Buddha walking down the road. A person is walking the other way, towards him, and sees that there is something remarkable about Buddha. He asks Buddha if he is a god or a king. Buddha says no. Well, then what are you, he asks. Awake, says Buddha.

    I went to a workshop years ago in which we developed our personal life mission statements. I don't remember now what mine said. But if I had to answer today, I would say my mission is to wake up.

    Trying…no, not trying. Ha!

  6. Your comment regarding your martial art practice hit a chord with me, too, Galen.
    I've been practicing Tai Chi and Qigong for nearly 30 years; one would think that following those hundreds of repetitions the forms would become almost mechanically mindless routines. Ever had this experience: while practicing I let my focus shift to an "unrelated" thought, a passerby in the park, an Apple Betty recipe modification and BOOM…I have "lost track" of what form is next?

    Being "awake to the moment", being conscience of the task elements, experiencing the foot planting in the step, or enjoying her smile are lost if/when I forget to "Do Nothing" but experience the moment naturally and honestly.

    Repetitively, as you suggest, is the best Practice. 

    Make sense?

  7. Complete sense, CD. I had to laugh about your description of your mind wandering while you are doing a form. I have been practicing straight sword for the last few years, and have learned (sort of) three forms, and I'm working on a fourth. More often than I care to admit, when I'm doing one form, my mind will wander and before I know it, I have morphed into a different form. Focus focus focus. Agaaiinnn! Thanks for the conversation.

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