The tricky path to enlightenment

AT one time or another, most of us have cause to stop and reflect on our lives and asked that age old question: What’s it all about?

We look back and realise that perhaps we should have done things differently and experienced much more of what life and the world had to offer.

Said yes to opportunities that came our way instead of playing it safe, and regretting past selfish acts that may have caused discomfort and pain to others It’s totally natural and unless you are a complete slime ball or the Yorkshire Ripper, these ‘what-if’ phases of our lives are to be expected.

I have been going through one of these periods recently. What have I done, I ask myself, that has enhanced the lives of others apart, from helping old ladies across the road and dropping 50 cents in the tin for the bloke who plays a squeeze box outside Dialprix?

It’s hardly going to impress St Peter when I present him with a shortlist which includes giving up my seat on the bus and contributing the equivalent of half a cup of coffee to a starving musician.

He’s just going to frown and point to the lift going down. I can see why some turn to religion for answers, but my experience is that it only raises yet more difficult questions, and besides, religion and politics are two subjects to steer well clear of if you want to avoid arguments.

I have been through the usual phases: enjoyed all the Bible stories at school and looked forward to Christmas assemblies when we got to sing all those groovy carols, even if I didn’t understand what three ships had to do with the baby Jesus.

Then into my rebel years when I dismissed it all as a load of horlicks and became just another intolerant atheist, before settling in the calmer waters of agnosticism.

But one good thing about being an agnostic is that you keep looking. So right now I am looking at Buddhism.

I don’t see myself shaving my head and wearing a saffron robe and sandals. Don’t get me wrong, it looks good on some, but I would just resemble a bread stick in a duster.

But I like the path to enlightenment idea, which basically says that you can take any route you like, just so long as you get there. There is only one problem.

I’ve got quite good at chanting, but when it comes to getting into the full lotus position, all I ever get is agonising cramp in my legs and a stiff neck.

I wonder if meditating on a sun lounger is against the rules?

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