If You Would Like to Be Enlightened, First Aim to Be a Little Less Uptight

Do you want to live in bliss? Then don't get uptight. Uptight is a perfect word for the opposite of calm serenity. That's just what it feels like. When you're not deeply calm, you have a feeling of seizing up. Clenching. Contracting.

Let's add a new word to the English language: downloose — the opposite of uptight. And we have several effective ways to get downloose:

1. Meditate
2. Relax tensing muscles
3. Take deep breaths
4. Think more relaxed

If you have been aiming at bliss, but it seems unattainable, aim for being downloose instead. If you aimed at a deep and abiding feeling of calmness or downlooseness, you would do a lot better. And you'd probably experience more bliss, because you know things you can do to get downloose, to produce calmness. But you don't really know how to create bliss. It is like the ultimate calm. A far-off distant dream. But deep calm you can do right now. You can become calmer in this moment. You can move more calmly. Breathe deeper. Relax tensing muscles. Say a prayer. Repeat a mantra. Think about something differently. If you did any of these, you would feel calmer.

Downloose is just a clearer, more concrete thing to aim at.

Keep the primary purpose simply feeling deeply calm. Aim all your activities in that direction. Some activities, like writing, do not interfere with tranquillity, but some do. And sometimes it's the way you go about an activity that agitates. Pay attention and keep changing what leads away from calm.

I felt disturbed today and things seemed to go badly and I didn't know why. I gave it some thought tonight and realized that speaking without thinking does not lead to bliss. Or even to deep calm. It was a good insight.

I got the insight because I remembered that calmness is my goal.

What did I do that took away the calm? What did I do that disturbed the feeling of downloose, that made me feel uptight? Good questions. The questions made it very easy to see something I never would have thought of. I changed my values with that insight. I have never valued silence, but now I see how the breaking of silence directly disturbs the calm. Read more about that here.

Aiming for bliss or enlightenment is to vague and too big of a step to contemplate from the foot of the mountain. Aim to be less uptight at first. More downloose. Simply aim for calmness. It sends you in the right direction, and perhaps you can aim for better things from higher up the mountain. For now, keep it simple and attainable, and you'll keep your motivation to put in the effort. At least, that's what I think.

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Slotralogy, Antivirus For Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

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