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Reverend Vic Fuhrman

Enlightenment Ala Carte: The Aha! Moment
by Rev. Vic Fuhrman, MSC, RM

"I had a strange sensation, a tingling that arose in my feet and traveled up to my head, and I felt as though I were suddenly released from my body and as pure spirit, partook of a loveliness I had never conceived. I had a sense that a knowledge more than human possessed me, so that everything that had been confused was clear and everything that had perplexed me was explained." —Protagonist "Larry Darrell" explaining his moment of enlightenment from W. Somerset Maugham’s Classic, The Razor’s Edge

We’ve all had them; those fleeting moments of total clarity when the mysteries of the universe unravel for us and complicated issues and problems become as easy as A-B-C. It may be something as mundane as the algebra or geometry that you struggled with and then spontaneously were able to comprehend or a deep spiritual and philosophical question that suddenly became so clear, it felt like you had known the answer forever. They’ve even been featured in television commercials as the actor eats or drinks something of questionable nutritional value, slaps his or her forehead and exclaims, "I could’ve had a V-8!" (Not a product endorsement…just an example---and the forehead slapping is something we will address later.) These are the Aha! Moments of Enlightenment and you can learn to seize those moments and the answers they bring to help you grow professionally, personally and spiritually.

"My whole life has been spent waiting for an epiphany, a manifestation of God's presence, the kind of transcendent, magical experience that lets you see your place in the big picture. And that is what I had with my first compost heap." Bette Midler, Los Angeles Times, May 8, 1996

Every major religion and belief system recounts tales of great sages and mystics and the divine inspiration they received, but one need not be religious or spiritual to have these epiphanies. The word epiphany comes from the ancient Greek word for manifestation and is defined as a sudden moment of intuitive realization. The forehead slapping in the commercial may be a rather crude (and painful) way of physically punctuating the Aha! Moment, but it actually has an interesting connection. The area of the forehead between and just above the eyes is known in eastern mystical systems as the "third-eye", the center of intuitive "sight". It has a physical correspondence to the mysterious little organ in the center of the brain known as the pineal gland, which philosopher Rene’ Descartes labeled the "seat of the soul." The ancient Greek word for the pineal gland is epiphysis which means to "grow on." Even though the root definitions are different, it’s interesting to note the subtle similarity between the word expressing the concept of intuitive inspiration and the name of the organ thought by ancient mystics to be the source and communication point for this divinely inspired wisdom.

"I watched an ant climb a blade of grass this morning. When he reached the top, his weight bent the blade down to the ground. Then, twisting his thorax with insectile precision, he grabbed hold of the next blade. In this manner, He traveled across the lawn, covering as much distance vertically as he did horizontally, which amused and delighted me. And then, all at once, I had what is sometimes called an "epiphany," a moment of heightened awareness in which everything becomes clear. Yes, hunched over that ant on my hands and knees, I suddenly knew what I had to do.........Quit drinking before noon".
—Marilyn Grey

You don’t have to travel to some exotic and far away place, find a secluded monastic temple and study with a guru for 25 years to have these experiences, but you do need to employ one of the time tested techniques of the spiritual masters, mindfulness. These flashes of inspiration are just that, flashes, and developing an awareness of how and when they occur and the content of their message is the secret to enjoying their benefit. Here are some simple mindfulness (vipassana-"insight") techniques and exercises that will enhance your epiphany experience, as well as help you to center yourself, improve your awareness and reduce stress. They are designed to help you to become aware of the present moment without the baggage of yesterday and the worry about tomorrow. Try them as you go about your day:

• Mindfulness meal: Have a simple, light, meal in a quiet place without any external distraction. Take a few deep breaths and let go of anything that may be bothering you or interfering with your complete and total enjoyment of the moment. Spend a minute or two in quiet gratitude for the gift of the food you are about to eat and acknowledge those responsible for making the meal possible (from divine source, to the land, the farmer, the harvesters, processors, delivery people, markets and yourself for earning the money to buy the food and prepare it.)

Then, take a deep breath, let it go, and take your first bite of food.

Chew it slowly and savor the flavors and sensations. As you swallow, be aware of the way your body responds to it and how your body will use the nutrients to nourish and rebuild you. Continue in this way until the meal is finished and then take a minute or two to reflect on the enjoyment you’ve had and a final quiet expression of gratitude.

• Mindfulness walk: Take a walk in a beautiful place where you feel very comfortable and secure. As you walk, become aware of the sensations around you—the feeling of the air against your skin, the warmth of the sunlight on your face, the fragrances of nature. Be aware of each step, the sensation of your foot connecting with the earth and how the earth is there to support you. Observe the way each breath you take corresponds to your strides. As you complete your walk, express gratitude for all of natures gifts that you received.

• Mindfulness exercise: Hatha Yoga and Tai Chi are two of the oldest forms of a physical activity designed to promote mindfulness. If you’ve never taken a class, now is the time. Both of these practices will deepen your awareness of your body, reduce stress and clear your mind. If these ancient eastern forms are not your cup of ginseng, shoot a few hoops or hit a few golf balls…but do it mindfully. Become one with the basketball as it swooshes through the net or sense your energy extended through your golf club and into the ball as it takes off the tee and flies through the air.

• Mindfulness hobbies: Ever notice when you engage in something that you truly love, you "get lost" in it and time seems to accelerate? Use that hobby or activity as a mindfulness exercise and rather than getting lost in the activity, "step outside" and bear witness to yourself having fun! Awareness of joy is one of the great gifts of this practice and an accelerant to getting to that Aha! Moment.

As with any "meditative" experience, you may be distracted from time to time while doing these exercises. Don’t fight the distractions...simply acknowledge them and let them go. The analogy that many use is to compare the distractions to clouds in a beautiful blue sky. They come into your awareness and then drift away.

Having mastered mindfulness, the next step in working with enlightenment ala carte is to open the realm of your imagination.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Albert Einstein

Imagination is far more than the "make-believe" games we played as children.

Imagination is the energy of creation…if we can envision it, we can create it.

Using imagination exercises, you can open up your intuitive centers and make way for those flashes of inspiration. The popular buzz phrase of the last couple of decades was "learning to think outside of the box." Imagination skills are the key to opening up to these possibilities. Try these simple ideas:

• Visualization: Open up your third eye (epiphysis) by visualizing the contents of a sealed package. Have someone put an item inside a box and seal it without letting you know the content. Then use your imagination and intuitive skills to sense what it is. A simpler experiment is to have someone put small pieces of colored paper into opaque envelopes and then "see" the color. You’ll be surprised how good you get at this after a little practice. You can also try this with a deck of cards. "Guess" the color or suit of the card before you turn it over.

• Imaginary conversations: Have a meditation with the specific goal of visualizing a conversation with someone whom you trust implicitly for guidance and advice. Prepare a specific question and pose it in the course of this "minds-eye" meeting with your trusted advisor.

• Imaginary places: Create a sacred space in your mind…an inner sanctum or personal temple to do your epiphany work. Make this place very comfortable and secure. Decorate it with items of special or sacred significance to you. This is the place where you will do your intuitive work so hang a big sign outside the door to remind you to leave everything outside except an open heart and receptive mind!

Many of us who work to develop our insight skills often fall into the trap of trying to intellectualize the source of the information rather than deriving benefit from the information itself. The final preparation for capturing the Aha! Moment is to learn to appreciate the moment for itself and without attachment.

"Free your heart from your mind. Embrace wonder for one moment without the need to consider how that wonder came to be, without the need to justify if it be real or not."
Charles de Lint, The Ivory & the Horn

We are doing all of this work to make ourselves open to inspiration, insight and clarity. Whether you believe the source is divine, from a universal consciousness or springing from the archives within your ancestral DNA, it is the guidance and information that we receive that’s important and not where it comes from. Make yourself ready to receive it, be mindful and open, and let it flow. Benefit from the messages, don’t hit your forehead (at least not too hard) and enjoy yourself!

© Copyright 2002  Reverend Vic Fuhrman.  All Rights Reserved. 

Rev. Vic Fuhrman
Rev. Vic Fuhrman, MSC, RM is a gifted healer, spiritual counselor, Reiki Master and Interfaith minister who heals through words, touch and teaching. He is regularly called to perform marriages, memorials and blessings of all kinds, and also offers his healing hands to those suffering from serious illness, as well as volunteering as a group leader for the internet-based Distant Healing Network.

He is creator of EnerVisionä , a curriculum designed to teach psychic self-empowerment and healing with the emphasis on these things being very natural, rather than supernatural. He was recently called upon to testify and share his expertise before the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine. His popular course, "Beyond 9-11: Spiritual Practices To Help You Heal, Find Security and Feel Peaceful in the New World," will be available online at www.selfhealingexpressions.com in June 2002. It is a spiritual survival course inspired by his disaster relief work as a volunteer Chaplain serving families and rescue workers affected by the World Trade Center attacks.

Educated and trained in all the world’s religions, he is a graduate and former faculty member of the New Seminary, one of the world’s premier institutions for the training and ordination of ministers versed in service to people of all faiths and backgrounds. He is currently developing curriculums for World Light Fellowship, a worldwide interfaith ministry. He is also on WLF board of directors, as well as being co-founder of the World Light Fellowship-UN Chapter.

His popular columns and features have been published around the world, in magazines and on the Internet, and he is hailed for his ability to write on complex metaphysical and spiritual topics in a very down to earth way. He is a storyteller by nature, and an inspiring public speaker. He brings unconditional love, compassion and humor to his ministry. Reach Vic at: reikivic@erols.com and www.enervision.org.


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