Lenny Ravich
Enlightenment is…I Dunno (Part one)

Enlightenment is…I Dunno (Part one)

September 2, 2023

Hi. My name is Lenny Ravich. I have been blessed to have written the bestselling book, “Everlasting Optimism” and grateful to be a humorous keynote speaker in London and Hong Kong.

A few weeks ago I was invited to give a webinar on “The Influence of Martin Buber on Gestalt Therapy” to a large group of psychotherapists from over the globe. It was fun. A week later I received a message from one of the participants who said that she was in my home town, Tel Aviv and asked if she could come to over to film me for a broadcast on Enlightenment. Enlightenment? What do I know about enlightenment? But my motto is: when the cosmos offers you an opportunity you become the “Yes Man.”

She showed up at my door with a camera, a tripod and a bottle of water. As we entered my study she mentioned that she had read my book, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Enlightenment” that I had written about 20 years ago. I would have been 67 years old then, and now I’m…You do the math.

She aimed her camera directly at me and asked briskly, “So what is enlightenment?”

“It’s waking up from the nightmare”


“You’re living the nightmare by believing the noise in your head. Enlightenment is not a thing but a process. It’s nothing you reach for. It’s a route you take to spiritual growth,”

“So what’s the process? Walk me through it” she retorted.

“Ok, so let’s begin with surrendering.”


“You begin by surrendering the control of your life to the flow and listening intensely to what your body is telling you as opposed to your mind. You learn to distinguish between the voice of God and the noise in your head. A caterpillar morphs into a cocoon and then into a butterfly by going with the flow. She doesn’t pay attention to the noise, “Who are you to become a butterfly? You really believe you can fly? Get a day job.” Etc.

“I told my wife she was perfect. (What?!!) If she isn’t perfect I’m going to suffer. I’m okay with pain but I’m not going to choose to agonize. How did I do that? I decided to accept everything as perfect just the way it is. If I refuse to fall in love with the ‘the here and now’ I will be doomed to the lurid and dwell in hell.”

“Is that enlightenment?”

“I Dunno.”

She adjusted the camera and blurted, “How can you say that? Aren’t there crimes to humanity, homelessness and sickness in the world?”

“Yes. And it has been like that since the Big Bang. The Buddha said, ‘There is suffering in the world.’ I could whimper and whine that life is not fair and become a victim. If there is such a thing as heaven, I don’t think there are many of those there. Victimhood sucks and it’s a great way to manipulate others.  It also causes resentment and that’s a horrible way to live.”

“So what do you suggest?”

“Gratefulness. It’s the best antidote to victimhood and resentment. Visualize living in a constant state of grace by being grateful for everything. Imagine waking up in the morning and giving thanks for this wonderful, temporary gift called life. I am grateful for this breath I am breathing, for the colors I’m seeing, for the food I am tasting. I am appreciative of living in the abundance of love, joy, wisdom, optimism good health and wealth. Try that for a few days and pay attention to how you feel. Einstein said, ‘Either everything is a miracle or nothing is a miracle.’ I choose to believe that everything is a miracle.”

“How do you simply ‘choose’ to believe that?”

“Awareness, or some call it mindfulness.”

“Is that enlightenment?”

“I Dunno, but becoming aware offers you options on how you want to be in the world. A few years back I went to a twelve-day silent meditation retreat. You just sit with your cute self all day and concentrate on your breathing and notice what comes up. I would look over at someone and automatically criticize and judge without ever having met them: ‘This woman reminds me of a cockroach, that guy is an asshole and this one next to me is a schmuck.’

The day before exiting the retreat and entering the ‘real’ world we were invited to spend a good part of the day meeting talking to one another. I got personal with all those I had judged, and realized that they were fantastic, smart and loving people. I suddenly became aware of how this behavior was negatively effecting my relationships. I made the conscious decision that same day to never judge, criticize or compare anyone ever again. From then on I would experience every encounter with love and positive regard.

And you know what? Everyone is me in drag anyway. There is something in me I refuse to accept and so I project that part of myself onto others. This is a great way to learn and take possession of disowned parts of myself. To love everyone as myself. That’s part of the process.”

“Is that enlightenment?”

“I Dunno”.

She became silent. I asked, “How do you feel right now?”


Ok, dear reader. You’ve had enough for today and thanks for coming this far. I will continue with “Enlightenment is…I Dunno” Part two in my next blog. See you then.

I am you and you are me and we are one, oop duppi doo.

I love you


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