A PBS special about the Buddha described his tedious quest for enlightenment. He reportedly drank his own urine, slept on nails, practiced Eastern meditation, ate a single grain of rice a day, was disappointed in gurus . . . six years of self-torture. Commenting on that list of deprivations, the Dalai Lama chuckled and said that, yes, reaching enlightenment is hard work!
I wish the Dalai Lama could meet Joni Eareckson Tada. The year 2017 marked 50 years in a wheelchair for her. Her newsletter about that said: “Nearly every night before I go to sleep, I ask the Lord to wake me up in the spirit of Isaiah 60:1. When morning breaks, I want to ‘Arise, shine, for [my] light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon [me].’ I know how easily my disability could darken my countenance, and so when my day starts, I ask God to make this beautiful verse a shining reality in my life!”
Isaiah 60:1 was the theme of Joni’s 2018 planner (which featured her painting titled Light in the Forest, drawn by holding the paintbrush with her teeth).
For centuries, “ascended masters” have needlessly stumbled along a nebulous path toward a supposed enlightenment, when the true (and clearly marked) path has been there all along. It’s the path that Joni travels. “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which [God] has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18, 19).