There is no place to get to, nothing to achieve, no destination or end point of the process. Enlightenment is not a steady state of being. There are no steady states of being. Whether even death is or is not remains to be seen. Enlightenment is a process. Illumination is the realization that enlightenment is a process. Meister Eckhart said, "The ultimate and highest leave-taking is leaving God for God." Even when we find God, we have to leave God for the God that transcends God! God is not a steady state of being! There is more to all of us than meets the eye! There is more to everything than meets the eye! "The Tao that can be realized is not the eternal Tao!" So, do not be trying to "get there!" Just strive to be here, now! There is never anywhere to be that is not here, now! So, just be here, now! See what needs to happen. Maybe nothing. So, do nothing. Just be here, now! Sooner or later, something will come along that needs to happen, so do it, being at one with the doing of it, continuing to be here, now, in the doing. Just be here, now like this forever! That is all there is to it! Waking up to here, now is the only accomplishment. Just be here, now all the way to the end of the line. (The line never ends!)
The culture is a system of denial based on entertainment, distraction, diversion and addiction. Money is the most obvious addiction. Money isn't For anything but taking our mind off our problems. What does thinking about money keep us from thinking about? None of the things we think about have any kind of life about them. They do not offer us life, vitality, radiance, meaning, purpose, fulfillment, completion... They just help us feel better about the life we are living. The closest we get to life is when our team wins the current game, or we are sitting on a beach drinking beer, or partying with people we want to like us. We need experiences that will open us up to life and the wonder of just being alive-- that will evoke in us amazement and facination with the mystery of life and being, along with a never-fading memory of "This" being "IT!" Being stunned into silence with what James Joyce called "aesthetic arrest" is quite different from the thrill of victory, conquest, accomplishment that we generally think of as "peak experiences." We put ourselves on a path to being alive with encounters with art, music and nature-- and by finding symbols and metaphors which are meaningful to us and can provide us with the questions that fuel our inner search for the source of that meaning. Another exercise is that of "reclaiming our projections." Whenever we are emotionally ensnared by another person-- either in attraction or repulsion-- we need to stop/look/listen to what just happened. What attracted us about the person? What repulsed us about the person? List all of the characteristics we can think of, and examine the lists. The attractive list contains characteristics we admire and need to work at bringing forth within us. We need to "become the other" in the sense of living in ways that we see the other living out. And reflect on the list in a recurring way, engaging in a "Meditation on Missing Virtues" each time. The repulsive list contains characteristics we find to be abhorrent, and lie concealed in us hidden from our conscious awareness ("We hate in others what we hide in ourselves"). So, we need to regularly engage in the practice of self-examination, becoming transparent to ourselves, in finding evidence of our own abhorrence in the ways we secretly feel about others, or the resentments we harbor, or the slights which slip out in word or deed. This becomes a "Meditation on Hidden Defects," and opens us to the truth of who we also are, providing a different path to self-awareness and self-development. Seeking life and living it is on a different dimension from denial/diversion/distraction/escape/addiction, and "turns the light around" by shifting out attention from things "out there" to the things "in here," thereby giving us an entirely new orientation and direction for our life.
Jesus said, "Why don't you judge for yourselves what is right?" It all comes down to that. The Tao is knowing/doing what is right-- what needs to be done-- the way it should be done in each situation as it arises, one situation after another, all our life long. Jesus was a Taoist. He was much more a Taoist than he was a Christian. It is only knowing and doing what is right time after time throughout our life. No theology, no dogma, no doctrine, no creeds, no catechisms-- just knowing and doing what is right. Why don't we judge for ourselves what is right? I'm serious here: Why DON'T we???