Vacation Lesson Number 4: You are the teacher.

The Buddha sat underneath the Boddhi Tree to reach enlightenment. Mohammed sat in a cave in the desert. Jesus went into the desert for 40 days, and often left his followers to pray. Moses climbed a mountain listened to a burning bush.

All of these teachers spent time alone in nature. Enlightenment came when they left society. They sought silence. They sought solitude. They fasted. They listened. They listened to the voices that came to them in silence.

We are bombarded with noise and distraction. Our lives are filled with voices and images from every direction, all at once. Time and space are distorted and transcended as we juggle our pasts and future on the internet. When we are exhausted we turn on the tv and listen to a packaged refrain. When was your last silent moment? When did you last listen to the quiet of your mind.

If we listen to the media and advertising chorus around us, we are told to expect fulfillment through the next purchase. Enlightenment is belittled and obsolete. Enlightenment has been replaced with gratuitous satisfaction. The lives of the rich and famous are the lives to strive for. The American dream is no longer a home and a chicken in every pot, but rather a McMansion with a Hummer in every garage. Look where that dream has brought us. We are sitting on the edge of calamity. The financial system has fallen off its precarious wall. All the king’s horses and all the kings men can’t put it back together again. We need something new in its place.

Don’t sign up for a church or for the next guru to cross your path. Too many churches are supporters of the status quo, apologists for ‘King.’ Even if the ‘King’ today is capitalism and corporate America. No guru has your answers. You won’t find the answers in any book, neither the good book, the old book or the big book. The answer isn’t written on any wall.

Turn off the TV. Head outside for a few hours. Go someplace where you can feel fresh air on your skin and hear the sound of wind and birds. Go outside and observe the world. Find a place to sit still and listen. Feel the rocks beneath your feet or beneath your butt. Sit on the earth. Get dirty. Sweat.

Repeat often, until your mind starts to clear of the cultural fog. When everything else gets out of the way, when the cultural milieu is silent, what is left? What do you love? What is important to you? What do you want when you stop wanting what they tell you to want? If you wipe away the cultural fog, your thoughts will be as profound as those of the Buddha, Jesus or Mohammed. Listen to what arises from deep inside you. You are the teacher. You are the prophet. You are the healer.