I've told the story before, but it came wafting back this morning and made me smile so....
My dead brother-in-law's father was a Madison Avenue executive who took an interest in Japanese art and from there found himself dangling his toes in the waters of Zen Buddhism, a contributor to that art. The interest led him, one day, to take a bag lunch out to Central Park in New York. He sat on a bench and, in compliance with the suggestion "if you want to understand Buddhism, watch the clouds," he watched the clouds and waited to be infused with "enlightenment." After half an hour, when nothing new or novel happened, he gave up on "enlightenment" and never looked back.
Anyone who has pursued the Buddhist brass ring will love this story. Years and years of effort are often expended on behalf of "enlightenment," so writing it off in a half an hour is positively delicious.
"Enlightenment" is a fifty-cent word for being alive. It glows and glimmers and seems to pulsate for the sometimes-earnest seeker. To "understand" enlightenment is not an option. You're either alive or you're not. Understanding is sort of silly when you already are alive, already can sit on a park bench. The longer the quest for understanding, the longer the brick walls rise up. But when anyone stops trying to understand, how could there help but be understanding?
All the Jesuitical to-ing and fro-ing -- all the grand philosophies and religions and encouraging talks -- simply cannot crack the nut ... you know, the white puffy ones that pass above the bench-warmer in Central Park.
But what a nice day, right?
If it's raining, use an umbrella.