There is no other way around it.
Before diving into the ins and outs of achieving enlightenment, let me discuss first about achieving whatever you desire as a result, as a consequence of your input, work, and effort.
Everything has a price in life. To earn what you want, you have to pay the price first. This is a system you can’t simply cheat like you do in exams. If you try to cheat life, your whole life becomes one big lie, cheat. But many of us try to cheat to get what we want, to get where we wanna be without paying the price because that is easier than making efforts, paying the full price, taking all the necessary actions.
You want a peaceful inner being? You have to work for it to pay the price of being naturally peaceful. Once you have paid every necessary price, whatever you have wanted will come to you as a consequence, as a result. You want a healthy body and mind? You have to work for it. You want to be successful businessman? You have to work for it. You want a healthy relationship? You have to work on yourself to be worthy of people who are capable of sharing and caring for a healthy and successful relationships.
You cannot forcefully take what you want without paying the price. You cannot just wish, pray and wait for your desire to happen. You cannot fake it till you make it. Such motto has a dire consequence. As soon as others realize you were a pseudo, all that was gained will be lost along with your status and respect. There is a huge gap between actually being whatever you want to be and thinking you are that. The former oozes from within, the latter has to be thought externally. If you want to be confident in whatever you do, you have to develop your skills and see that you can actually do it; then, as a result, confidence grows in you. On the other spectrum, if you are not confident in reality but you want to believe you are confident by forcing yourself to think you are confident you will be living in a lie and have to be ignorant to everything that says you are not confident. You cannot take the shortcut, pay partially to get what you want. To get what you want as a consequence of your effort, you have to pay the FULL price and this is the ONLY way. Everything we have earned so far was all due to us paying the full price. Pay the price first and get what you want later. Simple as that. As soon as you know exactly what it is that you really want, then it is only a matter of finding the necessary price: every different ingredient, every different requirement involved. And, once you find all of the necessary ingredients that goes into the pot due to your work, action, and effort and mix them together, then naturally the outcome would be what you have wanted. Always be aware of this law of cause and effect.
If enlightenment is what you are looking for then all you need to do is to find the necessary price to pay. But, there is a catch. It is not something you gain after gathering or gaining certain information, knowledge, habit, or anything else. The usual logic states that to get a good grade on a certain class, one has to master the subject and ace every exam, homework, project, report…etc. But achieving enlightenment happens when the opposite happens. The word “achieving” is already at fault. To achieve something, it is automatically assumed that there needs to be certain work or effort. Enlightenment can only happen as a consequence of a certain state of being. You can meditate for many years like those monks on the mountains and enlightenment will not happen to you unless your inner being evolves into the right settings. To enter into the state of being that will not fail to bring enlightenment is a state being that is completely free of any socially learned knowledge, habit, memory, impression, idea, thought, emotion, bias, everything-I mean EVERYTHING. You need to give up and let go of everything you have gathered so far. To let go of everything in order to achieve enlightenment, you don’t need to do anything as the word “to achieve” suggests. The enlightenment will be achieved for you when a proper inner state of being is achieved for you; hence, the first fault with our language.
When everything that is learned since you were born as a product of your society is let go, the only thing that is left in your being is that which created you in the beginning. Only in that absence of everything else, complete silence and emptiness, then you can experience the enlightenment because your being is now not busy meddling with thoughts, emotions…etc but free to feel the source of all living finally. Only when you completely drain everything and empty the cup, then you can realize the state of enlightenment, that which is the creation and source of everything. Then you will feel and experiential-ly understand that the source won’t fill the cup but the source is the cup itself. The source of existence itself is the subtlest and the quietest “thing” in the world because it is the source of everything, because it is the 99% of the world. The most common and the closest things are usually the hardest to see because they don’t stand out from the others. Therefore, only when the loud noises are gone and there is nothing else but silence, you will hear it.
Now, then how do we get rid of everything that is accumulated likes thoughts and emotions in us? Again, the language is incorrect here. The act of getting rid of already assumes that there needs to be certain work or an activity. To get rid of the trash, we throw it out. But, when we try to get rid of our thoughts and emotions, we are thinking about getting rid of them. The more we try to let go of thoughts and emotions, the more we will think about them because we think through language and words only. It is the same thing as not trying to think of a pink elephant. The more you try not to think about a pink elephant, then the only image in your mind would be the pink elephant. On the other hand, if we don’t do anything about our chatter that keeps thinking and being emotional, the chatter chats and feels non-stop. So, what can we do then? One crucial understanding you need to realize is that both cases require your cooperation. When a thought or an emotion comes, it needs your cooperation to materialize. But if you don’t cooperate but simply sit there and watch them, they will disappear after some time. They just simply vanish. It is the same thing as watching clouds. The clouds come and go. Just like that thoughts and emotions come and go as well. This is how you can get “rid of” your non-stop chatter, desire, or whatever may be. Once your state of being is the state of thoughtlessness, emotionless-ness, memory-less-ness only thing that is left in your being is IS-ness: whatever that IS is, whatever that IS left. This IS cannot be simply put in words. Few words that are close to explain the experience of pure IS-ness are emptiness, voidness, complete silence. Once you are fully ware of such experience of the pure IS, then joyfulness oozes from this state of being as a consequence being limitless, completely free, and weightless. Your energy at last can flow freely with elegance to whatever direction you want it to, the whole existence becomes a dance, a journey with no destination, a road to nowhere. When the destinations and roads vanish, only the moment stays and that moment has been waiting here right beside you to delight in you, to play with you all this time. Before this moment, you have been too busy chasing all the roads, destinations which are only mirages and illusions. You can never catch these mirages but you can catch your moment that is right next to you. When every illusion disappears, then only the real, the truth stays and the genuine joy can only arise in truth.