Now I want to share some passages that made me think right on when I read them. Yes, I had a few quibbles with what Freke said, but in general I agreed wholeheartedly with him.
After embracing forms of spirituality that emphasized detaching from the world to reach a state of transcendent perfected enlightenment, Freke has seen the light. Not a heavenly radiance, but the illumination that comes from embracing what really is, rather than what is imagined to be.
Here's some quotes from his "A Lover of Life" chapter that I read this morning:
Enlightenment is often understood as an egoless state in which we're fully self-realized and permanently awake. We're free from the cycle of rebirth, so we don't have to reincarnate into this troublesome human existence.
Most people I meet don't really think they could ever achieve such an elevated state, but they often believe that some great master somewhere has made it to the winning post.
I no longer see the spiritual journey in this way. I don't aspire to arrive at some ultimate state. The idea of eradicating the ego seems misguided and holds no attraction. My experience of awakening makes me want to fully engage with the human adventure, not escape it. ...I don't aspire to be an enlightened master, rather I aspire to be a humble 'lover of life.'
...I want to suggest that the purpose of the spiritual journey is not to arrive anywhere, but rather to engage with the adventure of life in a new way, so that the evolutionary process unfolds powerfully within us.
...Many people think that the journey of awakening is ultimately about achieving some sort of spiritual perfection. But I want to suggest that to be human is necessarily to be imperfect. We all have our flaws and foibles... even the best of us. Everyone who can walk, sometimes stumbles. The greatest musicians can hit bum notes.
...It's embracing the glorious imperfection of personal existence. It is creatively engaging with the ambiguity of being human.
To aspire to become a lover of life is to aspire to become wise by accepting we'll sometimes be foolish. It's recognizing that we'll always make mistakes because of our lack of consciousness. This is the process of evolution. If we didn't err, we'd never learn. And if we didn't learn we'd never grow.
Indeed, it seems to me, if we're not continually making mistakes we're getting too comfortable and should be taking more risks.
To become a lover of life we must be willing to be a foolish lover... a lost lover... a vulnerable lover... a lonely lover... a broken lover... a frightened lover... a flawed lover... a wounded lover... an inconstant lover.
We must be willing to love being human, with all that this entails.