When I was just a kid hanging around the monastery on weekends, enlightenment seemed pretty cool. I mean, hell, look where it got the Boddhisatvas! Universal conciousness seemed like the best thing since sliced bread to me back then.
So I did the whole contemplation thing. I contemplated like nobody's ever seen. Koans? I was all over that. I did things methodically. I've got a polaroid of the face I had before I was born. I've even got the Beastie Boys remix of the sound of one hand clapping. I would meditate like a madman. One time, back in college, I went on a three day meditation binge. Those were the days, man.
So a few years back, I'm sitting in rock garden, just kicking back after a hard day of chopping wood and carrying water, when it hits me. It felt a little like an itch, on the back of my head, at first, but pretty soon I realized it was actually complete serenity and compassion for all living things in the universe. So, okay, I'm enlightened. Good deal, right?
Not so fast. Try to order a pizza and ask for a discount because you've achieved the Buddha nature. Take my word, it works pretty rarely. The picture in the workplace wasn't much prettier. I mean sure, total enlightenment looks impressive on your resume, but I've found most employers in today's job market prefer a few solid years of Photoshop experience. And at home? In my experience, if you try to avoid doing the dishes because it would only further your link to the illusory cycle of Samsara, your mother's only going to ask you to move out of the basement.
My advice for enlightenment is to give it a pass. If I choose to be reincarnated, I think next time I'll opt for salvation, or maybe oneness with the Tao.