I may be completely unenlightened, and therefore have no idea what I am talking about, but to me enlightenment is not an event but rather, it’s a place.
By this I mean it’s not (in my opinion, unqualified by any particular dogma) something that just happens and then that’s it – you’re enlightened for the rest of your life.
For me it’s somewhere you have to make the effort to go (although sometimes you stumble upon it without trying, like walking out of the trees into an unexpected clearing in a forest).
And like all visits, you sit, maybe drink some tea, enjoy – but then you have to leave, already looking forward to your next visit.
Usually, I travel to this delightful place by meditation, and it can be a bumpy ride getting there. Sometimes I run out of time and steam and have to turn back without reaching the destination. Usually, if I keep steadfastly on, I get there eventually.
I used to go to this place a lot but over the last year or two I have rarely made the effort or found the time to visit this place.
I think this is ok (I had things to do) but it is not sustainable and the price is always increased feelings of negativity and decreased well-being. Recently I have had to admit to myself that this has been reaching a quiet kind of crisis point and I have really needed to get back on my chair and meditate. Thankfully, my trusty old steed is still happy to bear my load.
Maybe this is also what is meant by “returning to the breath”?