Is there anything I can do to make myself enlightened?
As little as you can do to make the sun rise in the morning.
Then of what use are the spiritual exercises you prescribe?
To make sure you are not asleep when the sun begins to rise.
Anthony deMello, from One Minute Wisdom
Not sure who Anthony deMello is, but I can really relate to this quote. Not that I have any experience of Enlightenment! But simply that trying, doing, grasping after is so very fruitless. Getting out of the way of, letting go, opening is how it works for me. Not for everyone, maybe, and maybe not always for me, at all times. But right now, Let Go is where it's at.
The spiritual exercises, the meditation, the prayers, they all open me out and prepare me, make me a good and worthy vessel, as they say, for what flowers from within, for what has always been there, like the sun obscured by the clouds. Just keep doing what can be done, not to get somewhere, but just to do. Practice what can be practiced, and what can't be practiced will shine through.
You can't pull on the flower heads, to make the plant grow any faster, can you?
You can't force the world to be the way you want it to be, or yourself.
It's funny, it's like a sideshow, this polishing the mirror, this practicing what can be done. And yet, it's the real deal too.
When we do these exercises, where do we do them from? We open to what is, we open to our true nature, we open to our experience. And we practice from there, from that experience, on the basis and within and from that .....
It permeates our experience, like a memory, or resonance. It imbues what we do with the flavour of what truly is, our very nature, the nature of all ....
Allow the sun to shine .. step out of the way, with our dark clouds of desire and ill-will.
And see that the clouds are the sun itself :-)