Got Enlightenment?

“If you think you’re enlightened spend a week with  your family.’ Ram Dass

Many years ago I was lucky enough to get to hear Ram Dass speak. This quote was his opening statement and when he delivered the words the whole room roared. His words came to mind a few days ago (Christmas Eve) when I witnessed a group of people who seemed to be entangled in their family ties. They were packed tight into a mini van- and judging by the head count it seemed to be a full house.  I was parked adjacent to them in a grocery store parking lot. I was there to pick up a few last minute stocking stuffers…. it looked like they had stopped for a different reason. As two young children, one elderly man, and a mid age female sat in the van, another man and woman stood alongside the car and engaged in what seemed to be a heated debate. I really didn’t want to watch, but there was a macabre curiosity that kept my eyes glued to the scene. As the couple grew increasingly animated in their discussion, the  van’s windows were starting to get that foggy look and my empathy for all of them was reaching full tilt. Then the couple abruptly turned away from one another and returned to their respective spots… he as driver and she in the front passenger seat. They both slammed their doors with exaggerated emphasis and I watched the van and its out-of-state plates amble away….

As the van turned onto the open street in my mind I could hear Ram Dass delivering his opening zinger….. “If you think you are enlightened, spend a week with your family…’