I overheard someone complaining about having to take a lengthy spiritual path. “Why does it have to be so hard? Why can’t I just get enlightened like Eckhart Tolle? Just sit on a park bench for a couple years then – ZAM! – get hit with enlightenment.”

Most of us are not hit with enlightenment like some lightning bolt from a Universal Intelligence. Most of us have to schlump along, lesson by lesson, until we have enough lessons under our belts that it starts coming together. At the times when our schlumping seems all uphill, that lightning bolt, though kind of scary, sounds pretty attractive.

But the problem with the lightning bolt of enlightenment is that it often doesn’t last because the basics underlying that enlightenment aren’t fully grasped. It’s like having an incredible natural singing talent. That talent can get you pretty far. But without the knowledge of how to use your instrument properly, you’re likely to burn it out and limit what you can do with it. Lightning bolt enlightenment can be ungrounded, elusive, and insubstantial when it comes to living life through its lens.

Another problem with instant enlightenment is that it’s hard to express and even harder to explain. Think about the things at which you are an expert. You can probably teach someone those areas of expertise that you learned step by step. But what about those areas of innate genius? The capabilities you were just born with and that seem so inherent to you? Aren’t those more difficult to teach or even put into words?

For example, in my life I’ve had an innate ability to create new companies. I also have the ability to see the entire big picture, to be a visionary. Having a vision and having the ability to transform that vision into a reality are two different talents; many people have one or the other, but not both. Envisioning a project is very natural and easy for me.

Explaining that vision to someone who thinks very differently than I do isn’t simple at all. I’ve learned through the years that it takes time to get others to understand the vision so they are on board and in alignment with it and the end results I envision. Because being a visionary comes so easily to me, I can’t say that I’ve been able to teach someone who is not naturally a visionary to become one. But because putting together a company is a step-by-step process, I’ve been able to teach others how to do that.

So schlumping along the path, taking it step by step, turns out to be more reliable and highly beneficial. The learning runs deep, especially during those uphill climbs. Be patient – the path to enlightenment is as only as long as it needs to be.