Pursuing a spiritual life can sometimes seem like a trap.
And it is, if you’re like me, and you easily forget what it really means to lead a spiritual life. We get trapped into these ideas, about the way things are supposed to be when we are “spiritual.”
And then life happens—and we wonder why we are still reacting as if we’d never set out on this journey in the first place.
What I mean by that is that we still resort to automated habitual tendencies and we find ourselves suffering when things don’t go our way. To make matters worse, we blame ourselves for not being spiritual enough, “No spiritual person would still be this immature,” we say to ourselves.
If you forget to do something important, the next chance you get, you try a littler harder to remember. Well, the next chance is always happening now. We can’t control where we are in this moment, by the time we perceive this moment it’s already gone.
What’s important to remember is that we’re constantly sowing the seeds for our future by how we are meeting with what the moment brings.
So you’re not reacting to this moment with clarity and grace? So what! Get over it. Get over yourself—you’re not enlightened yet, and why should you be?
It’s only when you put yourself on some sort spiritual pedestal that you get upset for not living up to your ideal about how perfect you should be. “But I’ve been on so many retreats—I should be over this by now!”
Do you see how the story continues to spin out? Are you ready to drop it?
When you drop the story, you drop the idea of there being a doer. When there is no doer there is no judgment, there is no disappointment. There is nothing supposed to be happening.
When we can reconnect with this, we see that this moment is perfect already.
The only problem was with the layers we had stacked onto it, the layers of liking and disliking—the layers of judgment. These layers only serve to separate us from the rest of the world, and it’s that feeling of separation that makes us suffer.
So this is an invitation—a reminder, to pay attention. Just try to see the world as it is, and stay with the experiencing rather than getting wrapped up in the experienced. We are suffocating in the details of life.
We go through our life only seeing what we like and what we don’t like. We want more of this, less of that, and we believe if we could just change a few things, we’d finally be happy. I’ll let you in a on a little secret—that day will never come.
This might sound depressing, but it’s actually a huge relief!
You don’t have to change anything, you don’t have to wait for all your hard work to pay off. You can just fall backwards into the moment and know that everything is perfect already.
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Well, it is great, but just like everything else in life, it doesn’t last. You can catch a few moments here and there, and then you spin-off into the mind again. Before you realize what’s happened, you’re back in your story.
You’ve cast yourself as the hero (and the victim) and you’re lost in the battle of trying to make sense of it all. Stop trying to make sense of life—it will never happen!
Just come back.
That is your job.
Keep coming back to the moment as it is, and when you lose it, just gently come back again.
When the judgment arises, just notice it, and let it go. Just accept that the mind will always judge everything, including you, and it will try to trick you into believing that you’re not good enough, or you’re not spiritual enough.
Don’t believe it!
Just stick to the practice, and come back to this capacity to see and hear and know. Stay within the blessing of awareness, it’s the greatest gift you’ve been given. We say life is hard, that it’s full of suffering. But there is no suffering in life, only in the resistance to life.
We must pay attention if we want to be free. Not to the details—don’t send your mind out to the perceived.
Just stay with the perception, stay with the seeing, the hearing, the knowing. In that moment, when there is only the experience of perceiving without judgment, you will feel a fullness of life within you that is not separate from anything else in the universe.
And in that place, there is no need to be “spiritual” anymore, there is no path and there is no one to walk it. Welcome home.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Jess Sheppard/Editor: Catherine Monkman