For most of us, it’s the desire to end struggle that brings us to the spiritual path.
We want well-being, abundance, love, and a world at peace.
We don’t want the grind. We’re tired of the struggle.
There’s wisdom in this impulse.
It’s fueled not just by irritation and exhaustion, but also by rememberance. We remember those sacred moments when life was struggle-free. When the sense of dissatisfaction and tension of resistance dissolved.
It’s important to remember these experiences, to breathe them in, to allow these nourishing memories to dissolve into a present-moment experience of Presence, to rest in the inherent well-being that is ever-present.
This is important but not sufficient to follow the path of awakening.
It’s also important to explore how you struggle.
It’s important to become a student of your dissatisfaction, tension, and confusion.
There are clues in both the sacred and struggling experiences of your life; clues to your unique path and practice of awakening.
Your path is your life.
The practice is listening deeply to your life. This is meditation.
Meditation isn’t just a relaxation technique (though most of us need some relaxing).
Meditation is the practice of:
Listening to the call of your heart
Opening to the guidance of this moment
Embodying the Radiance in thought, speech, action
Through the practice of meditation you discern your path.
You see that when the Presence breaks through your conditioned pattern it infuses your being—with pure feeling states.
You see that in your most sacred moments, you let those feeling states bathe the cells of your body and the petals of your mind.
You see that your most intense struggling, is fueled by a deep, authentic longing for communion with the Presence.
The pure feeling states that arise in moments of blessing and that you long for in moments of struggle are not random. These feeling states are for you.
They complete and heal you.
That’s why your most sacred and struggling moments are so profound and why they return again and again. They return to remind you of what matters most:
What your soul most deeply needs to experience, and
What you are here in this life to embody and share.
Your life is designed for your awakening.
In the mystical tradition, life is described as a lover who is always responding to bring to you what you really want in the way that you are able to receive it.
Notice the phrase—in the way that you are able to receive it.
Life is responding. It’s up to us to open.
Of course, we say we’d rather receive the blessings in the form of sacred moments. But, the truth is, we all have our fair share of struggles.
Why is that?
This is where spiritual practice gets nitty and gritty.
We’ve been conditioned by biology and culture to turn away from our struggles. To medicate, destroy, subdue, and incinerate them.
Some people even try to meditate their struggles away.
But, there’s no “away” in the spiritual life.
Everything is included.
There’s nowhere to send those parts of the psyche that we don’t want. Everything is to be embraced, ennobled, and enshrined in the Wisdom Heart of your being.
There are blessings in both your sacred and suffering moments.
In one there was alignment—whether by chance or choice. Conditions were right and you felt the Radiance lighting up your being, your heart, your mind, your actions, and your world.
You were connected and awake to the full spectrum of being.
In struggling moments, you were caught in the currents of self-doubt, the tensions of contradictory impulses, and the suffering of trying to exile parts of your being. This inner struggle creates psychological static that obscures your capacity to hear the call of true self and follow its guidance.
What can you do when the static arises?
Don’t try to make the struggle stop (that only aggravates and intensifies the struggle).
Receive the struggle as you would a lost friend.
Embrace the struggle as you would a hurt child.
Allow the struggle come to rest in its own time (when you are still, open, and gentle this will happen sooner than you think).
Author: Eric Klein
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: original illustration by Eric Klein