Every report card I ever received as a child had the word enthusiasm in the comments section.
Perhaps my teachers were trying to find kind wording to describe my hypermanic classroom tendencies.
Yes, a loud, opinionated passion has always been my way. And I am fine with that because it can feel amazing to be enthusiastic. Sometimes my enthusiasm even spills over and becomes exuberance.
At the beginning of my spiritual awakening journey, I was terribly excited (exuberant even?) about what I was learning. I was reading about the Law of Attraction, and pouring through Buddhist texts at breakneck speed. I was searching for some type of understanding for how this whole darn being alive in a mysterious universe thing works, and I was finding answers that really turned me on.
Answers that turned my mind on—and turned my mouth on.
I thought that through my studies I knew exactly what all the answers were. In hindsight, I can see that I wanted to be sure I knew exactly what all the answers were in a misguided attempt to soothe my anxiety.
Can you see yourself in that last line? Do you know the feeling of needing to have a definite spiritual answer to life’s confusions in an attempt not to feel so scared, lonely, or anxious?
At the beginning of my spiritual awakening, I was annoying.
I don’t say this with any type of self-disdain toward myself. I say this with humor. I was just a newbie who was enthused, and running at the mouth about her definite beliefs to anyone who would listen.
It was my way of trying to make sense of very new concepts that were opening my mind and heart rapidly.
I was scared—so I also needed to be 100 percent right.
Now, even though I blog, teach, and post on spiritual guidance all the time, I feel much less sure that I know anything.
The more I dig into my own consciousness and have the great honor of working with the energy of other people’s experiences, the whole mysterious workings of the universe seem way bigger and more complicated than I will ever understand.
I see that all the words out of my mouth are only feeble attempts to describe a sense of order that probably barely exists, and even within its existence there are so many strands that are invisible to my human eye that I will never be able to truly speak of them—let alone conceive of them.
The trajectory of spiritual awakening seems to be one of moving from, “I know nothing,” to, “I know everything,” back to, “I absolutely know nothing,” and finally to, “It’s such a relief that there is nothing to know.”
Our spiritual discoveries and openings will provide us with an opportunity to empty out if we let it.
When we feel like we need to fill up with more knowledge, more effort, more assuredness, there is some sense that we need to protect ourselves.
But there is no protection. There is just this moment as it is.
When we cling too tight to our spiritual beliefs as a means of providing safety to our journey, we close ourselves off to the great mystery.
When we embrace, “I don’t know” as a truth to guide us, we can become more open—we might even see more of the world than we thought possible.
If you are using spiritual teachings to try to know more or be more or be better, it might be worth asking yourself the question: why? What are you trying to accomplish? The opportunity to know less, be less, and try to protect ourselves less will always bring us back to the great opportunity of mindfulness, which is just being here now, in this moment, with all its innate vulnerability, as it is.
Author: Ruth Lera
Image: Elephant Journal/Instagram
Editor: Travis May
Copy & Social Editor: Nicole Cameron