Why The Spiritual Path Is So Hard
In this blog post I want to share with you why the spiritual path is so very hard. There is one primary reason and that is buried, emotional pain. Buried emotional pain is at the root of our behaviour patterns and as such, is the layer that needs to be uncovered.
And thatâ€™s the hard part â€“ uncovering this layer. Or rather, layers, in the plural. As they say, like an onion, you peel off one layer at a time.
The emotional denial is itself a behaviour pattern, and one that keeps us in an illusion of being safe or liked or accepted or approved of. Our belief is that if we were to be just be ourselves, we would be rejected or disliked. This is totally understandable since there is for most, experiences that occur in childhood where this belief is quite logically arrived at. We had a tantrum, or we said something for eg, and the reaction from another was pretty damning and judgmental, so we put up and shut up. This becomes a way of life, but underneath the pain festers quietly.
Since this escape mechanism becomes, in effect, an unconscious part of our make-up, to do anything different rocks our whole boat. We feel that we would rather even die than have the pain show up (this is the feeling we may have, I am not saying we would necessarily do that, though many do). In fact we so often hear about suicide cases of people who feel they have â€˜lost face.â€™ Or alternatively, weâ€™d rather be depressed than face ourselves.
David Icke – Ridiculed
Another example that comes to mind is David Icke. Visitors to this blog may well already know of him, and even keep an eye on what he has to say. For those that donâ€™t know, David Icke had spiritual experiences over 30 years ago and has written many books about the Illuminati, Reptilians, and basically uncovering Truth. However when he first awoke in the 1970s, he used words like the â€˜Son of Godâ€™ to refer to himself and started wearing turquoise everywhere (do you remember those jump suits!) When he went on interviews at that time or gave talks, he was overtly laughed at by the audience. It is at this point that some would have committed suicide, or gone and hid somewhere. Not many people can withstand such ridicule. But David grew strong. He said to one packed audience who were laughing at him for many minutes at the start of his talk, something about whoâ€™s the laughing stock given theyâ€™d paid good money to hear him talk. I like that. I like that confidence. I like that expression of reality. I saw him speak in the 1980s and it was a great eye-opening evening at the time, by then he had grown a following, and now, even more so.
Without digressing too much, the point is that the fear of ridicule is almighty. And itâ€™s not just fear of ridicule (although this is a most fundamental fear that the ego works to keep at bay), it is many fears and concerns, such as fear of being disapproved of, fear of being disliked, fear of seeming weak and so on. Like I said, we would rather lie, steal, be hypocrites, kill and even die themselves than take responsibility for what arises from within ourselves. We would rather do this because we do not accept that our inner conflicts arise from us. There is usually an underlying belief that it is outside circumstances or people that have CAUSED our pain. I mean, just watch your thoughts for a day. Or even a moment. Youâ€™ll be surprised at how definitive your beliefs and judgments are.
These unconscious beliefs need conscious inner work to unravel and only then can accountability for ourselves occur. This is almost universal when I work with counselling clients. It was how I released my stuff too. It is pretty much the first step on the healing (freedom) path â€“ the unravelling of our closely guarded beliefs.
Allowing Emotion Is Not Easy
The next step is allowing emotion. We deny emotion to our own detriment. Sure, as long as we donâ€™t follow through with emotions too â€˜rawly,â€™ we keep safe and sound (no one calls us names, or gets angry with us, or tries to ridicule us), but are we really happy like this? To me, thatâ€™s the insanity of the human condition, that we would rather be unhappy than self-expressed and free. Actually, the insanity is that we as we ignore emotion, we believe we they have gone and think weâ€™re happy. This is where we need to challenge ourselves and ask: If there is inner conflict, blame, judgment and fear, then am I happy? And can you say that there ISNâ€™T inner conflict going on?
Happiness is not a constant, it is not a permanent fixture that does not change, it is not an emotion or a feeling. Happiness is beyond feelings. Happiness is not getting too hung up on your feelings. If you examine your feelings and thoughts in any moment, you will discover there are always opposing thoughts and evaluations (almost always of life in relation to yourself) going on. Thus, to seek a constant within a non-constant state is not possible, and thus a futile effort. Not only that, to seek happiness through DECIDING you are happy, is to live a fantasy life where your real life is passing by unnoticed. Like I learnt from Jiddu Krishnamurti, the word tree (or happiness) is not the same thing as the actual tree (or happiness) itself. Thus telling yourself youâ€™re happy is not happiness.
So What IS Happiness?
Happiness is realizing the difference between the word happiness (decision to be happy, or telling yourself you are happy) and happiness itself.
In terms of happiness itself, to me, it is peace of mind and the joy of simply being. When we are at peace, we can truly listen to another (listening is love), we can be there for another without our ego getting in the way, we can be free. Free to be who we are, free to be funny, free to be sad, free to be okay with whatever arises, free to see another for WHO THEY ARE (and not who we judge them to be â€“ something which is in any case limited by our own lack of awareness) â€“ In the end, free to just be.
But we donâ€™t get there without work. Inner work.
And the trick to doing it? You just need to call a spade a spade. And what does this mean? It means TEARS. There are only two choices. Open up and heal, or delay healing. Up to you. Ali G was right in this regard â€“ you have to Get Real! And the impact of not doing this? Iâ€™ll borrow Jiddu Krishnamurtiâ€™s words:
“If you do not follow somebody you feel very lonely. Be lonely then. Why are you frightened of being alone? Because you are faced with yourself as you are and you find that you are empty, dull, stupid, ugly, guilty and anxious – a petty, shoddy, secondhand entity. Face the fact; look at it, do not run away from it. The moment you run away fear begins.”
Okay, So Do I HAVE To Cry?
Yes, yes and yes. (When tears come, that is – no need to force them, if you are open to healing, don’t worry they will come.)
When sadness arises just donâ€™t suppress it. Let it live. Let it have some fresh air. The port thing is suffocating inside and each time it tries to surface for some life-giving air, you stuff it down inside again. But if you are committing to your own healing and awakening then allow it all.
You see, thereâ€™s a boiling point. You can only keep it quietly warm for so long â€“ and it isnâ€™t going to disappear that way. The saucepan has a finite space. So what happens when it starts to boil is that you are presented with a choice to heal yourself, and if you make this choice, the water (emotion) evaporates (transmutes). This water is your tears. And these tears will evaporate, but they need to be cried (boiled) out.
Thatâ€™s why they say suffering is an great opportunity and it is exactly so. A real opportunity to get to know yourself a bit better. Did you know that ordinarily we donâ€™t actually even know ourselves, yet we think we not only know ourselves but everyone else too! If we want to talk about ridicule, then this is the most ridiculous way of being! Just ask yourself: do you know what your feelings are at this very moment? We truly have to wake up to our ego.
So if youâ€™re experiencing some kind of emotional onslaught, or you just woke up one day and it felt dark, then take heart. This is an essential experience, for we all hold inner pain that must be released. Go get some help or help yourself. You are worth it!
The trouble with our society is that it sees emotion as bad, whilst actually what it should see it as is a very healing process occurring, and one that needs to be supported. Itâ€™s totally lopsided because much emotion is held on this planet and needs releasing. When emotion is fully embraced, lasting healing occurs in an instant. If views towards inner healing and the inner dimension soften, there would be less emotional pain as it will get released and transmuted, and there would be more peace and happiness everywhere. The welcome result of healing yourself is that anger and hardness directed at yourself, soften and evaporate, and thus you naturally feel more compassion for others.
Emotion is a most important topic without a direct understanding of which no spiritual path could become lighter and brighter.
My Own Journey
For myself, itâ€™s been over three years since what I have readily called Spiritual Awakening occurred. Prior to that, I was the last person to be emotionally open yet the first person to insist I was so. You get the picture? I hated criticism and btw, donâ€™t even mention ridicule, I totally resisted any feelings of being laughed at…I remember many a sleepless night just worrying about what someone thought of me, or how I wished I had said it differently. Can you relate? I wanted to insist to the outside world that I had a most happy and successful life yet I was so mightily stressed inside! Laughable now as I look back, but excruciatingly painful at the time. Yet all the while I went round with a smile on my face as if everything was FINE. Youâ€™ve got to love the human will!
So I had this emotional onslaught, and it was one I couldnâ€™t just ignore because it was relentless. Being the stubborn old fool I was, an onslaught was the only way I could develop awareness of the ego racket I had going on. In seeing ego, I also saw that since I was able to SEE it, then I could not BE it. After all, if I could see it then who or what was seeing all of this? That which I was observing (ego) was being observed. This awareness is our saviour. No amount of praying to God or attending a religious institution on your holy day, will enable you to get this â€“ unless you choose to walk your inner healing path.
When the Divine aspect of life becomes real in your life, it occurs through the acceptance of your own shadow self (the warts). Truth embraces it all, not just the good bits. Thus, we too have to embrace all of us, and love ourselves IN SPITE OF all that is not love (our hatreds, guilt, judgment etc). Because we ARE Truth! Thus to deny any aspect of ourselves is to deny Truth. And so it is, that it all makes sense in the end, and direct understanding arises from within our own Self.
I have sometimes wondered why it was that I was to get to know emotion so well in this lifetime. Given that I come from a culture where emotion is seen as weakness (in fact this is planetary not just cultural), it was the last road I wanted to travel. Anything but that, please… And then I saw in my own Soul Plan Readingthat I was destined to experience great emotional challenges. And indeed, such has been my life! It also said I would experience direct Soul Consciousness or Truth. And that too, has been my recent life!
Thus, I became acquainted with my own emotion. Itâ€™s been some journey. One welcome result was that the consuming drama of inner chatter (mine or anotherâ€™s) lost its attraction. The downside is that what people usually talk about with each other seems a waste of time to me! The â€˜he said, then she saidâ€™ type of excitement has become boring to me : – )
What is far more exciting is healing and doing the inner work.
Donâ€™t get me wrong I get into drama when it concerns issues that arise in my life from what I call the system at large â€“ eg worries to do finances. But it passes quickly and the inner work gets done â€“ albeit still intensely â€“ fairly quickly. The thing about suffering is to realize that it always passes.
The point of awakening occurs when the pretence shatters. The egoâ€™s small victories lose their satisfaction. Truth is preferred over mental fantasy and belief. Once you take this initial step to allow your life to finally become real, everything you have buried within you, will eventually surface. Thatâ€™s the deal you make with the Universe: the price of Truth is that you will travel places youâ€™d rather not go to. And if you take this courage then you will go beyond those places into a much lighter space.
It never ceases to amaze me however how right bang in the middle of deep pain there arises freedom, a sense of ego-lessness, and a better fit in oneâ€™s skin. A sudden light at the end of the tunnel. You are changed by the very experience of allowing emotion out. So simple, really. And perfectly logical. Suffering frees you from suffering. So said Jiddu Krishnamurti. Itâ€™s then that healing has already occurred. Of course, there are always more layers of the onion, and I am not sure if anyoneâ€™s work is ever done until one is no longer operating within the cycle of births and deaths.
So just to recap (I know I can ramble on and on), next time tears threaten, let them have their way, okay. They wonâ€™t kill you! Oh, and that goes for men too : – )
Comments, as always, welcome.
Love & Light,