One event that cut into my memory from the times I was at the University was an accident that happened during the winter of my first year. A senior student was waiting at the bus stop when a truck lost control on the icy road and hit her. She had a bag of oranges with her, they got scattered all around, in the snow.
I wasn’t a witness, friends told me what happened, but it got through. For some reason it was those oranges, somehow, that underlined the suddenness, the speed with which the end of this life can come.
And yet, after that I spent many years playing largely dissatisfying games. I studied things that had not only no relevance to life but, more importantly, very limited truth in them.
I learned wonderful therapeutic tools in various streams of “psychotherapy of the new wave” as it was then called, and used them to fit better into the society that was already very unwell.
Later I switched to playing games within a spiritual community who had amazing awakened teachers as their founders, remembered them fondly and studied their words religiously, while emphasising the need for everyone to remain sweet and comfortable.
And those oranges just lay there, in the back of my mind, ignored, shunned from the light by the engaging kaleidoscope of the world, waiting.
Today, when the world as we knew it is so quickly disintegrating before our very eyes, it feels surreal to me that I could spend decades doing things like that. Urgency is screaming from all corners of the earth. Yet each of us must travel through the blocks and hurdles that were erected on our path before we were even born, from what it seems, so that we can learn something while trying to get to where we are really supposed to be.
When I was drawn into Sufism, it felt like coming to “my people.” If you have ever had the feeling of something so familiar as if you knew it from a past life, it was like that. I followed the flow of my inner guidance and met a teacher in a branch of a Chistia lineage.
Since then, it has been almost 25 years of studying, later teaching, and doing the healing work in the spirit of service. It is, I believe, service that all this “spiritual progress” is about: getting the person to the point when they see that everything and anything real that they can do is for others. Ideally, one becomes able to do that on the finer planes as well, but any service is good as long as it is from the heart. It is one of the best games available to us here.
I learned, and continue to learn, a lot from the Sufis. I don’t think there will be a moment where one could say that one has received everything there is to receive, the depths of that teaching go far beyond what we normally consider to be human knowledge.
That cannot be said about spiritual organisations. I am yet to meet any organised body that is not veering, one way or another, in the opposite direction, encouraging the unreal in people.
The total undoing of all our stories, ideas, beliefs that happens when we begin opening to the Reality is bound to step on the toes of the daintiness that so many in the Western world today seem to take for the sign of spiritual advancement.
The sweetness on a spiritual path arises as the result, not as a process. The true process is showing you the oranges scattered in snow every single moment – at least until one can perceive that there were never any oranges there at all.