I was watching a video once of a well-known, popular in the field of modern spirituality figure, and couldn’t help but feel some confusion, and a question rising inside.
The question was: what are we drawn to? In our spiritual pursuit, who attracts us, and why?
Do you remember what you expected when you were looking for a spiritual path, for a teacher? What did you want?
What if when you came, for the very first time, to your spiritual teacher-to-be, they told you that there is one thing you can be certain of if you genuinely start on the path.
It is that your life, as you know it, will fall apart. You will lose everything you believe in.
The projects you are passionate about will become empty of meaning. The life as you know it now, and as everyone you know knows it, will stop making any sense.
People you spend time with will cease to understand you. You will have to, most likely, find new friends.
What would you have done – stayed, or run away?
It seems sometimes – even usually – that this message gets lost somewhere. Perhaps not spoken, or simply not believed.
The details of the misery differ, of course, but don’t grasp at straws.
Does it have to be this way, is it unavoidable?
YES, IT DOES. It is.
If you came because you want to know the Reality, it does. That is why all traditions talk about unlearning.
The thing is, and I am sorry if this brings pain, that if you feel comfortable in your spirituality, it is a symptom of you either not moving on your path at all, or walking in circles on some safe plateau.
(A hint: if you see that the whole of your group is also happy and comfortable, that is highly likely a confirmation of exactly that.)
And that is totally ok – that is, if you are aware that that is what is happening.
Perhaps you don’t want your beliefs and identifications to be challenged right now. Or maybe you are adamant you wish to keep your beloved ideas about what is right and what is wrong. Or all you ever wanted is to become a “better person.”
But if you are comfortable, but still looking for That, then you have to find something else, other teachers, some other path, as whatever it is you are doing now is not working for you.
There is nothing worse than to stay engaged in a circle of cheerful hugging and supporting each other’s illusion, lost together in the fog on a beach, while believing one is on a ship at sea and perhaps is even just about to arrive… wherever it is you wish to arrive.
Either stop deceiving yourself that you are on some sort of “path” and engage wholeheartedly in some honest do-gooding, with added joyful friendliness, or truly, for real, make the choice. (If you do, Life with help you, promise!)
Why do you think that for centuries it was either monasteries or woods and caves that people left everyone and everything for, in search of Reality? Because it is almost impossible to keep our social contacts, all our engagements, to live “normal life” and break through into it.
Just because the times changed and the culture changed, doesn’t mean that the Reality&Illusion arrangement changed also.
There can again be a do-gooding and joyful friendliness at some point, but probably with different people. It is very rare even for a couple, let alone for a group of friends, to evolve at the same speed and in the same direction.
No tragedy there, everyone has the right to play their own games.
As long as we are aware what ours is, we are good.
*A version of this post first appeared on August 25, 2022 on Facebook