Tag Archive | spiritual path

The Stages of the Path

A spiritual path is not chosen.  It is given to everyone.  Every single one of us has the chance to journey inward to our highest self, or remain trapped in the machinations of the seemingly unfixable external world.  Honestly, I’m not comfortable with either, but the inward path, while currently quite painful, makes more sense to me than anything that unfolds in the world.

The first stage is recognizing that we are more than our bodies.  That part is easy.  Once our self-identified egos realize that we are open to the Truth beyond our personal selves, this is where it becomes treacherous.  Most of us abandon the path at the first sign of trouble.  That is okay.  Whatever you do or don’t do aligns perfectly with however the eventual awakening of the planet happens.  Do not worry one bit if going inward hurts too much because believe me, it does.  Maybe some day you will be ready, maybe some day you won’t, you are perfect right where you are at.  As much as I’ve tried to avoid going beyond the self, it hurts me more not to.  So, I keep going, one painful step at a time.  On to the next stage…

This is where you understand that there are two thought systems in your mind.  One that is full of judgment, blame, guilt, fear, comparison, lack…these all are personal self-ways to stay mired in the story of life.  The other thought system is LOVE.  This isn’t love in the traditional sense (as related to a personal self or selves).  This love doesn’t transform the outer world, this is the love that transcends it.  Very different.  This is the love that accepts the world exactly as it is because it is beyond the world.  This probably doesn’t make a lot a sense, that’s the trap built into it.  It seems to make no sense to keep the personal self denying the Truth. Even slightly entertaining the thought of something beyond the self might make you angry, upset or spark a myriad of malaise and maladies.  If it seems like too much trouble, then it is.  Let it go and if being a self in the world works for you, then keep going as you are.  Nothing to change, nothing to do, all is well.  However, if something inside you is recognizing even a tiny speck of the truth beyond the veil of the world, then you might make it your life’s work to consciously discern from the two thought systems in your mind.  If you do this, it is the hardest work you will ever do.  Your personal self will fight you tooth and nail.  It will be subtle, sneaky, overt, mean, seductive, and whatever else it can throw at you to keep you engaged in its story.  The personal self knows if you are outwardly focused on making the story of your life different, better, shinier… then you don’t have to do the work of letting it all go.

The next stage is the letting go part.  I’m not there yet so all I can write about is what I imagine this to look like.  This is where the thought system of love wins all the time.  There is no need or desire to change the self, the world or anyone or anything all.  This is where we are liberated from thinking we need to change anything about ourselves.  There is nothing wrong with us.  The only idea that is wrong is that we believe something that isn’t true.  We are more than our bodies.  Believing we aren’t is the source of all our pain, separation and angst.  However, I will say this again, if you are at peace with the story of your life and the world as is, it is okay to stick with it.  On the other hand, if something feels off or like you will never quite belong here, maybe consider the inward path.

I used to think that it was all up to me.  It’s not.  It is inevitable.  We all awaken in our own time and at our own pace.  This I know for sure.

“The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”

-Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

The Buddha Heart

Having experienced the beyond-ness of all-that-is (which is something you can’t know until you do), I spend much effort trying to make sense of it.  My goal used to be enlightenment, but now it simply is to end my internal struggle.

“‘Enlightenment’ is just a spiritual concept. It’s just one more thing to seek in a future that never comes.”

-from A Mind at Home with Itself by Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell (and quotes below)

I am relieved that there is no goal to attain.  Any goal we imagine for ourselves is simply a way to stay married to the dream of our seeming existence.  The present moment is gone as soon as we notice it.  Goals are equally elusive…gone as soon as they appear to be realized.

“If you’re trying to monitor your progress on your spiritual path—if you think you have any idea how far along you are—you might want to save yourself the trouble.  There’s no attainment, because you already are what you want to become.”

As I am adjusting my mindset to the letting go of not only enlightenment, but all the concepts my mind appears to create, the conflict within me remains fierce.  However, suffering has a purpose.

“Suffering is what creates buddhas.”

Therefore I remain steadfast on my journey towards freedom knowing I have no goal, timeline or ‘right’ thoughts to think.  I only have to let the dream unfold.  If the dream is painful I give thanks.  If the dream is joyful I give thanks.  I give thanks to all and to everything until I don’t even do that.

What remains after that is truth.