|Remembering my Blessings! Beauty and inspiration surround me here.|
Being at peace, finding contentment and following your bliss are all high spiritual ideals. They are wonderful states to contemplate. Just thinking in such terms evokes an emotional gestalt for me that I can only describe as "the warm fuzzies". But practically speaking, is it likely that such states can be achieved and maintained in this frantic, chaotic and fast paced world we inhabit? There are tools like yoga and meditation that can help. There is mindfulness, immersion in the present without the nagging voice of memory prattling in your ear or, either anticipation or anxiety about the future distracting you. Nice if you can manage it, but difficult in a world of deadlines and hectic schedules. Certainly, we all encounter people who are very "spiritual", who seemingly have it all together and just radiate their Love and Harmony to everyone they meet. Some of them are even genuine. More power to those. Spiritual attainment is hard work. You can't just meditate and think good thoughts. More often, this spiritual realization comes as the result of years of effort, of divesting oneself of the very human accoutrements of greed, desire, selfishness and pettiness, of being willing to look back over life, and both release and heal all that has occurred in the past. All of this requires that we both See ourselves for all that we are and have been, and that we find it in us to forgive ourselves also.
There are no magic shortcuts to Enlightenment, nor are there easy Paths to get there. There are plenty of folks out there who offer these very same though. It is true, however, that nothing truly worth having comes easily or cheaply. So, if this book or DVD, or that course and teacher promise to set you on a path to realization, what do you choose? Each of us is ultimately left to discern for ourselves what coin we're willing to spend, and indeed, whether we want this spiritual aspect of being enough to make the required sacrifices. The Secret masked by all of the religious and philosophical Mysteries throughout the ages, isn't really a secret at all in my view. To embark upon a Path of spiritual attainment requires your readiness for same, and your absolute and unwavering intent that it be so. That is all. However, until you have reached that point, it all remains a great Mystery indeed.
Now, anyone reading this has no way of knowing whether I have a clue about what I am speaking of, or not. That is perfectly alright with me. I have nothing to gain by making any of these statements or suppositions. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been privileged to attain some rather profound spiritual states in my life in the past, and I should very much like to begin moving in those directions again. Not that I ever ceased to struggle in these very directions, mind you, but it has been a struggle. More of one than I have been up for in a very long while now. Life, with all of its insistent demands and cares, has kept me mired in what I can only call deep earth energies― not quite Hell, but all too often this world's equivalent. Perhaps it is Time though for me to Seek the Light again, and perhaps I am supposed to take along any who care to follow in this instance. Having achieved certain levels of what I suppose I'll call Enlightenment not just once, but on several different occasions, there are those who may rightly wonder why I did not maintain that exalted state, and why I do not now consider myself anywhere near it.
I know a lot― about the processes involved in pursuing a spiritual path, about what sacrifices need to be made and how to go about making them, and about maintaining an outlook that is congruent with spiritual attainment. But I no longer Know these things. In other words, I lack the knowingness or understanding that transforms information into Awareness and Transcendence. In every instance that I have reached one of these spiritual plateaus, I have been given a choice. The choice is whether to continue along the Path, to become free of the need for incarnation in the physical form, or to go back into the World, to be plunged once more into the mundane and from that vantage, assist others to move toward their own freedom from the mortal veil. Though I could often as not kick myself during the in between, there is no real choice. When your Heart and Eyes are wide open, Service to Spirit is the only possible action. Your Will, God, not mine...
And in between, you forget. You forget how to Be and you forget the reasons you are doing what you are. Awareness returns oh so slowly, and if you are not careful, you will be consumed by despair when you do begin to remember. Spirituality, like almost everything in life, is cyclical. There are mountains and valleys, and when you walk through the Valley of the Shadow, it is very difficult to recall the view from those lofty peaks you have since quitted. I have been in one of those valleys for a very long while now. I have wondered when it would be Time to begin the climb again, and sometimes felt hopeless that it ever should occur. But I have felt stirrings in my Heart of late, and the beginnings of Memories more substance than phantasm.
I have not been particularly happy or hopeful of late, but my broken wrist is healing and life is resuming some sort of normalcy. I have still got a ways to go before I can resume many of the activities I love best. Though nearly every passing day brings some improvement, I am sorely lacking in the flexibility and coordination of my dominant left hand. Still, I have begun to get out in the yard and garden again, though I remain woefully behind even in a year when sunny Florida was a bit late at welcoming spring. The aches and pains which beset my body after a few hours spent in outdoor occupation remind me also how limited my activity level has been for the past two months. A week or so ago, I awoke one morning early with the very clear sense that I need to make some fundamental changes in my lifestyle. Now this was not some sort of divine revelation, not something that I did not already know on certain levels, but it was Insistent and quite vivid. Learning to listen to ones' inner voice, or Higher Self if you like, is one of the most important facets of spiritual realization. I will say that I am quite accomplished at listening, though I also remain a master at avoidance when the mood is upon me or if I don't like what I Hear.
What sort of changes do I need to make? Mostly ones that a great many people in our culture also need. More exercise― in my case, other than my usual activities, that would be resuming a long interrupted practice of Yoga. And meditating. Both of these things, while not required, facilitate spiritual growth as well as nurturing body and mind. Nutritionally, I have fallen into some bad habits these past few years. I have pretty much let my body have its own way. Like many others, it likes diet sodas, sugar and potato chips. Luckily for me, it is also enamored of fruits, vegetables and not so fond of lots of refined grains, so it is not so dour a challenge to make changes as it might be. In the past I have at times been vegetarian, vegan and even tried a macrobiotic diet for a short while. Do I think that is a necessity for someone pursuing spiritual growth? Not really, but I will perhaps discuss more on the subject at some later time.
Have I yet made any of these lifestyle modifications? No, at least not in a very comprehensive fashion. A few stretches. I pulled my yoga mat out of the closet and searched out my DVDs on same. I'm watching what I eat, but so far it's just watching. Will I make these alterations? I think so. Good nutrition, the discipline of an exercise regimen and meditation are all superlative tools for transformation. And a Seeker after any sort of spiritual accomplishment needs all the help available. Finally, it needs to be the right Time. We Seek because a spark is ignited in our Heart that will not allow us to do otherwise. We follow the path because to do aught else is a pain we cannot contemplate. I feel that call as I have not in many weary years, and it may take me awhile to hit my stride, but I will follow. And if I can be of assistance to any others along that Way, it shall be my privilege and blessing to do so.
Once more, the direction this blog is taking has surprised me. I have no idea where any of this is going just now, but for myself, all I can do is follow the Path of Heart.