It is great to heal our emotional pain. It is freeing to quieten the egoic mind. It is wonderful to learn yoga and meet spiritual masters. It is exhilarating to practice meditation and feng shui. It is liberating to read spiritual literature, to appreciate everything, and to float in a flotation tank, but sometimes we suffer from too-much-itis.
Rather than going on a spiritual journey, we often go on a spiritual race. Early in my spiritual life, I was plagued by a not so helpful enthusiasm. I read the works of philosophers, psychologists, metaphysicians, saints, and scientists. Everywhere I searched I encountered a teaching that disagreed with something I just read. I pushed myself harder to discover truth and to reconcile opposites.
One day, I collapsed – figuratively speaking. I was one tired seeker; so I retired. I no longer cared whether I needed to surrender or to take charge. I couldn’t care less whether I should be meek or expressive. I didn’t care about the existential dilemmas of life. I quit trying to be positive about everything. I stopped being hyper-vigilant about word usage, and expended my lexicon beyond only spiritual or life affirming words. No more figuring out if my desires were egoic or if they had come as God’s will.
At the time, I had stopped trying to be successful. I thought that would cure me, but then I fell into the trap of becoming a successful spiritual person. Obviously the solutions weren’t “out there” in the world, so I plumbed the depths of the inner world. But life didn’t get better. It was more confusing. Some days were better than others, but mostly my life got heavier and I felt desperate.
I never thought this could happen. Ten years before I experienced an extraordinary awakening, but here I was, asleep again, and going faster and faster, so I could recapture Nirvana.
Now, there was to be absolutely no mental agenda. I was finished. I would drink mint juleps on the patio and turn into a lazy, brainless person. I closed the books, stopped listening to my cassette tapes (no mp3s at that time), and started watching the soap opera I had previously abandoned.
A friend commented, “You look so relaxed. I was worried about you. You looked burdened before. What are you doing?” “Nothing.” I replied “I quit reading all my books and gave up searching for the truth.” Until he pointed it out, I was unaware of the shift in my energy. I was feeling lighter. I had more energy and felt happy. My too-much-itis was in remission.
The spiritual path is delicate, fraught with mysteries and seeming inconsistencies. Sometimes we have to do something different, take a chance and move forward, and at other times we have to back down. I had been trying to attain a state of consciousness, rather than being awake to the transcendental awareness of the okayness of life as it was. In that okayness my identity rested, waiting only for me to recognize my Self.
Since that experience of too-much-itis, I have ceased being an avid seeker. I don’t respond optimally when well-meaning people tell me how to do spirituality. I find myself contracting when people try to teach or advise me, and shiver to think of the times I’ve given tepid, unsolicited advice. When I was in the spiritual race, I probably wanted others racing alongside me.
So many people believe the spiritual journey is hard and it takes supreme effort. The spiritual path is littered with pseudo martyrs who wear their hardships like a badge of courage. The idea of endless burden and difficulty is wrong. The less I do, the more I have. I’ve found that it’s easier to love than hate, easier to forgive than hold resentments, easier to surrender than to control, and that our Source doesn’t jerk us around - plaguing us with harder and harder tasks until we pass the test of fire. The spiritual quest is a journey without distance, and we no longer need to be the sacrificial lambs of outmoded beliefs. We are free now. We don’t have to earn a place in the annals of spiritual masters; all we really have to do is love what we can, forgive what we can’t love, and be willing to surrender what we can’t forgive. It’s simple. There are leagues of unseen support we can’t even fathom.
When we stand grounded in the belief that the spiritual path is hard, we will be tested again and again, by ourselves, not by our creator. I’m asking you to stand down and consider that our expectation of difficulty continuously obscures the pristine Presence available in this moment. Are you willing for life to be EZier than you thought it was? Can you let go of the complex, complicated, burdensome perception of life and claim your freedom, because if you can, you will find that life will be EZier and EZier