Spirituality or personal transformation is a path without short cuts. Living in a world which offers immediate gratification in every corner at any time, the tendency of most people is to take a break from it and wait for better times to come. The general belief is that we have to be strong and ready to endure the feelings and emotions that come with it. With this is mind no one is ever ready and yet we all are. I believe there is a great misunderstanding in the process of personal development, how it works and what to do with it. While no one can tell you how to go about it, there are certain truths that even though we all can point out, we choose to ignore. Here there is a list of things you might be avoiding. It is not that you are doing anything wrong, but you might want to take a closer look at your experience, why you might feel stuck and what to do about it in order to change this reality. This is not criticism in any way, but a way to help you understand what might be doing wrong. If at any point during the reading you feel uncomfortable with what you read. Stay with that feeling. A feeling is where you are at the moment and the more you feel it, the stronger you will become.
Getting lost in rituals: While I agree that finding the right environment and a place in which we can practice spirituality comfortably, lighting candles and burning more incense is not going to do the job. We must create the right atmosphere to reach the right mood in order to produce the right energy, but we must also be practical. Perhaps you are making your surroundings too beautiful and not paying enough attention to yourself. Giving too much attention to what's outside, might be getting you distracted from what is within. Within you will find all answers. A ritual should be an action that helps you to communicate with yourself, not a distraction.
Love and Light: There are many people for whom spirituality is only love and light. It is true that love and light is the purpose and the place where we all want to be permanently. However, by avoiding darkness we neglect to explore the uncomfortable feelings and emotions which hold all the answers in the end. We can only see light in darkness. Darkness is part of who we are. It does not mean we have to act upon it, but feel it. Show your light in darkness. Meet anger with love. Meet depression with love and so on and so on. There is nothing to be afraid of. We have been given a dark side so we can learn to balance it. This is not a celebration of darkness, but a nudge to embrace it. There is so much we can see in darkness.
You believe you are a follower: While it is important to get insights from others in the spiritual process, it is also essential that you expand on any new vision you embrace. Make it personal and flexible, by using your own experience, creativity and imagination you will get the results you are looking for. You are not a follower, but a leader. And I will keep repeating this throughout. You might be following this blog or not; but you are not following me. The knowledge I share is universal. What you read is only helping you to remember. That's all. When following someone, if they make you believe that you need their direction permanently they are creating an unnecessary dependency on their figure. The reason why you need to begin to think and feel like a leader is because you have to make your own decisions and find your own answers. Others can point out a direction, but in the end it is living the experience that would make a difference. It what others tell does not resonate with you, do not follow. Your intuition is the one true leader. It is time you listen to it if you have not so far. It is as wise as everyone else's.
You are not doing the work: It is human condition to get very excited when we decide to begin any process of personal transformation. Initially we look for the assistance of others. We might see someone privately, read books or attend courses, seminars or retreats. This is part of the work, but what happens in between meeting and meeting is essential in order to transform. Let's say that you have attended a retreat. You feel uplifted and hopeful that this feeling is going to be permanent. It is not. The reason you feel uplifted is because you did the work and you have been inspired by others, as well as from your own input and experience. If the retreat has been going on for a week, this means that you have engaged in different practices non-stop for that long. It is consistency what makes a difference. If we stop these practices and return to old habits, we are going to obtain the same old results. What you learn from an experience has to be continued. Don't wait until you next retreat, do it now.
Buying into new dogmas: Every experience opens every individual to a new truth. We are used to have a need to settle for a new truth too soon, as this is the way we have been taught to function. Somehow we are changing religion for a new spiritual dogma. There was a time in which humanity didn't question religion, as we don't question new beliefs. It is important to question everything. If the new dogma is limiting you in any way to express yourself freely in healthy ways, you might want to reconsider and perhaps expand on this new belief. Take the best of the new belief, mix it with what you already know and create your own belief and keep expanding on it. What works for others doesn't necessarily work for you. Personal transformation is about expansion. This is how you will give expression to your soul. Don't be defined by terms. Free yourself from everything that is established and just be.
You don't believe that change is possible: Perhaps your experience has conditioned you to believe that nothing good is going to come to you. This experience most certainly carries the echoes of the voices of a collective consciousness that tells us that better is not possible. Everything is possible and everything can change in just one second. While challenging the beliefs and ideas of others is a very healthy practice, the most important challenge we can face is that of our own beliefs. If you don't see immediate results, be patient, trust and believe. Be persistent until you see the results you want.
You are not having enough fun: Spirituality is a journey in which we have fun, not suffering. Most religions invite suffering as a way of living. The more we suffer now here, the more rewards we will get in the afterlife. This is a lie which has been very convenient for the church to control the masses in the past, and somehow the energy of this belief is still very strong in modern society. Anything that suggests you have to continue suffering is not a healthy path. Have fun instead, sing, play and dance. Open yourself to the pleasures in life. As long as your practices are healthy and you are taking care of yourself, any practice is spiritual. Running or walking are activities as spiritual as yoga or meditation.
There is another aspect which makes spirituality not work for most people. I will dedicate a new blog post to it next week, as it is very important. I believe that these six points will give you a new perception on how to see spirituality in a new light. For now there is only one more thing to say; the more you put into it, the more results you will get. And above all; do not forget to have fun. Responsibility, fun and humbleness.
The following blog post provides a useful tool to a life changing experience, and new beginnings.
How A Spiritual Reading Can Transform Your Life Immediately.