Okay, no one ever said spirituality was easy.
(How’s that for a one-line opener?)
No, seriously. If you think spirituality is easy, then you’re either a one-day-a-week organised religion-type who doesn’t think about it on the other six days, or you’re not trying.
Spirituality is all about trying to be better than you currently are. This automatically becomes difficult because of the following issues:
1) You’re constantly improving, so you always think the new stuff you’re learning is hard. Ever take piano lessons as a kid? The early skills you pick up become incorporated into your skill set and applied to subsequent learning. Problem is, we don’t see it. We keep starting new pieces of music, and they’re always hard. We never think that if we go back and play something we worked on a year ago, we’re much better than we were at the time. The same thing applies to spirituality. You work through an issue, it becomes part of you, you hit another issue, and all the time you’re saying, “Gosh, why doesn’t it get any easier?”
2) We tend to work through the same issues in a different context, and we don’t realise it until the lesson’s learned.
3) You can understand an issue with your head, but until you understand it with your heart and soul, it will still be an issue. (This is my Waterloo.)
4) Your needs change as you evolve and develop throughout life. This means that you can sometimes be working on an issue long after it’s past, not realising that you should be focusing on another issue. You’ve got to stay alert and sensitive to your own needs.
5) You can always be better. Always.
When you realise that spirituality is a daily thing, an expression of your relationship of whatever you consider the Divine, then two things happen: you understand that each action you make is spiritual, and you see that our innate laziness has made adherence to a one-day-a-week religion an easy way out. One of the reasons I follow a neo-Pagan path is because I have to do it all myself. No one else tells me what I ought to think, or interprets words for me, or that I’m forgiven. I have to struggle through it myself. Ultimately, this means that I learn the lessons on a much deeper level. It also means that the solution to the problem is intimate and personalised, so to speak.
It doesn’t, unfortunately, make it easy.
Lately, people have been talking to me about how blocked they feel spiritually, and I sometimes wonder if it’s because we think too much. We create our own obstacles; we choke up our own expressions of creativity and joy. We prefer to be miserable, because for some vague socialised reason, we believe we ought to be unhappy. We create exercises to “work” on our expression, our connection to the world around us. We “practice” our spirituality.
Whatever happened to being?
Maybe we ought to borrow Nike’s slogan of “Just Do It”. Or Yoda’s good old “Do or do not - there is no try.”
Live it. Breathe it. And congratulate yourself for every day you live, because you touched people somehow. You put words down on paper. You punched keys. You smiled. You daydreamed as you looked out the window. You made dinner.
Yes, you’re trying to improve yourself. However, saying, “I didn’t do what I dreamed I could do” does more damage than good. Positive reinforcement, in this case, is worth more than negative reinforcement. Being better doesn’t mean being unhappy. The old adage of “No pain, no gain” has no application here. Yes, we suffer, we deal, we’re stronger. That doesn’t have to happen every day, though.
Be thankful for the little things. Be open to the idea that yes, it can be easy. And stop making it harder than it has to be.
Just do it.