If you’re a spiritual-seeker hunting for the truth, you might feel like you’re regularly letting yourself down.
You don’t have enough hours in the day to play chauffeur to the kids, be a fabulous manager at work, and super-volunteer in your church and community.
You may feel like your spiritual pursuits go to the wayside. You’d like to live a more spiritual and religious life but you’re just not able to do it ALL.
Wouldn’t it be nice to give it all up, move to a local mountain-side commune and spend the rest of your life seeking self-realization?
Should you disappear into the forests once and for all until you’ve become an enlightened human?
Learn to find spirituality in the world you live in.
You don’t have to pack up the suitcases, sell the house, abandon your family and hit the closest mountain resort to live the monastic lifestyle with a religious community.
You can be just where you are and continue to seek the spiritual life.
Learn to live in the ‘real’ (ok, “illusionary”) world.
You will learn many spiritual lessons in the world you live in today.
You want to move to the ashram, mountains or cave to find enlightenment. But you’re not going to find it there. Well, you might find it there but you’re not going to get to realization if you can’t conquer living in the places you do now.
You’re not going to get traffic jams, lawsuits, suspicious neighbors, antagonistic supervisors, penny-pinching landlords and rebellious children in the ashram!
You’re not going to get offended, heart-broken, crushed, pained, lied to, saddened, depressed in a mountain setting.
No money worries, loved ones dying, divorce, bankruptcy, failure, when you’re solely in deep spiritual pursuits.
Balance your spiritual life with your material life.
Your life gives you plenty of opportunities to practice spirituality: it allows you to confront people and circumstances who will hijack your peace and test your patience.
Not wanting to punch the motorcyclist who just cut you off on the freeway is a divine practice.
Choosing to forgive the man who just duped you of your life’s savings is a spiritual exercise.
Your life allows you to tame your ego, perfect your character and make choices about how you accept your life’s circumstances.
You will also have time for inner spiritual growth, mindfulness and prayer.
You can bring in spiritual practices into your life if you simply prioritize the importance of them.
Start small spiritual habits and be consistent with them.
A little spirituality every day.
Become a better person every day. Build your character every day. Find the spiritual answers to your life’s problems and circumstances.
Take the high road. Take the spiritual road. Give. Forgive. Love.
Be mindful. Peaceful. Thoughtful. Generous. Soul-Centered.
Use every situation and encounter to practice love.
Build up small spiritual practices daily that recognizes the divine. Practices which allows you to reflect on your mind and see through the illusions of the material world.
Stop the “I don’t have time excuse”
You may want to move to the ashram or commune of your dreams because you’ll have all the time in the world there to pursue your spiritual desires.
Pursue those desires right from where you are.
Make time for the things that matter in your life.
If you’d like to seek God, wake up earlier to reflect upon Him.
If you’d like clarity, be mindful throughout the day and spend a few minutes each day watching your thoughts drift through your mind.
Find the time. Make the time. Schedule the time.
Refuse to live by the “all or nothing” strategy some realized beings have taken.
You DO NOT have to go all in. You DO NOT have to spend every minute and every hour in prayer and meditation. You don’t have to do that remotely, in silence or by yourself.
You can chose the middle path. You can straddle the world you live in with the spiritual world.
You can be in the world. You don’t have to be of the world.
You don’t have to choose between the normal life of suburbia and family against the spiritual world of realized beings.
You can seek your best self and find your highest source of inspiration in daily life and everyday moments.
Forgive yourself for imperfections and keep trying every day.
If you’re human, you’ll have a bad day. You’ll fall off the fire-truck when putting out a fire.
You’ll blow half your salary on the roulette table.
Commit perjury, adultery, forgery, thievery and find yourself with all kind of other quandaries.
You might not have time today for silence, meditation, prayer, divinity.
Intentionally hurt someone else.
Refused to forgive a parent who’s wounded you.
Ignored your friends who desperately seek your help.
Refused to let go of your ego so you can salvage the friendship.
When you fall off the path to self-knowledge and enlightenment, keep going. Start over. Start again.
Do not move to the woods, mountains or your favorite religious order in search for the truth.
Friends, if you ever tell me you’re moving to the woods to spend the rest of your life trying to reach enlightenment, I’m going to do three things. First, get a hold of my ex-wife, a psychiatrist, to give you a special rate on weekly therapy. Second, contact the local police department to try to stop your planned-escape and finally, spend the rest of my time trying to track you down and bringing you back to your regular life.
Don’t take the easy way out.
Refuse to disengage completely from people, circumstances and the pressures of the world around you.
Listen, you’re hearing this straight from someone who would be first in line to join a monastery, new religious order or cult. If there’s a promise of free meals and self-realization, I’d get in line like your zealous holiday shopper, setting up a tent overnight to purchase my flat screen tv.
I’m not going to join the order. The brotherhood. The nunhood. Or any ‘hood’ with anyone wearing robes, saffron sheets or sunbathing in the nude.
I’m going to stay and fight. Fight, you say. Fight what?
Fight to come to terms with your human self. To become a better version of you.
Fight your anger, ego, desires, imperfections and all of your human qualities. Fight to become a better person.
You can’t fight in isolation without other humans, without worldly problems and without being challenged. In my opinion, that’s the easy way out.
Let’s confront our nemesis, face our ego, work on our shortfalls. Let’s work on loving our Creator more every day while we’re fighting the battles of our daily lives.
Ever thought about living the life of monastic? (Oh, you haven’t. 🙂 )
To pick up my book, Is God Listening, about God, spirituality and resiliency, click here.
Photo credit radhanads