The spiritual path is not just about feeling good. A real spiritual practice is about facing yourself — all of it, the good, the bad, and yes the ugly. The limitations, the laziness, the failures. Revel in the successes, too, absolutely — definitely make time to celebrate your wins and acknowledge your strengths. But it’s important to not tolerate excuses — at least, if you’re serious about discovering Truth. The ego is a mischevious beast and it likes to hide. It’s often more comfortable to indulge in old habits rather than acknowledge our own complicity in any given situation.
In talking to someone recently about priorities and decisions, they clearly felt I did not understand them. How could I know what it was like to be faced with their problems? It was obvious that they felt wrongly accused. “You try making it work when you have to deal with such-and-such.” The implication was that my life is simple because I don’t have Situation X to struggle with, that I could not possibly know what it’s like to deal with that burden.
The thing is, everybody has their Situation X.
Everybody’s life is hard.
We’re all incarnated into a physical body, so we have just the basic struggle of SURVIVAL to deal with.
On top of that, every single person has his or her own unique set of circumstances. Everybody’s got problems. Everybody’s got their burdens. Yet everyone also has the same opportunity: to take best advantage of the limited time we have here by making choices that honor the Divine.
The way out is simple. If you’re truly looking for a path out of the forest, you need to put an effort into seeing beyond the trees. The light is always there, available and present. It’s waiting for you, right here, right now. It’s up to YOU to make the move. It’s up to YOU to make it a priority.
Playing the victim, blaming others for our problems — these are natural reactions when we’re in pain. It’s definitely hard to take a look at ourselves and acknowledge our own part in it. Our culture doesn’t support this, and it’s uncomfortable to do it; it’s a different kind of discomfort, a sharper one, than the familiar pain of the situation itself. But given the rules of karma, the only person you can thank for your own set of circumstances is yourself. All the problems and challenges you’re surrounded with are of your own making. These problems may feel overwhelming, stiffling, burdensome — but you should revel in the fact that they’re yours. How reassuring! You created them for a reason: so that you could find a way out of them. Nobody else can take on that challenge. It’s unique to you.
It’s also important to recognize that your problems are not more severe than anyone else’s. From the outside, sure, everybody else’s life may look simpler, easier — but don’t be fooled. Every single soul walking the planet is grappling with exactly the same level of challenge as you are: the level that they chose for themselves.
It’s our REACTION to the challenges that is the difference-maker. Owning up to the limitation, recognizing that we ourselves created this lovely and fraught situation, then stepping back from it on the inside to let it be… sometimes that’s the first step to freedom.