All too often the spiritual path is confused with being happy. We think that being spiritual means being positive, all the time. We look at people ‘out there’ who we consider to be firmly on the path and think that they’re doing life better and that they don’t feel certain human emotions.
And then because we think that being spiritual means feeling a certain way, we feel even worse when we fail to feel the way we’ve decided a spiritual person ‘should’. Oh my goodness, what a horrifyingly unhelpful idea about the spiritual path.
Over the last week, some intense sadness has been coming through me. Several times I’ve sat down and closed my eyes to find these intense waves waiting for me.
The gift of the spiritual path isn’t that we don’t feel certain things that we might label as the ‘harder’ or more ‘negative’ emotions of life, it’s that whatever we feel, we learn to meet it and allow it. So when something intense shows up, instead of turning to our favourite distraction (and we all have them) – food, television, spiritual videos, sex, exercise… – we can turn towards what’s flowing through us and just let it be without denying it or making it into more than what it is.
This ability to be with whatever arises in the moment is the spiritual path. This honestly should feel like good news for all of us because it means that there’s nowhere else you need to get to and nothing different you need to feel in order to be growing spiritually. All you need to do is meet this moment and this moment and this moment and this moment, whatever it brings.
I stood on my balcony late the other night, a fine drizzle feeling like butterfly wings over my face, tears falling down my cheeks and whispering, ‘Thank you. Thank you.’
Because suffering is resistance to what is and in the allowing of this moment we might discover that there is gratitude for the strangest of things.
Love and courage,