I’ve gotten a number of letters from people lately. They tell me how hard it is to develop spiritual practice. They tell me it is very difficult to develop consistency. Yes, this is all true. There are some to whom it comes more easily but these have done some of the work in the past. What I mean by that is ‘past lives’.
When you begin to explore the metaphysical and when you encounter terms like, ‘karma’, ‘past lives’, ‘samskaras’, ‘Maya’ and other words that represent things and conditions outside of mainstream understanding, there is a resistance on the part of the mind/personality to accepting what is unfamiliar or outside of personal experience. These days there is talk about these terms in more enlightened circles. Some of these words have entered into the common parlance. We hear them and we use them but... we don’t completely understand them, nor do we have a visceral apprehension of them.
I’ve had direct experience of all of these terms. That doesn’t mean I know much more about them. These things interest me and that is a big key to gaining understanding. Love can truly intensify interest and with Love comes the power and inspiration to make what seems difficult to many, enjoyable to you; if you have Love.
It is always better to fall in love with something if you want to get very far with it. This applies across the board from money to sexual favors. That may seem a little crass of me but I’m not in the business of flowery constructs in order to create beautiful nonsense, thereby creating more disorder than harmony. It’s always best to face the truth straight on. In fact, you will find it a difficult affair to sidle up to the truth on your own terms. The truth doesn’t work like that. Truth demands that you discard all of your presumptions and illusions before you can even get in the door.
Success in the undertaking is why so many people feign love, especially in areas of sexual favors where... most of us are quite vulnerable. Charming people out of their money or their pants is not a new profession. Have I digressed? Have I wandered off and away from what appeared to be some point I was in the process of making? No... just arranging the scenery.
We often do not see what is right in front of us. We often do not look for the source of our inconsistencies and distress. We like to go along to get along and we like to trust until our trust is so broken that we don’t trust anyone including ourselves. Our faith gets hammered and even when we know that certain eternal verities must be true we can’t see how they apply to us. We think we’re right but we don’t trust our own judgment to begin with. We are a complexity of confused perceptions.
You have to really want something to possess it. A great many people pick up the guitar only to lay it down again because consistency is found wanting. Consistency is wanting because the love is wanting. Discipline is crucial to learning anything beyond the popular dilettantism of this age. Love is crucial to discipline. We’ve a common understanding that parents discipline their children because they love them.
We have a lot of undisciplined children running around inside of us. One might say they show up outside of us too as a consequence of what we understand about love. We don’t understand love or much else. We’ve got the memory of what we’ve run up against and how we managed it. Repetition of habitual reaction has given us what we know of life.
At some point you have to become your own parent, or you must discover who your real parents are. You can’t form new patterns unless you get rid of the old patterns and you can’t embrace the truth when you are riddled with self deceit.
Many of the predators among us who routinely deceive and seduce us are often not even conscious of what they are up to. They’ve just been accommodating to the lies that make it easier to get what they want. They’re going to get a lot of sorrow to go along with it because... everything you practice on others you are practicing on yourself.
Change is not easy. It is never harder to change than when you are trying to change yourself. It seems like everything goes wrong. There is a scientific explanation for this. Patterns, like ruts in the road, are part of the uniformity of flawed existence. The world is accommodating to this. Your patterns are part of the ancient flow of the world. But the world will re-accommodate itself to persistence of effort and the world itself will change.
A seed in the dark and compact earth will break through the greater mass because of its love and yearning for the sun. Our ‘yes’ seems not to really be Yes. Our ‘no’ is equivocal too. We vacillate. We surely do.
In these times it is particularly hard to change when the force of the world is so manifestly en-route to perdition. It is the eternal nature of the world to migrate toward corruption. It starts out small... after whatever the most recent cataclysm might have been and then morphs into a grand orchestra of materialized madness. Our human development never seems able to maintain pace with our technological development.
To develop spiritual practice you must swim contrary to the flow of the world. You can’t manage that by yourself and therein is the point. You need help and you have to ask for it. On this, I suspect you will just have to take my word; if not my word then the words of those far more evolved and enlightened than I who have told you the very same thing.
Stop thinking that you are doing it, that it is you that must do it. You can’t do it but... something within you can. You must rely on that. You must strive too. You must strive and surrender and strive and surrender. You must erase from your mind the possibility that you can fail or that you will give up and you will have success.
Go within and ask within. Every time you find that you have missed an opportunity to practice... ask for help. Ask for help as often as you can remember to. I recommend some useful books; “The Impersonal Life” (and every other book by this author), “The Practice of the Presence of God”, “The Door to Everything”, “As a Man Thinketh” and any of the works of Ramana Maharshi, Mikhail Aivanhov, Ramakrishna. There is enough diversity here to appeal to most.
Find someone with whom you naturally agree... whose work vibrates sympathetically with you and follow them. It may be that you prefer Jesus Christ or another avatar. Take what works for you and stick with it. Oft times you will find that one leads to another until you are where you are meant to be.
In every day you can find moments to be still and close your eyes and contemplate or ask. You will be made aware of such a moment today after having read this. See if this is not so. Look at the effort you put into trivial affairs which you seem to muster the strength for with no trouble at all and ponder why this is so.
I think I can leave off here and we shall see if this has caused anyone to come upon new ways of thinking and doing that did not get mentioned here. Anyone who is curious enough to read through something like this has enough interest to keep looking until they find what they seek. Exercise your love. And.....
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