Many years ago I started on this path of ‘waking up’ and ‘becoming spiritual’. I learnt to meditate, attended numerous courses, retreats, workshops and devoured hundreds of spiritual books! I looked up in awe to masters, saints, sages and swamis to guide me to the light. I was inspired by their perfection and tried so hard to get to ‘their level’. Each time I would fall and make a mistake, I would beat myself up and drop into a state self-loathing at my ‘badness’. I so wanted to be like these holy men and women- pure, light, eternally loving and unflawed. Yet in my quest I found that my humanness kept coming through and getting in the way. I would get frustrated, sad, and impatient at my slow progress.
As time went by I started to find the gaps between being a stressed, anxious, negative person and feeling light, calm and positive started to get wider and longer. I started teaching and when I was in front of students or writing a book or blog, words would seem to come through me that at first surprised me. I would be like: ”Whoa, where did that come from?” It was like there was me, AND something else that came through me. Over time I realised this pattern, that when there was enquiry from someone, I (that’s me the Egoic identity) would simply get out of the way and then the knowledge would flow through me from Source to goal. But still, when that wasn’t happening, there was me, the bloke, the guy, the everyday human.
I started spending more time with other teachers, sages and thought leaders, speaking at conferences, yoga events and even interviewing them and them interviewing me. As I ‘hung out’ and researched more about these people I realised something very profound. When they weren’t writing, teaching or responding in an interview they were very much like everyone else. They had many of the flaws I still had that I was beating myself up over. Some things I found out about them I was like “SERIOUSLY?? You too??”
I wasn’t sure if I was relieved or disappointed. I wanted to live in hope that I would reach their level of perfection only to now find that it didn’t exist. I learnt that no matter how holy and ‘spiritual’ these people were they had a number of traits that I would never read about in their books and lectures. I stopped beating myself up so much and acknowledged that I am human and yep, so are they. So here are 7 things about spiritual people that you won’t read in a spiritual book:
1. They get impatient: In an interview with one highly respected thought-leader and best selling author he showed a great deal of frustration over the internet not working very well and the interview taking longer than expected.
2. They argue: I recall Esther Hicks sharing how she and Jerry (her late husband) would argue over what floor boards they were putting in their home. Being ‘spiritually aware’ doesn’t mean you agree with everyone and everyone agrees with you.
3. They get cranky: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a great holy sage, stormed out of a 60 minute interview, throwing his microphone head piece down on the ground when challenged about buying land for a TM centre in Sydney.
4. They get moody: I spent some time with a leading spiritual guru to find that he would fluctuate from light and bubbly to sombre and very quiet.
5. They have desires: Yup, if they are in a body, then there are desires. It could be desire to eat, desire to sleep, desire to have intimacy, desire to be more enlightened. Either way, there are desires.
6. They have fears: One great sage I know still had fear and wanted to conquer it. He decided to do sky diving to over come it. I couldn’t wait to hear how it went. “How was it?” I asked. “It scared the shit out of me and I will never do that again!”
7. Other than the 11 breatharians on the planet (i.e. people who live on air alone) everyone else eats food. Because they eat food, they have waste that has to be eliminated. And guess what, that waste doesn’t smell like roses!
So if you are on the path of ‘waking up’ and exploring ‘spirituality’ go easy on yourself when you screw up or don’t feel all blissed and enlightened. It’s ok. It’s a process that just keeps going and going. There are infinite degrees of refinement and making mistakes is part of the process. If it’s uncomfortable, then that’s a gift, because feeling uncomfortable is Nature’s way of notifying you about change. Enjoy the ride, it’s what you came here for yeh?
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