What spiritual practices should I be doing? (Part 2)
In the previous message we began discussing the question of what spiritual practices you should do, focusing primarily on those that touch on the physical and mental planes. It is highly recommended that you go back and read that message if you have not already done so, or as a review before continuing today. Now we will talk about the emotional plane. One suggestion that is often proposed as a spiritual goal is to suppress any feelings other than those of unconditional love. The attempt to do this encourages some to choose celibacy and/or to live in a meditative retreat. This seems to make it easier to hold only the highest feelings, only love. If that is your goal, you may suppress or avoid every other kind of feeling, so you will carry anger, fear, judgment, jealousy, and other negative emotions around with you unconsciously. You won’t want to see them and there may be no triggers present, no mirrors to reveal them to you. Other sources will encourage just the opposite. They will say that the best spiritual practice is to vomit all of your feelings on whoever is around you, to not hold anything back. This idea holds your raw emotions as something pure. Both of these approaches consider your fear and negative feelings to be real. The monkish approach is “out of sight out of mind” while the purging approach assumes that when you express the emotions, they are gone. Neither ends up working very well. In the former case, the emotions will eventually surface; in the latter they will surface over and over again. Expression does not release the fear because you still believe it is real.
There is nothing wrong with fear; it is simply an illusion. If you hide from it, you make it real for yourself. If you push it out on another, you also make it real. The only way to deal with an illusion is to go into the heart of it to see what is there. Face your fear. If you stay with your fear, you will eventually realize it is only illusion. It will disappear. It will transform. Only love will remain. This is why we recommend that you do the five-step process. Love is not something you find by running away from fear or by casting it off of yourself, it is what you realize when you go to the bottom of whatever is before you. It is absolute truth. It is all there is. Love is what is left when all illusion is gone. There are no words to describe it. Love is not a state you can try to attain. All you can do is face all your fears until only love remains. When you are in the illusion of fear, consciously or unconsciously, the fullness of love cannot be experienced. Do the process or simply ask Spirit to support you in facing your fears. There is nothing wrong about holding on to your fear, but it is no fun and leaves you feeling separate from God. The five-step process will not guarantee your ascension. It is not a spiritual practice. It is a tool, but it is not intended as a crutch. Facing your fears simply makes the period of time easier to bear, while you are in a body waiting to realize your divinity. We are also not suggesting that you drop any or all of your spiritual practices. If you enjoy them, if you are guided to do them – do so. Try not to feel needy about them; let go of any attachment to your practice.
Last, but not least, is the spiritual plane. Here we have meditation and prayer. Many teachings suggest that if you meditate often enough and long enough, you will realize your divinity. The Buddha did it, didn’t he? If you are not being successful, you must not be doing it good enough or hard enough. Good luck with that. Of course there are wonderful benefits from meditation. You can have improved health, more calmness, more energy, more focus. Most of this, however, relates to making the illusion better. The true heart of meditation is in giving everything to Spirit. To meditate with a goal of improving your experience in a body will keep you anchored in the physical. The focus is on giving to Spirit rather than to the ego. Giving importance to this practice is an act of the ego. Give up any pride connected to the length and depth of your practice. Do it from your heart; release the need for a schedule, for an enforced discipline.
The bottom line is that whatever plane your spiritual practice is connected to, if it has as a goal to improve your life, you are trying to create heaven on earth. Thus you will always be at cross purposes, because you created earth to hide from heaven, to hide from God. As you are deciding how to focus your time and energy, how to realize your spiritual goals, a constant question to hold is whether or not the practice is designed to enhance your physical existence. If that is the goal – be honest with yourself , there is nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy yourself – this is not the same as choosing to realize you ascension. Ascension is letting go of the physical. This does not come through reaching physical goals. It also does not come about through the denial of the physical. Fasting, celibacy, and physical discomfort make you more aware of your body, not less. This is why the Buddha spoke of the middle way. Both lack and excess leave a focus on the material. As you become aware of a particular importance you are giving to any spiritual practice, remind yourself that it doesn’t matter. What you choose to do or not to do really makes no difference. As you realize that it doesn’t matter, it becomes much easier to give it to Spirit. If you think it matters, the ego is attached to doing it right. If there is no “right” choice, then why not trust Spirit to choose for you. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You can trust that your ego choice will leave you rooted in your body, feeling separate from God.
You may doubt your ability to hear Spirit. Be willing to do nothing until you hear something. What if you fear you may not hear Spirit correctly? Trust and follow what you hear. Then keep listening. Following Spirit is not a one-time thing. It becomes the only constant in your spiritual life. The more you trust, the better you will hear. What evolves is a great simplicity. The ego’s attempt to control all planes and make all the right choices is exhausting. You never get it figured out. There is always a new idea, a new direction, a new discipline. You will always be second guessing yourself. Giving it to Spirit makes it so easy. You simply accept that you don’t know and trust whatever comes. If you have fear, face it. If you have confusion, give it to Spirit until you become mindless, only following the guidance of Spirit. Nothing else matters. Spirit might suggest that you follow some spiritual practice for a time. That is guidance for you now, not for anyone else or for always. Spirit is always in the now. All guidance is, at best, half-truths, designed to lead you out of your ego mind. Let it. Let it be simple. Let it be God.
God Blesses You,