Stop Trying So Hard
Many of us long for the experience of being more and yet hold the deep pain of feeling less. We long to embody higher spiritual awareness but have a chronic sense of not making it and being stuck in low vibration. We lament with Dylan about being “stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues again.” We long for more and yet feel as though we are in the wrong place not so much geographically as spiritually. We know that we should feel Divine after all these years of meditation and spiritual work but experience only glimpses of its beauty. At times it is almost harder this way, for like Moses, we see the Promised Land, glimpse it even, but do not sense ourselves residing there. It becomes easy to conclude that there is some unacknowledged factory defect in our Souls so Divinity is not ours. The experience of inner peace and Divinity, lasts about as long as a movie trailer then we’re off to the ordinary.
The problem is not with our achievement or lack of effort. In fact there is an emerging theme in spiritual literature and teaching urging us to STOP IT. Stop trying to change. This is a wonderful, paradoxical and ironic approach. Trying to improve is often a way to fight with who we are. It is a subtle, caustic form of self rejection. The endless wanting to be more causes people to feel less.
“I am not enough so I need to try harder.”
“I am still stuck in my ego so I need to meditate twice as much.”
“I am so stuck in anger over my divorce I’ll never evolve and move on.”
In the process people become “new age puritans” always judging themselves and feeling guilt for forbidden thoughts and behaviors.
The alternative is to accept who we are right in this exact moment. Embrace the divinity of even our anger or more accurately embrace the wounded one within who is angry. Over and over again I see spiritual people feeling guilty for their shortcomings however real or imagined. The alternative is to love the part of you that is angry or fearful without being controlled by it. Spiritual development is not based on getting rid of thoughts or even false beliefs or repressing forbidden judgments. The real path is through embracing the part of us that is afraid. Embrace more, change less. Paradoxically more change emerges from embracing love than strict, watchful, willful determination to be different.
Negative thinking and fear arise from a deep inner place that has lost hope of nurturance and love. Progress occurs when we take that part of ourselves out from the dark corners of our psyche and bring it into the light and nurture it lovingly. Too often spiritual practice becomes a substitute stern parent lecturing a child who just had a nightmare. “Silly child. You know this fear is unnecessary and of lower vibration. Stop whimpering and do more homework.” It is not negative thinking or fear that is the problem. Those are symptoms. The real issue is lack of whole hearted love for the negative and fearful parts within. Change arises from embracing the being within that has the thoughts and fears.
We have the right to know our entire experience, every single bit of it. We have the spiritual right to fear and to love the part of us that is afraid rather than prematurely reject it. If everything is Divine so is our fear. This does not mean we are destined to only live in it. Actually the process involves embracing first, loving first, opening first. As we do this the fear loses its power. To feel our Divinity does not mean we always feel good, happy or more evolved or embodying the higher vibrations. The Divine welcomes all experience.
When we embrace ourselves deeply the longing for more arises from abundance not deprivation and low self-esteem. The longing then is transformed into affirmation and expression of gratitude.