Stepping onto the spiritual path, in any of its many forms, involves an explicit or implicit statement that we are ready to embark on a process, which will bring us closer to Spirit. Commonly this is viewed in terms of a figurative or even literal journey, in which we start here and travel there, in which we learn and grow, becoming more and more until we have reached our goal. In this context it may be a surprise, or source of confusion to find oneself in the midst of very “unspiritual” emotions, going through different forms of loss, or other challenging situations. If we have committed to walking into
The answer is one of perspective. The spiritual path rather than a process of acquisition, or becoming more, it is one of letting go, or becoming less. Rather than a journey, either metaphorical or literal, from here to there, it is a matter of being here rather than being there, of pulling our scattered energies into the here and now. It is not so much about seeking to find spirit, viewed as something “out there”, as to remember who we are. Since we are originally and essential spirit ourselves. Neither is it something that has to be earned, how can we earn who we actually are? It is about being that rather than all the doings and becomings to be something else.
The process is about letting go of what we have learned in this world so that we can remember what we know from the other world. Rather than leaving an “unspiritual” house and journeying to find a “spiritual” house it is about staying home and cleaning out the house we are in so that our spirit can come home.
External journeys are useful to the extent that experiencing nature, or other places and people may help us to experience ourselves, often by helping to clear other people out of our space, or by reminding us of things we have forgotten. In the end we must be able to be at home where ever we are, or we are still “lost” to ourselves.
We as spiritual beings are often so much larger and greater than we are consciously aware of in this body/mind, our house. Look into the eyes of an infant and you can see the huge spirit that is slowly coming onto that small, growing, body. We do not have to go and “find ourselves”, we simply have to clean the house, perhaps make it a little larger, so more of who we are can come in.
By clearing away the layers that we have acquired: the fears, angers, invalidations, our collected triumphs and prized failures, we begin to “become as little children” and find ourselves. Everything that we want, or are in resistance to must be set free in order to return to who we are as spiritual beings. Both holding on to something prized and pushing away things unwanted are forms of attachment, keeping things in our space. In either case something else has our attention. Clearing this away allows us to give our attention back to ourselves as spirit, and to Spirit in general.
From this point of view it becomes clearer why the spiritual path has its “bumps”, its periods of darkness. We have, though we may not have consciously realized it, told the universe that we are willing to clear house. Thence forward every project we undertake, every relationship we form, all of our life, becomes an arena for this process. Each step provides a challenge to let go of another program, old emotion, chunk of unconsciousness, or invalidation. Every step is opportunity to reclaim more of who we are as immortal spiritual beings, by letting go of who we are as finite incarnations.
So from the spiritual perspective, we may expect the bumps and bits of darkness and take them as a sign of our “progress” rather than being discouraged and disheartened. The less we resist or resent them the easier they will pass. One chunk or layer at a time.
The more we clear our space and bring ourselves home, the less the processing will affect “us”, the more we can “suffer gladly”. For in truth it is not “suffering” if we are not in attachment or resistance. So we proceed and do the things we are guided to do, but knowing that there are growing pains on the path, as we give away our stuff and take out the garbage. Those things that are truely in affinity with us will return after we have let them go, and having cleared out those that are not in affinity with us we have more room for ourselves, for spirit, for all the things that sustain us and give us joy.