Monday, February 29, 2016

Not A Very Exciting Story

     It seems to me that everywhere I turn these days there are epic stories of spiritual growth. Someone on the left of me is being filled with so much light that they shoot lasers from their sparkly eyes,  someone on the right of me is bravely travelling inward to visit their "shadow sides". I cannot open up my iPad without inspirational memes sprinkling down on my head like so much happy word confetti. And I love it and I find myself inspired by others journeys and I am hopeful that perhaps humanity is reaching a tipping point where we will finally wake up to our interconnectedness and stop all the hateful harmful rhetoric of "them and us".  But at the same time I'm gonna call bullshit on the whole thing. The pretty bows we tie around the spiritual journey these days are strangling us. If I took my guidance from what I see around me I believe I could take 7 Steps in 30 days and become enlightened and this is an insult to my soul. An insult to all of the actual work it takes to "wake up".

     If a human being has decided to primarily focus on their body and chooses to be an athlete they may blog about their victories and injuries but rarely write about the millionth time they did a bicep curl. But no one becomes a great athlete without those million mundane moments of boring work. If someone decides to lead a primarily intellectual life and become a PhD they may share when they graduate or complete a grueling assignment, but no one shares about the hours and hours of reading, writing and falling asleep over their books, because its boring just as the million hours of bicep curls. But you see, intuitively humans know that to excel in athletics or academics there are years of mundane, boring toil that go into these endeavors. We know this and that is why we celebrate our athletes and scholars. But when a human being decides to dedicate their lives to spiritual growth there isn't a lot of evidence out there chronicling the million boring moments of growing up. I suspect that we even think that "enlightenment" can be bestowed upon someone just if they desire it enough. If we just pray hard enough maybe a fairy will come in the night and sprinkle us with "mindful dust".

     But the truth of it is spiritual growth is made up of a million boring moments of "now".
We must be present when we feel our hearts expanding, we must be present when we feel our feet grounding so deeply that our energy roots down into the center of the earth. But we also must be present in traffic, we must be present the multitude of times we wash dishes, cook dinner, do laundry.
We must slog our way through the muddy meditations that make us sleepy. We must anchor ourselves through the meditations that we're so scattered we think we might fly away. Like any physical endeavor or intellectual endeavor that rises above mediocrity spiritual growth is repetitive and boring and often unglamorous. Spiritual growth is work just like digging a trench, it is hard, it is often dirty and for every transcendent moment of "aha" there are a thousand moments of bringing yourself back to the mundane present.

     I have not been inspired to blog lately, because the very human desire to make my journey exciting has stood in the way. I don't want to put anyone to sleep with the truth of "tonight for the thousandth time I remembered to exhale and softened my irritation by 10%. Who wants to read about "tonight I did the dishes again but when I felt my feet on the kitchen mat I had a brief moment of gratitude for the hot soapy water". No we want epic stories about transcending the mundane and rising to the top of the mountain. But today I just wanted to blog to remind you fellow spiritual seekers that there are a lot of steps required to get to the top of that mountain and a lot of them are boring. But when it all comes down to it at the end of this life I would much rather have "been here" for the million boring moments than have spent a lifetime lost in the disconnected wanderings of my mind. So, maybe next week I'll levitate or something and have a great story for you, but today I just want to encourage you to keep putting one foot in front of another.

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