Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Being 'spiritual' or 'religious' doesn't mean a problem free life

Cats, however, have an easy life :)
This has been a bit of an 'a-ha' for me. Yesterday, I watched this great video on YouTube of a spiritual, cool guy talking about his motorcycle accident. As well as saying that the accident turned into an opportunity, he also mentions that living the spiritual or 'good' life, surrendering to 'what is' etc, do not guarantee a life without incident or pain.

One of my favourite teachers, Jeff Foster, says that 'acceptance' can be masked as accepting something in order for it to go away.

Sometimes things happen, whatever our good intentions, and some of us struggle with difficult mental health issues. A lot of the time, people turn to spirituality or religion in order to have a better life, and (for me at least) with the hope that certain issues will be solved and that they won't have to go through more trauma.

I can tell you, I have tried for years to solve my issues in regard to fear of intimacy and rejection. Read books and articles on the internet. Tried to change my thinking. I'm sure part of the reason I have done the self awareness and meditation thing (which have helped a lot) is to help me solve these so called problems. Because surely, if we become more self aware and discover our true nature, these little pesky demons will disappear, right?

Not necessarily so. We have come to earth to experience being human, which comes with some pretty tough assignments. Most of us don't enjoy the painful stuff - and dealing with physical and emotional pain can be brutal at times. We try to fight it, push it away, try to overcome and get rid at all costs. The 'acceptance' thing is another game we play. What is true acceptance?

True acceptance is allowing something to be aware without any expectation or attachment that it will go away (or, of course, on the opposite side of the coin, that something 'good' will stay). You or I might never be able to fully 'get over' something. But working with a particular issue rather than against means that you are more likely to thrive in life - even in spite of it - and it certainly means that the issue has a greater chance of being resolved or easier to deal with, than if you constantly try to fight against it.

Another word on something that is important. Acceptance and surrender do not mean that mental health challenges will go away. Mental health issues do not make you 'weaker' any more than physical health issues do. It's sooooo easy to think that we shouldn't be struggling so much if we're following a particular life pathway, What if, instead of seeing these perceived difficulties as our nemesis, we started to see the hidden treasures within them and ask ourselves how they could be used for good?

Life isn't easy, and sometimes it seems like things can get too much. Sometimes we can lose hope that we will have what we desire. But we can remain open, even in the darkest of times.

I wish everyone a blessed 2016, and may we resolve to love ourselves more.

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