Last week I was listening to an interview with Martha Beck and I heard her say something that metaphorically smacked me upside the head. I’ll paraphrase:
A lot of people want to feel the way a spiritually solid person feels without putting in the work a spiritually solid person puts in.
Uhmmm…yep. You don’t get there by trying to take shortcuts. You get there by doing the things. Of course I know this on a deep level, but in some ways I’d been straying from this truth.
I really like the word solid. In fact, solid is one of my core desired feelings. I DO want to feel the way a spiritually solid person feels! But I will fully admit that as human beings tend to do, I do sometimes catch myself looking for shortcuts to this feeling. This has been coming up for me lately in a big way when it comes to meditation.
In theory, I know meditation is a good thing. Meditation is almost universally agreed upon to be a cornerstone of spiritual practice. Different forms of meditation are hallmarks of traditional religions including Christianity and Buddhism and meditation is also widely practiced in alternative spiritual paths. Science is now catching up with what spirituality has known for centuries, the benefits of meditation are now being articulated in a variety of studies.
I have meditated semi-regularly for several years…semi-regularly being the key term. The truth is that no-frills meditation – focusing on the breath and letting go of attachment to thoughts – is reeeeaaaallly hard for me. But I’ve always had a sense that even though it’s hard, it’s important. It’s something I need. Maybe it’s so hard for me BECAUSE it’s important for me.
For the past month the Universe has been sending me all sorts of signs that I need to get more serious about this shit. Hearing that call out from Martha Beck was the thing that finally clicked it into place for me. I do want to be feel spiritually solid, and I needed that reminder that this requires work. This is all much to my ego’s chagrin, because my ego L-O-V-E-S shortcuts! But my soul knows that “shortcuts” usually just end up getting me lost.
It’s important to be honest with yourself about where your ego is looking for shortcuts, because it happens in SO many ways: maybe you want to have written a book but you don’t want to sit down every day and write. Or you want to get good at something but you want to avoid the awkward learning curve. So your ego starts looking for shortcuts, and you most likely end up sabotaging any real progress.
One key in navigating this process is setting the intention for your soul to love the long road more than your ego loves shortcuts. The things that are the most vital to your overall well-being are usually the things that require you to summon the most integrity and intention. Remind yourself often that you’re taking the long road out of devotion to your Self. Your ego WILL likely resist “doing the work” and try to convince you to settle for an “easier” less magical life. Please, don’t succumb to this fuckery.
Also of important note: “work” in this sense, is not synonymous with unpleasant labor. This type of work is sacred. It is your practice. It is your right action. Listen less to your ego’s lazy ways, and amplify your soul’s devotion to your work.
As for me, once I reached this tipping point I knew what was right for me, and I’m happy to say I’m now doing my work. I’ve started getting up an hour earlier and spending that hour meditating every morning. I’ve stuck with it for five days in a row now. It’s not much, yet, but I do feel that something has shifted and I’m devoted to this practice. I started somewhere, and now I set the intention to stay present for the road ahead.