There are so many paths, so many methods of getting there, so many masters for guidance, so many options... but there is failure in every path. Now, here I am talking of both temporary failures and permanent failures. Temporary failures are when one keeps trying and trying hard to evolve and grow but repeatedly faces obstacles and is pulled down everytime. Then on struggle is able to evolve but cannot stay there for long and tumbles back. This is temporary failure. Permanent failure is when there are repeated temporary failures and finally one gives up in frustration. One may wonder why one keeps sliding back to the old ways. (Read more on Falling Back To My Old Ways)
Here one imporant thing to note is that permanent failures are almost neglible because once one gets the spark of the truth of life then it is very difficult to let go off that spark completely. Inspite of the repeated downfalls, frustrations, vanity, that spark will always keep sparking after a temporary period of despair and that will motivate one to move up again.
Surprisingly, not many are aware why these obstacles occur and why one keeps falling down. Why are all not able to make a same-level progress even if the master or guru is one or if the path followed is one. Why do some people move up with least effort and without much obstacles and why do some constantly face obstacles.
One most important thing to know here is that one should never ever compare one's growth with someone else even if others are following your path, following one guru, following on instruction, following one practice, following same austerities, following same religion, following same rituals, yes, even if two individuals are of the same age, born at the same precise time, even if both started their practice at the same day. This is because of different karmic impressions that both carry. Each and every single human being born is born with a soul agenda that is based on their prior karma. The more the karmic debts, the more rigorous practice is required. Human birth means an opportunity to the soul to clear its karma. The moment a soul gets an understanding of this, the soul takes an inclination towards spirituality and begins working on the karma (irrespective of whether one even knows what karma is!)
Now, what is the struggle that we often mention? One can understand if closely observed that it need not be a struggle. Struggle happens when the negativity within refuses to leave the soul and allow positivity in. So in simple words it is actually the tussle between the positive and the negative. More negative karma means more negative energy one is holding. When one begins walking on the path, the first thing that is challenged is this negative holding and the moment it is challenged it creates a friction as it does not want to leave. One has been carrying these impurities (negative energy) since so many lives and it does not become easy for the soul to release it easily. One consciously knows that these must be released but on the other end one unconsiously holds on to them very dearly. One example is when one learns one fine day that it is not right to get angry on others. A religous person may feel this is a sin since he read it somewhere or some religious preacher told him this. A spiritual person will understand that emiting anger on others is sending out negative energy to that person which will have an impact on the person the anger is directed to and also have an impact on the self as law of karma acts and one has to reap the after effects of that action too. In both cases, both are aware that anger is not good. Both category people stop getting angry. So, whenever the occasion arises where one has to get angry, one suppresses it and does not allow it to come out. In this case, what one is doing may feel to be right to the person practising it, but in reality this is not the right way. Anger is a human emotion and if it has to be conquered one has to work on the root level.
Here in this example the stoppage of anger is only superficial. Let us know that anger has already been generated but only thing is that it has not been spilled out. Once the anger is generated it has to go somewhere, but one supresses it. This causes trouble as whatever is suppressed has not disappeared and will continue to find its way out of the physical body. This then turns into irritation, tension, nervous problems and even finds its way out in the form of physical and mental illness. What should be understood here is that some measure should be taken so that anger should not be created itself so that there is no necessity to supress or hide it. Then one notices that the moment one has stepped into spirituality there are more problems than ever. This is what gives birth to struggle. The conscious mind wants to get rid of a negativity and the subconscious mind rejects this idea. One has to deeply work deep down at the subconscious level to uproot negativities.
How is this to be done? This is where your real spiritual practices only can help. This is why only having knowledge about spirituality or only reading spiritual books can never elevate one to higher realms. Please understand that the moment you decide to purify yourself and evolve, your challenges will begin. Now, it is up to you to not let these challenges be labelled into problems. They will become problems if you do not understand the science of how these things work at deeper and subtler levels. There are people who feel very overwhelmed with the obstacles and wonder how spirituality can create problems instead of decreasing them. Remember, they are not created. These negativities that lie in different corners of your soul are brought to the front so that they can be faced, worked upon and released, one by one. The moment you begin with your spiritual practices, there is a surge of positive energy into you that will first hit the negative energy. When this sleeping negative energy gets the zap of this positive energy, it immediately raises its hood to prevent being dislodged from where it has been comfortably resting since ages. This is where the challenge is. At such times, one should be calm and understand that the purification work has begun. It may be very unpleasant, irritating, painful as these are being released. Lot of changes will start happening. Your life will start rearranging itself very rapidly and you will notice rapid changes happening in your life; this will include losses. (For more symptoms please read my previous post on Symptoms of Ascension) All these will look very alarming and frightening but if you trust in the divine process and trust in your determination to evolve, then please know that you will be also provided with the right assistance and right support at the right time. You will never be given more than you can handle. Patience and continuance of your spiritual practices will help certainly even though they may look useless at times. (Also read Waves of Transformation for help in this regard)
All the above I have spoken before in my posts here, but what I want to importantly convey this time is very important for all spiritual aspirants, whichever path you are on.
There is a myth with many spiritual aspirants that one can "get away" with just doing rituals or practising meditation and other spiritual practices. It is very important to note that before walking on any path what is very essential for your success in spirituality will be your honestly and sincerity to become "clean" both in and out first. I would highly advise you to not try any spiritual practice if your heart and mind are not convinced that you need to first make an intent that you become pure. When I say become pure, it means practising what you preach and following every spiritual discipline yourself first. For example, if you talk to others about honesty and expect the world to be honest, then you first got to be honest yourself, a must that you not lie in thoughts, words and deeds.
The father of yoga, Patanjali, a humble physician who became one of the world's greatest sages who roamed India somewhere between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D. revealed long ago the steps to enlightenment. They are:
1. Yama (nonviolence, truth and honesty, refrain from stealing, nonlust, nonpossessiveness)
2. Niyama (purity, contentment, austerity, svadhyaya, awareness)
3. Asana (posture)
4. Pranayama (control of breath)
5. Pratyahara (withdrawal of senses)
6. Dharana (concentration)
7. Dhyana (meditation)
8. Samadhi (enlightenment)
All those who seek and working towards enlightenment, have a look at the above. Enlightenment is at the 8th point. For achieving the enlightenment what most of the seekers do is meditation. Look at where meditation is - it's at the 7th point! That is why many fail to achieve results because the mind is still full of impurities and cannot go any further.
For any spiritual seeker, these above eight points are a must and they must be practiced in the same sequence. Before jumping straight into meditation - know, acknowledge, and practice the 6 points that come before meditation. Purify yourself and your will know how easier it then becomes to sit in meditation and move towards your goal. If not in sequence, at least practice all the 7 of them simultaneously but do not skip any of them; it won't work!
(Read more in the article on Eight Limbs of Pantanjali)
There are bigger challenges that you need to first acknowledge within yourself and then think about self-realization or liberation or salvation. Liberation or self-realization will never come to you if you are not vibrating at the purest level, though it may give you a false feeling that you are doing great on the spiritual path. Yes, there are these challenges that must be acknowledged first in yourself - ego, lust, fear, anger, attachment, pride. I mentioned the word "acknowledge" many times here because unless you acknowledge that these are there within you, there is no chance that you can work over it. Liberation is to first liberate yourself from these major aspects in you. Again, these should not be practised incorrectly (superficially) as the example of anger mentioned above. The same applies to ego, lust, fear, anger, attachment and pride. For many aspirants it becomes a feeling that these have been mastered these but what one will really not know is that they have actually been suppressed and not destroyed. Now, when one begins working on these aspects and simultaneously practising their path, then they are on the right track, for the real work of purification has begun. Acknowledge, accept and then release. Acknowledge not to the world but to yourself. Acknowledge only to yourself when you possess the negativities and acknowledge only to yourself when you conquer these! Let not a soul know about it.
Some tips that can help one be aware of these challenges and work on them simultaneously.
- ~ Be aware at all times of your thoughts, words and actions.
- ~ Keep reminding yourself whenever the challenges come up that you are going to overcome them.
- ~ Follow your path with all your heart.
- ~ Meditate regularly.
- ~ If you are ritualistic, do it with your heart and devotion with the intention of being purified in the process.
- ~ Respect every path, every method, every practice, every guru, every soul.
- ~ Accept yourself as you are and what you are. In the process, you will start accepting everyone as they are without wanting to change them. (You do not know their soul agenda and what they have come to experience and learn and thus you have no right to interfere into their soul agenda. Allow them to experience and learn, but guide and assist if they allow to.)
- ~ Forgive yourself and in this process you will forgive others.
- ~ Love yourself unconditionally and in the process your will start loving everyone and everything unconditionally (this is one of the biggest challenge for every aspirant but this is ultimately the golden quality that every great liberated master who walked on earth possessed!) When one learns to love unconditionally, forgiveness and accepting all as they are will automatically happen and even vice versa!
- ~ Turn away from negativity and anything that vibrates and promotes negativity (visual stuff, reading stuff, audible stuff, tasting stuff and touching stuff) In brief I am mentioning about withdrawal from the gratification of five senses of sight, touch, taste, hear, smell)
- ~ Refuse and say NO with confidence to anything that your conscience does not approve of.
- ~ Practice one small act of kindness anywhere you can at every given opportunity.
- ~ Share with others what you are fortunate of - wealth, knowledge, food, clothing, etc.
- ~ Respect everything in nature and bless it.
- ~ Turn to sattvic (pure) food, thoughts, actions.
- ~ Avoid debates on spirituality right and wrongs.
- ~ Never find fault or criticize any person, religion, faith, guru, or path. If you are doing so, know that you are doing this beyond your right and there is a great price to be paid for this.
- ~ Treat little children and bigger children (old) with respect and love.
- ~ Be patient and kind with the ignorant.
- ~ Never preach or force these morals on other people, how much ever right you may feel you are or how much ever wrong you may feel they are.
- ~ Bless everything and everyone. Blessings and prayers are nothing but your positive energy that you direct to them that does do a great help though you may not see it with your physical eyes. It comes back manifold in the same form that you give. Once you know this, you will know how important it is not to curse others or send any form of negative energy towards others.
- ~ Seek inward not outward.
- ~ Simplify your life. Spirituality is not about complicating but simplifying.
- ~ Do not keep discussing about your spiritual experiences and growth to all. Do not discuss until you are blessed with the ability of making them experience what you have experienced.
Your spiritual growth is not to be measured by the amount of knowledge you have about every single thing in spirituality and so let not your aim be to read more, learn more, search more, ask
more, understand more, see more, but to simply practice more. When you begin practicing the path with all sincerity and faith, all that you need shall come to you. There were great saints and masters who never knew to even read and write but they possessed priceless knowledge, techniques and secrets of living and enlightenment. They never had internet or libraries but they all relied on their inner powers to access the valuable knowledge. Seek inward not outward. Let each and every cell in your body vibrate with the intention of purifying the self and every challenge shall turn to be milestones in your journey.