Works in Progress on The Spiritual Path

Work-in-Progress

“I learned to recognise the thorough and primitive duality of man; I saw that, of the two natures that contended in the field of my consciousness, even if I could rightly be said to be either, it was only because I was radically both.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

Duality exists in everything… well, almost everything, if you will. The yin and yang of things, the good and the bad, the right and the wrong, the positive and the negative, the light and the dark…and there are hardly ever any absolute truths in the world as we know it. Maya or Illusion is rife everywhere around us.

Like Stevenson’s famous character(s) from which I picked up the above quote- we all have a mix of good and bad in us. Yes, we all have a Dr. Jekyll & a Mr. Hyde in us in varying degrees- the best of us have a dark side and the worst of us, some goodness – within the light, there is darkness and within the darkness, there’s always some light. If it weren’t thus, we’d already be saints or ‘enlightened beings’ and perhaps we would not even need to be born on the Earth, lest we chose to do it for a higher purpose.

So many of us, especially when we choose to be part of a spiritual school, fail to recognize this and are way too harsh on ourselves, and on fellow-practitioners. The common expectation is that if we are on such a path, we must not falter and we must not make any mistakes, nor harbor any kind of negativity and most certainly not let it show, if at all it’s there. In our attempt to do that, we sometimes end up bottling it all up deep inside us or denying it even exists. The result is that it builds up, quite often unknown to us, and can come bursting out like a volcano, shocking not only others but us as well. When we witness such outbreaks, we start criticizing ourselves and/or others- isn’t it a habit that we are all guilty of falling back on time and again? And then, what happens? This criticism creates low self- esteem and adds to the already long list of obstacles that impede our spiritual growth.

To be absolutely free of vices, negative thoughts and emotions is sans doubt the objective of anyone on a spiritual path, but to reach that objective, one needs time. It is unrealistic to expect anyone to achieve it in one day- just like one does not become a pro on the very first day, so it is also with spiritual practices and purification. It is all a step by step by process that entails time and in the interim, we all go through our phases of good and bad, oscillating between rights and wrongs and highs and lows.

So, how do we deal with this duality and mix of opposing forces within us?

The first step, in my opinion, is acceptance that it is normal to be like this and that these opposing forces exist in each one of us. Hiding from these or denial will not serve the purpose in the long term.

Master Choa says, there can be no inner transformation without awareness. So, the second step is awareness of what goal we want to achieve and in order to achieve that, what weaknesses must we remove and what behavioural patterns must we change. Identification of these, in the minutest of details, is essential. The detail will also help us identify the root cause for our behaviour and thereby help us eliminate the weaknesses even more effectively from our system.

The third is a slow step by step removal of all that is undesirable- a gradual and tedious process that moves in a spiral trajectory, full of ups and downs, requiring time, effort, patience, courage, support and perseverance. Tough as it may sound, it is not all that difficult if one puts one’s mind to it and the rewards are certainly worth the effort.

So, let us not be overtly judgmental and critical of our colleagues, in fact of anyone, including ourselves. Instead, let us patiently encourage each other on this path and let our comparison be only to our previous selves. To me, every small improvement is an achievement. Take for example the act of getting angry- anger will not disappear in a day. For a person who is trying to control anger, if the change is from getting angry daily to getting angry once a week- that in itself is an improvement. Sure, nowhere near where he/she would want to arrive, but a progress nonetheless. Habits that are old and ingrained in us take time to change. Therefore, it is important to celebrate each progress, recognize and be aware of each regression as well- for that too will happen, and then to gently and persistently move on till a significant change has been achieved.

Master Choa Kok Sui has given us so many techniques to achieve this, starting from the Basic Pranic Healing course. His simple technique of daily inner reflection & firm resolution, is my favourite because it is so easy to follow. It helps one become aware, build a healthy self- esteem and at the same time, effectively get rid of the inner weaknesses and cultivate the right behavioural patterns. The simple philosophy behind it is that right thoughts eventually manifest as right speech and right actions.

We are all still “works in progress” on this journey.

Do not shun your dark side, do not try and hide or fight it either.  Embrace it, acknowledge it and then bid it goodbye. Set realistic goals. The chances of success are higher this way.

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