Using your Spiritual Path Against Yourself
By Dr. Sheri Rosenthal
In looking back at my process over the years I have noticed an interesting phenomenon that I refer to as "using my path to go against myself." This behavior may be a surprise to many of you".but as programmed ego minds we have been trained to use our life situations to go against ourselves since we were small. We have learned from those around us to use other people to raise our blood pressure, prove that we are not good enough, affirm that we will never be loved or that life is unfair. Unfortunately, the list of way we use others to hurt ourselves is endless.
I often see how many times people get fanatical about changing their lives at the beginning of their spiritual path. They see some positive change in their lives and want the process to be finished right now - as if instant awareness is an available commodity. They spend all their free time journaling, writing, recapitulating, going to workshops, and traveling on spiritual journeys, but they have no balance in their lives and are not having much fun. It is important to create enjoyment in life, because we don't know if we'll be around tomorrow.
We have a workaholic society due to our puritanical beliefs about work - for example: "Idol hands are the devils playground." It behooves us to look carefully at how we are creating the dream of our lives right now. Is there balance in our lives? Are we really happy? Has our path become a burden or dreadful? Or even worse"has our spiritual path started to look like a full time job?
I am not saying that parts of your path will not be painful or challenging to look at. Challenge and pain are natural in the course of any quest to transform. But, at the same time, if we engage in self-judgment or create rigid schedules for our journaling, our path will become a continuation of our "doings." Doings are activities we engage in that are programmed behaviors that we perform without awareness. We normally "do" things to abuse ourselves without consciousness, and we don't want our path to be an opportunity to perpetuate that abuse.
For example, we want to be the best student, to look good in our teacher's eyes so we can have approval and love. I remember having this exact experience, wanting my teacher's approval for what I was doing. Of course, the beauty of it all was that he couldn't care less. All my teacher wanted was for me to be happy, and to get over my need to link my self-worth to him or anyone else! Freedom is never having to impress anyone ever again because you are completely content and in love with yourself.
Your programmed mind will always make at least two proposals for any situation you are presented with. There will always be at least one proposal that appears seemingly logical but will actually be harmful to you. Carefully observe the logic your mind uses to justify everything you choose to do. It may tell you that if you do a long list of things you will heal yourself and be a good student. Another part of your mind will tell you, "I am tired, I can do this tomorrow." So which proposal do you listen to when both are in opposition to one another, and both are the result of programmed internal dialogue? Well, this is a most challenging question! The best advice is not to listen to either proposal because you cannot trust your mind. You may think one of those statements is the real you speaking but the real you cannot speak with words.
Listen to your heart. If you are simply exhausted then rest. If you are exhausted everyday, then there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed first. I would ask, "Why are you tired all the time?" or "Are you creating stress in your life?" If the answer to these questions is "yes, change that first so you can have the time for your spiritual activities. Then your body will be happy and you will feel balanced. You will be able to focus on your process with more clarity if your body is rested and well cared for.
Watch the "logic that your mind proposes to get you to go against yourself. Consider the justifications your mind is using to hold the status quo, sabotage you, and keep you from happiness. Be wary, be watchful and do not believe yourself under any circumstances! And above all do not empower your feisty program with the ability to use your path to go against yourself!
About The Author
Dr. Sheri Rosenthal is a master Toltec teacher and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Toltec Wisdom. Having trained with don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, she currently takes students on spiritual journeys, works with personal apprentices and enjoys being extremely happy. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or at http://www.sherirosenthal.com.