Saturday, 23 April 2022

Spiritual Routine

 You might think these two words don't belong together. One suggests love, beauty, mystery, glory, the undiscovered country. The other seems dull, boring, workaday, uncreative, unimaginative. One is a mystic on a mountaintop. The other is a clerk in an office. However, as far as life in this world is concerned, they very much do belong together.

When one starts on the spiritual path in any serious sense one is full of enthusiasm (literal meaning, possessed by a god) for the journey ahead. Great vistas seem to open up and life seems to be about moving into more and more magnificence. For a newcomer to the path the world can seem irradiated by light. We are often impelled to this new life, new birth, by an experience of some sort which temporarily lifts the veil between this world and the next. We imagine this is just the beginning of a glorious journey.

And so it is. But this journey can be a long, hard slog. The excitement of early days may soon dissipate as the reality of the spiritual path kicks in. For the path is not about higher states of consciousness or bliss or happiness in this life. It is about work. The work required to make your soul a fit receptacle for God. The cleaning, polishing work, the removal of dust, dirt and deeply engrained stains work, the work required to address bad habits of a lifetime (or of lifetimes). It is to do with knowing yourself and facing up to facts about yourself you may not like and which you suppress. The path has the habit of unearthing all that and confronting you with the reality of what you are which is good because you can't get into heaven with any darkness in your soul. You can't cheat God.

The routine of spiritual life is what is required for the work you need to do on yourself. The Masters told me over 40 years ago that my life must continue in a routine, in fact, until I left my physical body. Such has been and continues to be the case. There is nothing glamorous about proper spiritual work. Of course, there can be moment of upliftment but we come to Earth to work and get to grips with what holds us back from deeper engagement with the source of life and divine being. Here is the perfect environment for that. But most of the time it is not exciting so don't expect it to be. In fact, if it is you should probably ask yourself what has gone wrong. Have you been led off the path by some temptation to the lower self, that self that is always looking for gratification of some kind?

Monks used to be warned that if they received too much what was called spiritual consolation or divine sweetness and what we nowadays call higher states of consciousness, visions, ecstasies and the like, it could well be the other fellow rather than God who was bestowing these. You can be a spiritual libertine as well as a sensual one and this was the trap that many New Age enthusiasts or those who looked to the East or to some exotic guru for enlightenment fell into. You become a spiritual pleasure seeker and forget that what is really required is sanctification of the soul and this demands self-abnegation, acceptance of discipline, humility and hard work. The rewards are greater than we can conceive of but they are not in this life which is about preparation for the feast not the feast itself.


lea said...

Love this post. Whether or not (re)incarnating; neither learning or teaching happens on a sea of continuous 'highs and euphoria' - changes and contrast are needed. And when too much discipline fades the 'horses of maya' eventually, inevitably, take back the reins.

Isbe said...

I can always count on you William, to articulate clearly what is more often than not a mass of indistinct impressions in my own mind. Thank you for this post - so true and so well expressed.

William Wildblood said...

Thanks Isbe, I'm glad you found this helpful.

Thanks lea for your kind comment too.