“I still have a long way to go, but I’m already so far from where I used to be, and I’m proud of that.” ~Unknown
Just like any student, we make mistakes throughout our spiritual journey.
Although I prefer to see mistakes as learning opportunities, below are a few things I’ve learned not to do through my years of meditation and detox weekends and constant effort to stay on the divine side of life.
1. Constantly looking for answers outside:
When I started to meditate regularly, I felt increased intuition.
Triggered by this, I constantly tried to find signs to guide each decision I made. Waiting for 11:11, feeling a butterfly land on my shoulder, or just by finding a four-leaf clover, I was trying to find the answer outside.
I went from one spiritual master to another, trying to find the one who would give me the “answer”.
This state of mind “the universe owes me an explanation” paralyzed me from not being self-sufficient in determing my own direction of life.
Do you know what ultimately works? The regulars sit down, close their eyes and focus on their breathing method. Yes, this good old technique. Apparently, our hearts still know the answer, but our minds are often too cloudy to listen.
2. Thinking that you are above those who are “unenlightened”:
When I started my spiritual path, I condemned those who did not meditate.
I didn’t like hanging around those who couldn’t follow conversations about positive energy and the law of attraction. I saw them as miserable mortals who would never live the fulfilling life I lived.
But then I met non-spiritual people who are warmer and kinder than a lot of spiritual people I know. Although they never keep a gratitude journal, they are happy and face their lives.
They may not consciously choose to walk the path of love, but they demonstrate all aspects of having it in abundance.
I understood that spirituality does not depend on everything you know about the chakras or how humane your diet is.
This is how you have incorporated positivity into your life, sometimes even without realizing it.
3. Being attached to your spiritual practice:
A year ago, I joined a walking meditation class. We were advised to practice it every day, but the lazy me often failed to do it.
Then I would feel bad about myself, so I finally stopped doing it because I didn’t want to remember my failure.
Have you ever started a daily meditation ritual to reduce your anxiety, only to be even more anxious on days when you couldn’t find time to meditate? It was a bit like that.
When we use rituals to feel better about ourselves, we sometimes get too attached to them. The next time you do your daily meditation, ask yourself if you are doing it out of self-esteem out of fear of not doing it?
An easy way to answer this question is to observe if you are meditating as a self-care act or if you can feel comfortable checking it in your to-do list.
The key to healthy spiritual practices is to do so to improve your well-being, not for a sense of accomplishment or to develop your self-esteem.
Do you remember the cliché but the real saying “When you really love someone, you love them despite their faults, not just because of their good qualities”?
Now I feel enough despite not doing my rituals, not because of my rituals.
What if I don’t have 30 minutes to spend in silence today? I realize that I am still the functional and magnificent creature that I am.
It’s just that when I spend the thirty minutes focusing on my breathing, it strengthens my already impressive self even more.
4. Doing good things just to feel significant:
It’s just another form of attachment, although from the outside it looks very positive. Yes, your environment would probably benefit.
However, have you ever gotten angry because someone rejected your nice gesture? If so, this is your problem.
You felt it because you didn’t do it for them, you did it for yourself.
Maybe you were hoping they would pay you back, or maybe you were using them as a tool to build up good karma.
I too was guilty of this. A few months after my first job after university, I really wanted to be loved and I wanted to “spread the love”.
I would send long and excessively good emails to my colleagues – which proved to be ineffective because it took a long time to read them. In addition, I would help people voluntarily without assessing whether my help would benefit or overwhelm them.
In my fourth month, I wondered “Why am I not already loved by everyone?”
The key to doing good deeds is to remember that you are doing it for others, so you need to focus on them, not on yourself.
5. Thinking of spirituality as a destination, not a journey:
I have met many spiritually enlightened gurus, and none have claimed that they’re done with improving themselves. Spirituality is a long, ever-changing journey.
I used to believe that if I were spiritually awakened, no bad things would ever happen to me again. I would never feel sad, only be surrounded by nice people, and from there on life would always feel positive.
I could not be more wrong. Spirituality is not about suppressing or diminishing your dark side.
Spirituality is about raising your mindfulness to a level where you can always make the conscious choice to do the right thing, in spite of what happens and what you’re feeling.
Along the spiritual journey, you will finally accept that you always have options. And that, my friend, is the true meaning of freedom.
By: Fransiska Dewi