It’s only when you commit to a spiritual path can you truly make progress. In fact, this applies to any path leading to a clearly defined goal. But people are terrified of commitment. They would rather, as my guru would say, “be committed to not being committed”.
Commitment for most means a giving up of freedom. That you are surrendering your free will to someone else or to a doctrine or more. This is an erroneous way of thinking.
All great things in this world were accomplished by individuals who were single-pointedly committed on a path to a clearly defined goal.
The spiritual path is no different. One must choose a path and commit to it.
Most would rather talk about the various spiritual paths and how they’ve sampled them and taken bits and pieces and created their own path. The blind cannot lead the blind but if it makes you happy telling yourself this and it helps you go to sleep at night then don’t stop.
For those of you who are serious about embarking on a spiritual path you need to begin by becoming crystal clear on the philosophy that you subscribe to.
The biggest hindrance to most people, in my decades of talking to people about this, is the subconscious mind. Most people have an early childhood impression of a philosophy that their parents or grandparents subscribed to. This philosophy is deeply ingrained in their subconscious – most often then not unknowingly.
Fast forward a few decades later and life’s experiences may have taught them lessons and learnings that may contradict their early childhood philosophy. One philosophy is blind belief or acceptance (note: I’m not saying that childhood philosophies are wrong). I say this because you subscribed to this philosophy as a result of being told to do so or being exposed to it consistently. Highly unlikely, in most cases, as a child that you would have had the ability and maturity to understand what you are subscribing to. The other philosophy is what my guru would often refer to as experiential learning. Learnings born from repeated experiences. Unshakable learnings.
Here’s where the struggle begins. Most cannot renounce their early childhood philosophy and embrace wholeheartedly the new philosophy which they have come to believe in which was born of their life’s experiential learnings. Learn to wisely discriminate between what you have accepted as a truth and what you have experienced repeatedly and understand to be true. This can, and often is, opposingly different when it comes to religion and the spiritual path.
Almost all fail in this battle. The past proves to be too powerful. They cling on to it for fear of hurting their elders or loved ones who may still be part of their childhood philosophy. “Oh my god, what would people say if I told them I was a Taoist?”, “God forbid if my grandparents saw me wearing a red dot on my white head.” It’s not only what others may think of them but other reasons such as the fear of embarking down a path that is not known. “Will my whole world change?”, “Do I need to change my life and be someone completely different?” and more plague and cripple a person from following their experiential learnings.
What holds most people back is really their fears of what others might say or think of them. If they were stuck on a deserted island all by themselves you can bet every last penny of yours that they would embrace the philosophy that was born of their personal experiences in life. This newfound philosophy may often be part of another religion than what you were born into. “So, do I call myself a Hindu now?”
Some will defend and ask, but why do I need to give it a label? The simple answer is that you give everything in your life a label. Your cat has a name. So has your child. Teams have names. Companies have names. We love brand name things. But when it comes to spirituality ….please don’t give it a name.
Jenny wishes to be called Jenny when she is at her corporate job but when she is on her yoga retreat in Bali intertwined in a pose with a Sanskrit name longer than mine, then please call her by her yoga name “Shanti”. Jenny, make up your mind. Decide. And commit. You do yourself a massive disservice by not doing so.
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