Thursday, 2 September 2010
Letting go of spiritual ambition
For the past twenty years, I've read books and listened to talks by the great masters. Sometimes I've even understood them! But always I have been left with a sense of yearning... for the peace they describe, for the love they describe flowing through your being, for the deep knowing that 'All is Well'...
With each book, I've wanted it just a little bit more. Those books became my escapism. While reading I could leave this reality behind and dream of a easier, kinder world.
I tried different prayers, different practices, different schools of thought, but always with a deep, driving need to prove my worth as a being (both human and spiritual).
Over the past fortnight, I've seen some interviews on Conscious.tv, and most notably, one with Suzanne Foxton, I've changed my view.
There's something profoundly inspiring (and relatable) about the idea of Suzanne, a housewife, achieving enlightenment whilst washing up! It is amazing that we live in a time when so many people are spontaneously achieving enlightenment. Suzanne believes that we don't have to do anything. We don't have to strive or deprive... We simply have to be alive.
Listening to her, I saw my spiritual ambition clearly. The neediness that drove it. The fear that whispered that I am not good enough and need to prove myself spiritually, because (oh, this old-school thinking is embarrassing) 'God' is the ultimate judge: money and power come and go, but God's grace is eternal. But those were my thoughts: I had identified the Simon Cowell of the Universe, and I'd gone about winning 'his' favour.
I can see that sub-personality inside myself, the bundle of thoughts, fears and hopes, all knotted together like a messy ball of wool. Now, not getting caught up in that bundle of thoughts is a different matter entirely!
It's a new challenge to understand that I don't have to somehow 'win God's favour', or prove myself worthy by being or doing anything other than I am. That had been my focus almost 20 years.
Now, I suspect that Enlightenment is more of a byproduct of life, than the focus of it. Which brings me back to the present moment, the present reality: my life, free of the need to win favour or be 'good'.
Who am when I strip away the goal that was my guiding star? Time will tell...