Pebbles on the Path

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Whether we work on ourselves psychologically, physically, or energetically, we often notice our minds and bodies respond – there is some sort of feedback we can take notice of.  Perhaps it’s the high of a good work out in the gym, or the serenity of a yoga session, or peacefulness after meditation.  In personal therapy, there can be breakthroughs and emotional release.  And in spiritual practices, we may notice various kinds of mystical experiences such as blissfulness, stillness and silence, a feeling of no-thought, expansiveness, a sense of the infinite, or many other expressions of consciousness.  If we are practicing kriya and pranayama then we may feel jolts of energy, body spasms, spontaneous yelps, or other such sparks.  In the presence of the profound, we may find ourselves crying joyfully, without sorrow, and not knowing why.

But what usually happens in these instances is that we latch on to the experience and make it a part of our identity.  Even more so on the spiritual path, the ego will hide in the very modality that we have taken on.  Many times we hear spiritual seekers tout their latest experience as if it were some kind of achievement.  But if we are conscious and aware, these are opportunities for us to catch the ego in its act and bring it to exposure, helping it to dissolve little by little.  We must remember that we are not these experiences, we are not this body/mind complex, this is just the medium through which consciousness expresses.

All of these wonderful experiences we have in our journey are like pebbles on a path.  As we walk, we feel the contours and shapes of the stones under our feet, but we don’t dwell on them.  Each sensation of these pebbles after every step simply tells us that we are moving forward.  If we walk mindfully, we acknowledge these sensations with joy but that is all they are.  We don’t identify with this pebble or that, so it should also be with our spiritual path.  These expressions of our progress are but mere mileposts, we take them with gratitude and humility, and move on.

Many practitioners get stuck in the experience seeking rather than being in unconditional acceptance of the inevitability of the moment.  That is why we are taught that in meditation for example, we should always sit as if it’s the first time, not expecting anything.  Let whatever comes, come – acceptance without judgment.  We have also heard that as seekers, we should always cultivate the mind of a beginner, in order to avoid spiritual elitism.

Also it’s worthwhile noting that we are all different, and will experience growth differently.  We should not be bothered about someone else’s experience and why it is absent in our case.  Everyone has a different energetic makeup, so practices impact us in a variety of ways which can’t readily be compared without some level of mastery – such as that of a guru for example.

Pride is another red flag on the spiritual path – pride of accomplishments, experiences, whatever.  Pride is a ready fruit of the ego.  So let’s remain grateful, humble, and joyful as we mindfully progress on our varying paths – simply aware of the pebbles that come and go along the way.

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