I’ve been asked a few times by friends and colleagues how does one stay in that place of positive flow after one has to go back into the “real world” after experiencing a life-changing conscious awareness raising experiences such as a spiritual retreat weekend, vipassana getaway, transformational festival gathering, or the like. My usual response to them is, “Honestly, the most committed and successful of self-advancing beings know that one just has to do whatever one has to do in order to stay awake and aware. In order to not go back to sleep in terms of one’s consciousness, point blank, takes consistent and dedicated practice… and lots of patience.”
I equate working out one’s spiritual consciousness “muscles” to working out the body’s own physical muscles. For example, someone who does not regularly work out or perform some form of physical exercise may eventually begin to experience feeling somewhat physically out of shape… lathargic, depressed, un-motived, low self-esteem, etc. The first thing they usually do in order to move from this state to a more self-rewarding and fulfilling one may be to read a book on healthy living and/or subscribe to some sort of healthy lifestyle or workout magazine. You know… to get the mental motivation muscles also moving in the right direction.
The next step is to join a fitness program or a gym. Then there’s the first of a series of work(shops)outs. Through which they might experience that first “shock” (awareness) of how badly out of shape (misaligned) they have really allowed themselves to become through their former thoughts, habits and operating (thinking) standards over the years. But that’s okay, because now they know (are conscious), AND they are doing something about it, and they know that if they stick with it, they will start feeling healthier and happier with the knowledge that we are now giving themselves (learning) the tools and developing a consistent practice toward change our bodies (self-expression), hearts (self-love) and minds (self-awareness)..
You see where I’m going here, right?? Good. SO, maybe after some time, they are ready for a serious challenge like maybe a short marathon or some sort of exercise bootcamp (workshop/retreat) to take them to that “next level”. And guess what? “They” are you. And you are me. And you and me… i.e, WE sign up, we pay and we perform (grow/expand) with flying colors! We are exhausted but exhilarated at the same time! Life will no longer ever be the same, we tell ourselves! But then what? Our former lives are calling. And unless we are willing and able to make a drastic change in our surrounding environment, we have to go back into what I call the “sleeping world” of day-to-day routine in a predominantly unconscious work or home environment and/or social circles.
Sure, for the first few weeks to couple of months, the high of what we’ve learned (and unlearned) sticks with us… and sticks with us strong! We are livin’ the dream, baby! We ARE different! The people around us recognize it, and we are complimented on the positive changes that are apparent in our demeanor, words, and our walk, which we have worked hard to achieve. Quietly, however… the ego is sitting in the wings waiting for the first opportunity to find a chink in the new armor. For the moment when it can operate from a new place of consciousness and begin to take things back over. How willing are we really committed to holding onto the new level consciousness we have worked so hard to obtain and live by and avoid falling back into old patterns despite newly obtained skills of awareness? How hard are we willing to work at staying awake really??
With this new and improved self-image (spiritual confidence) we think (there’s that word again!) that we don’t need to do all that work we did before. We’ve done it… right? All that work has paid off, and now we have the answers and the key to our own happiness… ’cause we “know” we are in control. But like the person who has finally reached the best physical shape since starting to workout, we tell ourselves spiritually, “Hey, I’ve got this. No worries. I’m good. Watch this…” [flexing mental awareness and consciousness know-how and metaphysical jargon].
And therin lies the chink the ego has been loking for. And without much effort at all really, we literally begin to slack off the work that got us to where we’ve arrived. We begin to skip workouts. We sleep in instead of going to the gym. We physically, mentally and emotionally (all tied to spiritually) decide to veg on the couch and watch reality shows and sci-fi flicks instead of getting outside and taking a run or brisk walk or some other outdoor activity. We go back to eating and drinking some of the things that we used to consume which may not be so healthy. And 2-3-4-6 months later we are back where we began with old habits (ego) again running the show.
I see it over and over again. Heck, I’ve BEEN through it over and over again as I moved through my own process. Not only on a physical level but on a spiritual as well. But not anymore and not for a long time now. And like many, in the past I one day woke up (again) and realized (again) that I’ve grown tired of going back to being mentally, emotionally and spiritually out of shape (again)! So, I tell my friends and those I meet along the way who ask me the question,“How do I stay in that place of knowing and growing on my spiritual path without sliding back?” And I say to them emphatically, “Personal commitment… ward work… awareness… and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Lots and lots of daily practice.”
The master teacher Jesus tells us to “be in the world but not of it”. The wise and knowinginstructs us to question everything and to find the “middle way”. Life is about balance. It’s a fine dance between living with complete attention (awareness) and enjoyment through the three core faculties of Mind, Body and Soul. Feed one more than the other and the others will lack nourishment and grow weary and weak. Then one finds oneself out of shape and out of balance once again.
And as much as we train and strengthen our mental and physical muscles of mind and body, we must also continue the work of giving our spirit (higher self/consciousness) the nourishment, exercise, and energy it needs to allow us to live the life we are truly wanting and are meaning to live. It’s truly that simple… but it ain’t easy! It takes work just like anything else. Truly, there is no “going back”… there are only those who bring forth old patterns of behaviors (outdated exercises, if you will) and continue to practice them to the present moment. Even if only for a little while, perhaps to simply serve as a reminder about how lazy and disempowering that state of being really was… is.
Thank goodness the gym of LIFE is open 24 hours with free daily access, eh?
Three easy ways YOU can support the Project today: (1) Click the LIKE button below. (2) SHARE this page with others. (3) DONATE today! → Yes, why not now? Absolutely, we totally agree… there’s no better time than the present! ♥ AND just so you know… NO gift is ever (never ever ever eeehhh-vah!) too big or too small. Every share and every love offering goes directly towards helping us help raise awareness, inspire others and build a larger, stronger, wiser, more connected community of beings all around the world. Thank you! ♥ -PRS