Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ask Parvati 22: It's A Spiritual Life - Part 4, Commitment and Courage


(Continued from “Living A Spiritual Life”)

To live a spiritual life, we must make that the goal of our life and commit to it. If we seek enlightenment, we must make our goal God-realization, so that we may experience the divine in everything.

God-realization ultimately only happens through grace. Yet commitment and courage are essential in helping us continue along the path, especially when the going gets tough.

Some people think that a spiritual life is supposed to feel like having rose petals showered under our feet. At times, it may be so. Perhaps when we become enlightened, we will be in a permanent state of bliss where everything feels like that. That I cannot yet say. But I do know that on the road to such freedom, we can feel supported by a force as sweet as a billion roses and yet often step on thorns that painfully hurt.

Especially when the going gets tough, we must remain even more focused on our goal and commitment to realize God. Tough times along the spiritual path are like rock tumblers that help to erode our rough edges. They help us break through the resistance we have to this moment and loosen our attachments to our ego. This is why is it essential that we see all that is as grace, even the stuff we don’t like. This open, non-judgmental attitude helps us remain receptive to the teachings each moment brings, whether the teaching may feel pleasant or not.

Spirituality is a medicine to cure the disease of ignorance. Sometimes medicine is sweet and sugary. Sometimes, it is bitter and makes you want to throw it away. On the spiritual path, we learn dispassion so that we may be non-reactive and keep focused on a bigger, divine picture, maintaining evenness of mind no matter what life brings. With such an attitude, the divine is always near.

(Continues tomorrow with “Spiritual Guidelines”)


  1. Indeed. Sometimes we are called on the spiritual path to swallow a bitter pill of humility and surrender in the face of circumstances that we would not have chosen for ourselves or that reflect aspects of ourselves we wish weren't there. Yet, truly, the most painful thing we can do is remain in resistance. The courage to release resistance takes a great weight from our shoulders.

  2. Having been on a spiritual path for about 20 years (starting shortly after my first Kripalu yoga experience in the summer of '89), sometimes I wonder if it's been worth all the pain and frustration. I even wonder if I would have been better off - at least financially better off - if I had never met Amma. Many times I think it would have been so much easier to just crack open a beer and watch the baseball or hockey game, not that I don't still do that from time to time! :)

  3. Keval, if you could have remained spiritually inert and stayed on the couch with the TV and baseball and no Amma, you would have. But it's not you. :)