12th September 2015
By Wes Annac
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
Deciding we want to commit to the spiritual path is easy, but it can be harder to live up to our commitment. At the first sign of trouble, we could easily depart the path in favor of a lifestyle that doesn’t challenge us as much, but if we do, we’ll miss out on all of the incredible things the path has for us.
We’ll miss out on spiritual evolution and the wonders that come with it, and we’ll eventually realize we’ve taken a wrong turn. We might try to steer our ship in a more positive direction by then, but we would’ve been much further along the path if we hadn’t stopped in the first place.
I’d like to share five things that can distract us from the path, so we know what to look out for and what can hurt us.
The common spiritual seeker has to be diligent in this day and age, because there are all kinds of distractions out there that can halt our progress if we let them. Now’s a better time than ever to increase our dedication and find out how far we can go, but we have to watch out for the things I’ll list here as well as anything else that can stand in our way.
1. Fatigue, Laziness, Complacency
These three qualities can halt our progress by encouraging us to stop, relax and think more about the ego-driven self than our path or the people we want to help. If we give in to fatigue, it can take away our inspiration and encourage us to do little more than sit on the couch, binge watch our favorite TV shows and generally fail to get anything done.
Laziness compliments fatigue, because it encourages us to be unproductive for long periods of time.
Complacency is the icing on top of the cake that encourages us not to care that we’re no longer getting anything done. Complacency can encourage long periods of careless laziness, and if we can recognize and try to combat fatigue as soon as it starts to affect us, we can get away from all three of these qualities and continue with our inner work.
We’ve heard from practically every spiritual source that we’re infinite, and if we have love in our hearts and we can persevere in times of trouble, there’s nothing we can’t do. This includes keeping up with our spiritual practices (meditation, prayer, etc.), but we can easily convince ourselves that keeping up with them is just too hard.
If we convince ourselves we can’t keep going, we’ll naturally set them aside and we won’t pick them up until we once again find the motivation to give them a try. I’ll repeat what I said earlier: If we hadn’t set them down in the first place, then we’d have made a lot more progress by the time we were ready to pick them back up.
It helps to understand the role of love and perseverance on the spiritual (and creative) path, and the only time we fail at something is when we give up. None of us are failures until we allow ourselves to fail, and when it comes to our spirituality, that’s the last thing we want to do. If we’re serious about elevating our consciousness, we’ll quickly understand the importance of dedication and refusing to give up.
We might surprise ourselves with how much we can achieve if we keep going, and before we know it, we’ll be in a higher place each day and our radiance will become apparent to everyone in our vicinity.
3. Forgetting about love
I mentioned love earlier, and I can say from experience that forgetting to call on it can make the journey more difficult; especially if creativity is a big part of it. In my opinion, we can’t have true creativity or spirituality without love, and love makes it easier to keep on in hard times.
Love gives us the inspiration to keep going when our stresses pile up and we don’t feel very enlightened or inspired, and to fall away from it is to fall away from the greatest creative, spiritual, inspirational source around. The journey’s a lot easier and more worthwhile when we have love, and without it, life can seem empty and hollow – and not in the good way.
Plenty of spiritual teachers encourage emptiness, but love offers a unique type of emptiness where the mind is empty (as it’s meant to be) but the heart is full of inspiration, creativity and the willingness to tackle our most difficult challenges.
We’ll still have a clear, open, empty mind, but we’ll also be aligned with the creative force that’s responsible for our existence, our planet’s existence, and, in my opinion, everything we create. It all comes from love, and we’ll understand this when we’ve done the most potent inner work that gives us access to higher dimensions where everything is clearer and more amazing.
4. The distractions of our mainstream culture
Imagine it’s a Friday night and you feel inspired to meditate, write a spiritually inspired article or compose some spiritually inspired music. Perhaps your better half tells you they’d like to spend some time with you, and instead of the plans that were forming, you decide to watch a movie or catch up with a television show you both enjoy.
I’m not saying that spending time with loved ones will take us off of the path, but pay attention to how you feel once you’re done indulging in those movies or TV shows. Depending on the type of content you watch, you could feel awful or completely uninspired to do anything that has to do with your spirituality.
In fact, it could go in the opposite direction. All those influences swirling around your mind could encourage you to partake in more shows, movies, etc., and finding inspiration again could be difficult. You could fall prey to more and more distorted cultural influence, and as you all probably know, there are a lot of negative influences out there.
Television and movies are filled to the brim with negative, brutal and lusty programming, and they have a greater effect on our mind and our subconscious than we realize. If this type of programming takes hold in our subconscious, it can make us want more and more of it to satisfy the subconscious craving it created.
We might want to avoid these things altogether, and this is why so many spiritual seekers and organizations have removed themselves from the influence of western society. Its influence can keep us from making valuable progress, so instead of indulging, maybe we can find a healthier way to spend time with our loved ones.
5. Loneliness (i.e. the absence of people to share our spirituality with)
Being a spiritual seeker can often be lonely, because some of us are the only ones in our area who embrace spirituality or the various concepts that come with it. This might be different for people in western states like California, where there are a lot of ‘conscious’ people with various beliefs, but a lot of spiritual seekers are alone in their knowledge, their awareness and the way they feel about life.
This can discourage us from making progress, because there are plenty of people around us who’ll talk about trivial, cultural things all day long. It never feels good for a spiritual seeker to take part in mundane discussion, because they’ve begun to tap in to the secrets of the universe and this quickly becomes their only interest.
Can you imagine having all these thoughts and feelings about enlightenment, UFOs, meditation, etc. burning deep within, but all anyone around you wants to talk about is the debt ceiling or everything wrong with the liberal or conservative parties? It can be maddening, and if we subject ourselves to too much nonspiritual influence, it can slowly take hold in our subconscious. Before we know it, our minds are once again on all those trivial things we wanted to get away from and we have to start the process of personal liberation back over again.
These are just a few things we’ll want to avoid if we want to successfully elevate our consciousness, and they’ll no longer hinder us when we reach a certain level of progress. We’ll have learned to stay away from most of them, but even the ones we can’t stay away from will stop affecting us like they once did.
The path will get easier as we learn to avoid things that keep us from making progress and embrace things that elevate our progress, and as long as we’re dedicated to the process and our intent is genuine, getting past the obstacles that stand in our way will be a breeze. We’ll no longer feel disconnected from our creator, our higher consciousness or anything else that liberates us, and with our love-fueled connection intact, we’ll be able to emerge into the world and make a positive impact on others.
For now, let’s keep in mind what helps and hurts us on the path, and in all situations, let’s call on our inner love to make things easier. Love is always here for us, and it can always help us through the challenges that could otherwise bring us down. Routinely calling on it can make life easier, more flowing and more worthwhile, and we’ll enjoy all of our challenges when we approach them with love and the willingness to stick with our spirituality in the face of all odds.