Life seems to be a series of moments in which I can decide to live up to my highest potential, or scrape along providing myself with excuses for performing at my absolute minimum. The liberating thing about time being manifest as consecutive moments, is that I can choose where I want life to go next when I become conscious of it. In times of extreme physical or mental hardship the equilibrium of my apparently solid determination is prone to upset, and that is when unconsciousness around my own emotions and negative thought patterns can result in a downward spiral into self-pity, and numbing myself to what I’m really feeling. Consciousness around times of intense emotion and stress is one of the hardest and most important practices I’m struggling to cultivate right now. When my mind is at it’s weakest and most vulnerable and I feel like numbing out, is also when I need to pay most careful attention to what I want from life. The desire for relief can sometimes get in the way of my mission, and once I start down that path it can take a while before I snap out of it. I’m present to the fact that there will inevitably be fluctuations.
There often seems to be a notion, especially in new age communities, that in order for our path to be successful we should be happy and loving all the time. If you are truly seeking truth on a spiritual path, I don’t think that is natural. The masters that we exalt and revere are seen as examples of how successful we can be. They are seemingly perfectly in balance, immune to emotional disturbance, and in possession of unattainable skills. I have been guilty of putting them on a pedestal many times. This illusion of them being somehow ‘better’ than us isn’t serving their egos, and it is definitely not serving us. They likely have their own flaws and weaknesses that we are not seeing. Masters should be seen for who they are, unique individuals, just like you and me, who have come a long way, but have their own issues to deal with. Rather than prostrating ourselves in front of them and praying and hoping that just possibly, one day, we might be just like them, we should be standing with them and exploring life with their wisdom and experience guiding us. A master may be extraordinary, but it is possible that someday, if you work hard, you may surpass them. In the beginning it will often seem unattainable, but I like to remember a famous quote: “Go as far as you can see; when you get there you’ll be able to see farther.”
To be clear, I’m not advocating disrespect for masters, but a perspective where instead of distancing ourselves from them, we are getting closer to them. Not through fake worship, or exalted adoration, but through a realization of our shared humanity and kinship.
Love from Wudang