A spiritual path is a one way street. This is a law of energy. You take one step and everything about you and everything about the path changes all at once. Take one more step and you are in. The path itself becomes your tether to this life through an ever-shifting forest and what comes to you, in challenge or exhaltation, comes across the way you are walking. It is specific to you.
You don’t get to go back. You don’t get to change your mind because, unless you are just tasting around, unless you are just workshop shopping, unless you are just riding the trance high from one cosmic spiritual hipster event to another, when you finally pack your bags and get out on the road, your commitment will have been heard. The silent vow that you made deep in your heart will already have been accepted. If you turn around to go back, the forest will have changed by new awarenesses that you can’t take away. Try as you might, journeying back would only mean moving on, to a home that will never be the same and a knowledge that will never let you rest again in the ignorances of before.
This is why so many people are afraid of letting go and submitting to their spiritual hunger. They can feel the danger. They know that to give up control of what happens in the spiritual practice would invite other forces to participate and for power to be given to the unknown. To accept the quest of wisdom will mean to begin the irrevocable unwinding of avoidance patterns they have set up in order to keep their lives going the way that is most comfortable. Some people are aware that their marriage would not survive a spiritual awakening. Some do not want to face the difficult conflict they see would arise with their job. Even those of us fully committed to the path know that eventually, we all have to contend with, rather than bury the realities of our sick, abusive society.
Stepping onto a spiritual path is a dangerous thing. Dangerous because we are all good people and once we know the truth, we will not abide by what we tolerated before. We will have to change and change means loss.
But it will be so good to let go of what does not serve us anymore.
We will know when we have found our real spiritual path because we will become consumed. Unseen forces from the other side reach over and pull us in. We become enamored, star-struck, empowered, entranced, lured, unstable, dismembered, turned inside out, renewed..but under it all our drive is our hunger for wholeness, for love, for deep communion with the blessed compassionate spirits. For soul food. As we are dragged into the shadow, we are taught ruthlessly about our own imbalances. We are faced with a choice, find our strength and spiritual allies or die. Die a spiritual death, die in our purpose.. die a long death of acceptance or a short one of physical illness. If we are going to die, we might as well die all the way, forget who we are and come out the other side to live in the light of awareness and wisdom of love.
There is no spiritual path without shadow. This wonderfully sticky personal mire that captures us and won’t let go until we have understood it’s every mechanism. With this knowledge we are able to dismantle the patterns that have been and free our vital life energy. Then and only then can we return. Like flowers in the spring we arise and when we resume our lives, it is with more power, more traction, more vision and more consciousness of the assistance we receive from the other side. We are now in the revelatory work of learning new ways of creating, of play, of new constructs of pleasure. We know ourselves in a new way and we are strong. Our ability to love has increased.
And when time has passed and we have known all that we can know, we return to the shadows, delving for more.