Almost every day I receive a letter, an e-mail, or phone call from an aspirant who wants to know, essentially, the following: “What must I do to succeed spiritually?” Or, in a slight variation on that theme: “What’s the right way to do what I must in order to awaken?”
There’s little doubt as to the sincerity of these questions; but the problem is this: true spirituality is not something that can be attained through “doing” whatever one imagines; there is no “right way” to follow if one wants real freedom. It’s important you see these truths for yourself. If it is authentic newness of heart that one longs for — an uncorrupted, uncompromised mind that responds effortlessly to the demands of the moment — then all images of such a life must be thrown away, died to, as clearly they belong to “what was.” To model oneself after anything, or anyone, is to imitate; but if nothing else is clear, this should be:
The Divine Life — as it expresses itself in the presence moment — is inimitable. Which means we are either present to that Life — being moment-to-moment what we are given to be (and see about life) through that Light — or…we have the all-too familiar alternative: the endless questions about “What one must do in order to be (free)?”Asking ourselves “What must we do in order to be?”… is not unlike the eye asking what must it do to be able to see! And though somewhat unavoidable for many years along the path, such questions must eventually be outgrown. This gradual spiritual maturity is something that happens quite naturally as we awaken to see (in the present moment) that all of these pressing questions of ours (about what is the right thing to do or be) are secretly double-edged swords: one side is the endless hope of becoming someone special through the pursuit of an imagined ideal; the other side is the growing realization that comparing ourselves to any spiritual ideal doesn’t liberate us; rather it imprisons us in the painful illusion that a comparative mind can transcend its own captivity.
Again, the true spiritual life is incomparable; nothing comes before now, nothing follows it.
Dare to be and see just what you are; give yourself to that task wholeheartedly… and for your willing entrance into the whole estate of yourself, you will realize the unattainable life you seek.