For the dedicated truth-seeker on the spiritual path, the journey will always demand commitment, determination, courage, confront and adaptability.
And yes, like everything in life, a positive attitude and approach IS important.
And this is actually a very empowering understanding, because your perspective and your attitude is up to YOU. You are the one who can, at any moment, choose to change your view and your attitude towards life.
Now, let me make this clear: I am not speaking about putting on your rose-coloured glasses and pretending that everything is just wonderful when it simply is not. Adopting a positive, constructive and self-empowering attitude needs to be grounded in a healthy desire and commitment to perceive and know the truth.
If your ‘positive attitude’ is based in deluding yourself, avoiding and denying the difficult areas that need confronting and working on, living a lovely illusion where nothing is ever short of ‘wonderful’, or where the issues are always someone else’s….then you are not in touch with reality. All your are doing is lying to yourself, and THAT is disempowering, not empowering.
The first step to empower yourself is to commit to loving the truth above all the comfortable illusions and glamours, all the lies that you may –consciously or unconsciously – have told yourself.
This process of embracing the Truth is a progressive unfolding. It is extremely unlikely that one day you decide to perceive all the Truth as it really is, and ‘BAM’ you have it! To be honest, all of us, no matter how far we have come on the spiritual path, still perceive such a small portion of the ultimate Truth of All. To open up to all of it at once would overwhelm all our faculties and coping mechanisms, and probably kill us. We simply could not face process it so fast.
The process of building illusions, avoiding and denying feelings or issues, is a coping mechanism. When we are either not ready or not willing to face the truth of a situation, we often limit our perception of what is happening in order to take only that which we feel we can safely cope with. This happens physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. A very simply example of this is how people can pass out, ‘check out’ physically, when undergoing too much physical shock or pain. It’s very common. When things get too much, the person ‘switches off’. When it gets too much for us, we put up a sort of wall to stop us experiencing the reality of what is really going on, be it within us or around us. We avoid and deny the truth. Unfortunately, for almost everyone, once these walls are up, they stay up.
For example, if something emotionally challenged you when you were 5 years old, you put up a wall of denial around this particular issue or feeling. Then, for the rest of your life you keep shutting out this issue or any of these types of feelings. One problem with that is that what you could not cope with at 5-years old, you could probably cope with now. So you are needlessly shutting this part of your experience out.
Another problem with this process of avoidance and denial is that it becomes a bit like a funnel: The more we resort to pushing away painful or challening experiences – the more denial and avoidance areas we carry – the more limited our perceptions become. The more we deny our experience , the less we are in touch with who we are, what we feel. We end up almost blindfolded, with a very limited ability to perceive the truth about us or the life that surrounds us.
This is how we end up as an adult, having a sense of self which is actually such a small part of all that we are! We become like icebergs: who we are conscious of being, our conscious sense of ‘self’, is like the tip of the iceberg… A much bigger chunk of us has become subconscious, hidden under a reflective surface of denial. Most of us are not even aware it is there!
Another consequence of this avoiding and denying in order to cope is that the more you do it, the more you get consumed with trying to ‘cope’ and protect yourself from anything that threatens the safety of your comfort zone. The more you do this, the more you get caught up in fear and maintaining your avoidance in denial in order to ‘survive’, physically, emotionally or mentally. You become more and more invested in maintaining the lie and begin to defend your illusions and denial with the ferocity of a cornered animal. We become defensive, aggressive (including passive aggressive), aloof, manipulative or scared. We run away, point the finger… we get caught up in the fight of flight instinct of the animal self.
It is not a pretty picture, yet it is all too familiar. I am sure you have seen it, or felt it, before too.
So, one of the first steps in adopting an attitude for success on the spiritual path is to accept that you carry a whole lot of hidden ‘iceberg’ under the surface of your avoidance and denial, and to try and NOT be defensive around it. If you love the Truth more than you love your comfortable lies and illusions, then you will be willing to acknowledge the denial where it is, instead of attack those who point it out.
Of course, you need to be in discernment. Don’t just take anyone’s opinion at face value. Usually, a sign that you have an issues is if you have any charge around it. If you get triggered, however mildly, into judging, attacking, defending, justifying, being self-righteous, wanting to prove the other person wrong, rebelling, pushing away, shutting down, manipulating, overthinking to override feeling… and so on, then you most surely have some denied or avoided issue there that you need to look at.
Now, the other side of the coin here regarding this understanding is to see that the only way to return to a state of Grace and reclaim the truth of who you truly are is a lot more about unravelling than about piling on more things. It is a process of undoing, not ‘doing’. It is about melting the layers of false identity and illusion, not building on more layers on top of our personal iceberg.
And while we learn techniques, wisdom and develop certain skills and abilities on the way, you will never get anywhere by trying to pile new integrations on top of all your dysfunction and denial. In order to learn and grow on the path, you need to make room for the new knowing. Only by emptying some untruth in yourself, facing them and letting them go, can you make room for the truth to rush in.
Nature hates a void, so if you make room and stay aligned, attuned and connected to the highest Truth and love possible, the Universe will just fill the space with wondrous new knowing.