Consciousness, spirituality and awareness are important topics – and hot ones – that rightly inspire earnest attention for many of us. We all want to be the best version of ourselves that we can.
And I think the uniqueness each of us can bring to the journey of self actualization is such a rich thing to ponder on.
Whatever path you embrace – a traditional path of Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, an “alternative” path of Earth-based consciousness, a philosophical approach like Taoism or anything else – I think the trick is marrying your beliefs with your day to day existence, your relationships, your way of being in the world – and making your spiritual practice be the way you live. Which is hard.
I feel like every practice puts forward a set of ideals and ideas that we feel driven to embody. And we struggle with not being perfect or measuring up. I catch myself showering too long when I know that conserving water is a value I hold close, for instance. I get irritated with my rescue dog hound for her incessant barking when I love her and value empathy and care toward the planet and its residents over most everything else. And I don’t always choose products at the grocery store that sport the least packaging or most earth-friendly production methods/sources. Worst of all, I have a long commute to work.
Right along with that, I am not caring for myself the way that I want to and should. I don’t meditate as much as I’d like to. I don’t exercise as much as I’d like to. And like so many of us I’m critical of myself.
But I think being on a spiritual path has more to do with accepting what you find in yourself and incorporating that into the ideal you are striving toward. Noting what’s hard, allowing that to be a part of the process, and seeing that you ARE the thing you embrace, you ARE the experience of striving toward your own actualization.
Otherwise your mind would not have alighted on a resolve to walk the path you are on.
If you think you are imperfect consider: the pursuit of the ideal is the point, not the attainment of it.
And if you think you are perfect, that’s another thing altogether.
The Hindu tradition has a thing called Dharma – it means many things but in my days of studying religion I understood it as accepting and being the best you can on the path you find yourself on. Be your best you with the circumstances and work you find yourself in.
It’s a little like being Charlie Brown. Of all the Charlie Browns, your the Charlie Browniest.