Spiritual isn’t easy. And isn’t “free” either.
I was talking with a new coaching client. He had been working with a different coach in the past. A “spiritual abundance” coach. At the time the coach was working with him for free.
Sounds like a lovely thing to do, right?
It’s totally not, but we’ll come back to that in a minute.
Spiritual isn’t easy. For many, it’s really tough.
Because we’ve been sold the idea that “spiritual” means free from the boundaries of our own humanity.
We don’t need money. We’re “spiritual.”
We don’t need shoes for our kids, or medical insurance. Or disposable income to take our kids to a ballgame..or Seaworld.
That’s because we’re “spiritual.”
We can live off the earth. We can recognize the beauty in each moment. In the leaves on any old tree. In the sky, or a really cute kitten.
I agree with that part.
But because our “spirit” decided to show up in suits made out of skin and bone, it comes with a certain price.
And by the way…look around. The best of our natural world…Yellowstone National Park, the Everglades, Acadia in Maine…they all have entry fees.
Our backyard here in Connecticut is gorgeous. The property is bordered by woods farther than the eye can see. You can go up to the “No Trespassing” sign put up by the Water Department. But really, you can take a stroll in the woods, even past that point.
You might encounter the bear that lives back there. You’ll definitely meet the mosquitoes and unstable, muddy ground.
But hey…it’s spiritual! 😉
For real…the human spirit is one of achievement.
Of building. Of having a dynamic interaction with the natural world. One of my most spiritual places to be is Red Rock Canyon in Nevada. Two others are the Brooklyn Bridge and pretty much any part of the New York City subway system.
Spiritual means finding peace and harmony with your surroundings, independent of the needs of your body.
No worries about hunger, or pain or cold, or money. You can transcend them.
But it really helps to be in a position of strength to do that. Otherwise it’s just learning to ignore pain. It’s still there…you just put your focus on something else.
That’s not spiritual. That’s make-believe.
Real spirituality, as I understand it (and what the true masters have shown me) is maximizing your human experience and transcending the need for ego-based gratification. It takes commitment, focus and discipline. You need to walk a defined path. There are plenty of good ones. But you gotta pick one, and stay on it.
To become “spiritual” you’ve gotta have some skills in working with the day to day aspects of your life.
You gotta know how to keep your financial head above water. You have to know how to care for your body, at least reasonably well.
You have to know how to interact with those around you. Not perfectly. Just enough to play nice with the other kids and not piss off everyone you meet.
And that’s what got me scratching my head about the “spiritual coach” who was working with someone for free.
It doesn’t work. It never works.
Because someone’s definition of spirituality as “free” is a denial of the very thing that makes us human. Nothing is free. Everything is a beautiful, balanced interaction.
When you do something for “free,” resentment immediately kicks in. Or the ego’s need for reciprocity.
When I do free stuff (such as writing this blog), it’s for me. I love it. And it’s to inspire others to live better and fuller lives.
And some of them will want to buy my stuff. Or work with me.
There’s a balance.
And every once in a great while, I will work with someone in trade. Coaching or consulting in exchange for a product or service. But not charity. It has to be a win-win.
My new client went on to tell me his previous coach decided to turn the “free” off when he found out the client might have access to a lot of money, but it wasn’t a sure thing. In fact, the money would have to be acquired through some very questionable circumstances.
That’s about 100 different kinds of unspiritual.
There’s a whole world of spirit we can access. Our own breathing. Our own rhythm. The touch of a lover, or a child, or a parent. The smile of a stranger. The kindness of helping someone in need.
But even these come with a price. You have to have the self-worth to appreciate them.
And that, my friend is the delicious, delightful disciplined determination of spiritual.
HOW TO BE SPIRITUAL
I don’t know everything about spirituality. I know how to put myself in a state of feeling in flow and harmony with the world – and the stuff – I’ve been given.
Here are three steps to being spiritual…
1. Stop Thinking, Start Allowing. Thinking is good. It’s what humans do. Too much of it is no good. So is using it as a stall tactic when it’s time to act.
2. Learn To Disengage. There are plenty of good disciplines to shut off the stream of consciousness that clouds our minds and emotions. Meditation works. So does prayer. My two personal faves are juggling and T’ai Chi. Get a good discipline and follow it.
3. Follow Spirituality Where It Leads. Real spirituality will being serenity. And that serenity will always be an invitation to improve something in your life. A bad habit. Or a troubled relationship. Or move out of your comfort zone. To achieve that dynamic balance, you have to follow it. Otherwise it crosses over from spirituality to self-delusion. That just sucks.
So yeah, spirituality ain’t easy…or free.
But man oh man…is it worth it!
Have you had a genuine experience with spirituality that has given you peace and prosperity? Have you had a few false starts?
Comment below and share. We’re waiting to hear from you!