There is a common mis-perception that “living spiritually" entitles us to coast in all other areas of our life. We have assigned a special value to spiritual practices and live as though they had the power to deliver us from our human existence. The more we meditate, astral travel, eat vegetarian food, and remain celibate, the more we feel we are entitled to a privileged life. It is always a shock when we realize that there is no shortcut to a life that works.
After having spent ten years with my guru, I returned to the United States from India. I was now ready for life in the world. My spiritual life was full-my mind was steady, my meditation experiences plentiful, and my understandings solid. It never occurred to me that this richness of experience was just that and not a panacea for my entire life.
It was quite an eye-opener to discover that, psychologically, I was at exactly the same place I had been ten years earlier. It was as though I had been in a time warp. My issues with my father remained, and I had never mourned the death of my mother. Ten years later with all the accoutrements of a seemingly successful spiritual life, I still had not resolved many debilitating childhood problems.
And what exactly was I going to do with my life? The want ads weren't looking for “spiritual sophisticates. " I had gone to India in 1970 heeding the call for an inner life, never thinking an outer life would be necessary for a feeling of wholeness. Starting where I had left off, I began discovering what I liked to do and embraced areas of my life that I had previously neglected. Only by intuitively understanding the enormity of this undertaking was I able to willingly embrace difficult areas of my life.
When we can grasp that all aspects of life have equal value, we are suddenly free from manipulative thinking and deal making with the universe. We don't expect credit in the spiritual realm because we are good parents and providers, and we don't look for points in our emotional life because we meditate. We stop wasting time trying to trade good deeds for unresolved ones. We are able to look at our lives with a critical yet gentle eye. Either we have successfully navigated essential junctures or we have not. And if work needs to be done, we do it.
Chapter 30 from Reality Works Copyright © 2002 Chandra Alexander
Chandra Alexander, MSW, has been living and teaching authenticity for the last thirty years. Selected by The Oprah Magazine as the Life Coach to deliver twelve coaching sessions to the grand prize winner of their Toyota Moving Forward contest, she also spent five years on NBC/TV/Daytime giving a weekly “Reality Check. " Her blog, http://ChandraUnplugged.com is a real find for any true seeker on the path to authenticity. Along with a private practice in Tampa, FL, she coaches clients all over the world in the areas of relationships, work and consciousness. To learn more about her books and CDs, visit her website at http://Coachgirl.com