walking the walk

Today we ask that you really live your healthy habits.

It is one thing to read a lot of self-help books and spiritual books and even blogs like this one.

It is one thing to nod and say, “Yes, that sounds very good.”

It is easy to nod at these things when you are sitting comfortably in a chair.

But when you are out in the world, do you live from this place?

When events frustrate and upset you, do you live from this place?

When you face adversity, do you live from this place?

When your family members do or say upsetting things, do you live from this place?

When someone is rude or aggressive to you, do you live from this place?

It is, as they say, one thing to talk the talk, and another to walk the walk.

This is not a judgment or criticism.  It is not an easy thing to walk the walk of living from spirit and the heart.

However, if you do not learn to walk this walk, even with faltering baby steps, you will not find lasting peace in your life.  Reading beautiful words is not enough.

Why is it so hard to live by the beautiful words?

Mostly it is because deep down you do not yet really believe them.

Many people turn to healthy and healing spiritual practices from a place of crisis and injury.  It is like someone who has chronic back problems.  Eventually the pain gets so bad that the sufferer seeks help.  At that point, the sufferer learns that the pain is brought about mostly by unhealthy habits.

Someone with chronic back pain usually has issues around posture, the way they sit, how much they sit, etc.  In order to ameliorate this pain, they must be taught a whole new way of carrying themselves and sitting, as well as therapeutic exercises.

The back pain sufferer may have great therapists.  But unless he actually does the exercises and changes his posture and habits, the pain will persist.  Such changes do not happen overnight.  They take time.  The sufferer must be patient with the process.  

It is the same with spiritual teaching.  You may have sought out spiritual teachings because you are suffering pain in life.  You may read the words of great teachers or learn directly from great teachers.  

But unless you change your spiritual posture and habits, and practice the exercises, as part of a long term process, the pain will return.

Often, when you are on the spiritual path, you get very tired of having to do all of this.  You compare yourself to your projections of “Normal People” who appear to live successful lives without all this spiritual mumbo jumbo.  It seems unfair that you can’t just be like those people.

You may say: “Yes, yes, I believe in living from the spirit and heart, but really I would like to manifest a big bag of money that will solve all my life problems.”  Or “Yes, yes, I believe in living from the spirit and heart, but really what I need is a soul mate so that I can be happy.”

And then you get frustrated, and lose your faith.

You say: “Look how spiritual I am!  Why have I not manifested a big bag of money, or a dream job, or a soul mate?”  

If you are Buddhist, you might say: “Look how much I meditate!  Why have I not yet experienced samadhi, why have I not yet had an enlightenment experience?”

When you are at this crossroads, you will see if you can really “walk the walk.”

Many people give up at this point.  “It is all worthless, it is lies, it is nonsense.  Here I am being so spiritual, and I am not getting what I want in life.  I am not even ‘enlightened’ yet.  Meanwhile, all these non-spiritual people are making bags of money and having successful careers and marrying soul mates.  What is the purpose of it all.”

Really, you know, this is a very good place to be.  If you can push through the resistance you feel at such moments, that is when things start to get really interesting.

There is nothing wrong with bags of money and dream jobs and soul mates and samadhi experiences and all these things you desire.  

However, if you do not walk the walk of truly living from the heart and spirit, the money and the job and the soul mate and even the samadhi experience will not sustain you.

It is like the difference taking a drug to mask symptoms of illness, and being cured.

Drugs mask symptoms, but the underlying condition does not go away.  Usually it gets worse.

To cure a condition, usually you must make real changes to your lifestyle and habits over a long period of time.

That is why it is so important not just to read the words, but to really live from the place of spirit and heart.  To make it a habit.  To unlearn all the unhealthy patterns, and replace them with healthy patterns.

Otherwise you will not cure the condition.  That is, even if you are happy when you are getting what you think you want, the moment you meet with adversity, you will crash into despair and hopelessness.  You will only feel good when things are “going your way.”

Curing the condition means being at peace with what is happening, whether it is “going your way” or not.

Or rather, it is perceiving that everything actually is going your way, even if appearances suggest otherwise.