When the going gets tough, the seeker goes inward. The answers lie within.
For many of us, this hasn’t been an easy month. I’ve been hearing about inner chaos from a lot of people and have been experiencing it myself. It’s been a powerful call to return wholeheartedly to the strongest, most trusted heart of my practice – a return to Wu Wei…to peeling back the layers of my ego so that I can just go with the flow.
Sounds so easy, doesn’t it? If only that were so. Intense, difficult and humbling are better descriptors of the process. It has been anything but easy. Having returned to the path of conscious growth, I realize how far away from it I allowed myself to veer. Looking externally for joy. Giving my heart away too freely to others. Not taking the time to listen to my inner voice. As someone that has dedicated my life to spiritual evolution it’s not easy to admit.
But here’s the thing. I now see that returning to my practice is actually my only rational way forward. My trusted guides – Taoism, I-Ching, meditation and yoga – take me back to the insight and clarity I need to see, face and overcome my demons; those inner voices of the ego that keep me in fear and distract me from my truest, powerful essence and wisdom.
With the help of my guides, I’ve gradually clawed my way back to hope. I’ve discovered dysfunctional patterns of thinking and defending myself, and how these have affected relationships, past and present. I am on the often tedious, frustrating path of recognizing when the ego’s fears, desires, worries and vanities so insidiously start to speak, and exercising the inner discipline required to keep them at bay.
It’s been anything but easy, and I am very much still in it. The story of my ego and its defenses is unfolding. I’m learning. I’m changing. If I do it right, if I keep to the path, I won’t need to learn these painful lessons again. I’ll stick to my practice and attuned to my inner voice. I won’t be at the mercy of my emotions and my fears.
And truly, that’s the payoff. That’s why I go through the muck of inner work instead of distracting myself endlessly with outside life. Because happiness – true happiness – arises from within. The answers lie within. Sometimes it just takes a boatload of challenge, determination and perseverance to get there.