What Way Will You Chose?
When I was growing up, I was told that there are only two ways of doing something – 'the right way' and 'the wrong way'. I once told my boss in an argument about something I had done that there was a third way – his way. From what I know now the latter way is really the only way we can to anything, because there is no absolute 'right' and 'wrong' way of doing something; it is a matter of one's perspective.
In the 'land' of spiritual growth, this is particularly true. However, from my perspective there are, in fact, two ways of approaching this practice – the 'easy' way, and the 'hard' way. First, I would proclaim that there is no easy way to spiritual growth that gets results we want, at least not from the typical Western society's viewpoint. So then, that leaves us only one way?
Well, yes and no. It has been my experience over the past twenty years that the 'hard' way is the only way that ultimately works. You cannot undo 10, 20, 30, 40 years, or more of programming in a few months; it takes time. But you can choose what may, for some be easier. So I present here two methods of moving from chaos into peace.
First, let me convey what led me to this article. I read the Sunday comics in our local paper, and was drawn to one in particular. The character stood before two doors of "real life choices". One read "the sure way", and the other read "the fast way". The first, opened to a lengthy upward stairway, while the second opened to a 'chasm'. She asked her father if there was an "in between". His answer was "treading water". Most people are doing the latter – treading water.
Method one – undo the programming that keeps you locked into a way of life that does not work, and keeps you in a state of stress. By 'programming', I mean how our subconscious minds, neural pathways of our brain, are programmed over time by our beliefs. Many of those beliefs turn into habits and a 'way of life' for us. Other beliefs create great challenges in almost every moment of our lives in various ways.
Undoing the beliefs that sabotage our lives takes time and effort; the 'harder' way. While there are many systems you can do to accomplish the above, you will have to commit to a sometimes, tedious daily practice. You can expect this elimination of programmed beliefs to take years to accomplish. But during the clearing out of these beliefs, you will feel a freedom unlike you have ever known; this makes the work so worthwhile.
Method two – reprogram your mind. How is this different? After all, when you remove the unwanted beliefs, don't you, in effect, reprogram the neural pathways of your brain? Yes, but not consciously, nor as effectively as reprogramming your mind as a practice. How does this differ from the above? When we reprogram a computer, unless you are a computer programmer and want to change things, we install a new program. When the new program is installed, it effectively overwrites the old program. This is the gist of 'method two'.
Our daily practice is not so much removing the old beliefs, but installing new ones, which, over time, overwrites the old ones. It could start as simply as reciting and writing down affirmations of how you want your life to be. Habits are formed by doing the same thing continuously over time. Doing the above will therefore change, overwrite, the old stuff.
You might add meditation, contemplation, journaling, and other processes that will dig deep into your psyche. I don't suggest that this method will work faster than the first, but to me, it is easier. What you are doing here is not just eliminating the old aspects that do not work, but evolving to something beyond those aspects.
While the first method given above might be considered the 'old' way of moving from a stressful life to a peaceful one, I usually recommend a combination of the two when giving a class on inner peace. Often, they can work together easier than each one alone. You might work on a particular belief to offset 'taking things personally' for example, while also practicing the principle that you are creating your life in every moment, and are responsible for it.
The above is just a snapshot of what spiritual practice is all about. There are hundreds, and more, books written on ways to proceed to get to peace. I have one as an eBook, and another coming later. But the point of this article is to have you step back and look at your life right now. Where are you? Where are you going? What do you expect out of life?
Questions like the above may unlock answers you had never considered. Why ask such questions? Because not to answer them is to continue to live a life of 'spiritual' mediocrity. Dozens of philosophers and spiritually adept writers for eons have asked those kinds of questions. "Know thy self" is what Socrates taught, and that practice has been used and amplified before, and since then.
You cannot ignore your inner calling forever. It has always been there and always will. At some point you will awaken to why you are here; maybe after asking question like the above. Are you ready to do that now? If not, when? Or will you 'tread water' until it is time for you to lay your life down in this world?
What will you choose? Your future
stands before you like a traveler ready to begin a
journey with the first step. Take a step towards peace.
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