Got a great question on the back of a recent email - The email was all about the importance of being fluid, of finding out what works for you - of not shying away from hard work, but avoiding harshness and rigidity like the plague. In other words, making sure you do what you do because the bottom line is more and more joy. ________
"A follow up question. Is there scope for rigour in our practice? I don't mean strictness or punishment. I'm just thinking about disciplines which do require followers to push themselves in order to achieve enlightenment." ________
This is such a great question. Here’s what I said:
Absolutely, there is space for zeal and commitment and integrity ... but it needs to be in the most useful direction. So often zeal is misdirected into activities that have no use in helping you become filled with presence, dissolving into that lovely state of clarity, stillness and peace.
AND ... quite often zeal and commitment becomes forcefulness and self-violence. It can be easy for many people to fall into suppression and rigidity and harshness and even out and out brutality. The fact is ANY SORT of controlling, trying, straining just slows your growth down.
Read that last line again ^^^
This path we’re talking about - one to greater and greater calm, contentment, fulfillment, joy, freedom … it requires no harshness or self-violence or even seriousness of any sort. You cannot have a more heavenly life travelling via hell.
Stubbornness? Yup - A very useful trait - but it needs balancing with patience and gentleness and fluidity.
So take a load off. You keep stepping in the direction you want to go, keep practicing those right things, and you will master your mind, and enjoy all the benefits there of. With a bigger and bigger smile on your face.
Go well! Arjuna
PS. You will find your point of balance with all of this. Tune in, get present, and see what the best course of action for YOU is. You’ll have to give up the shoulds, and what everyone else is doing - but no one really wants them anyway, AND you shall find what works for you.
PPS. Tuning in, getting present, seeing what works for you? Head this way to get good at that: