Once there was a well known philosopher and scholar who devoted himself to the study of Zen for many years. On the day that he finally attained enlightenment, he took all of his books out into the yard and burned them all. ~Zen parable
A lot of people approach spirituality from a head space. They read a book, or maybe lots of books, and then adopt the ideas as their own philosophy. The problem with that is that you can’t think your way to spirituality. It is something that comes from the heart, the gut. It is something that you feel. When it is present, you have a sense of knowing about it. When you approach it from a head space, it’s just intellectual stuff that doesn’t penetrate your bones. It’s got to be in your bones (or embodied) in order to be of any use to you.
There is nothing wrong with books. I am a bibliophile of the highest order. I read incessantly. But when your life is lived through your head, you aren’t really living. The purpose of a human incarnation is to be physical – in the body. The body records everything. It reflects everything. It is the truth teller.
The mind lies. It is a reflection of programming. Programming can be faulty. All our invalidating beliefs are a result of programming. The mind is also a great way to escape your physical reality. Worry and anxiety are means of distracting us from our physical reality. When you think your way to spirituality, you’re actually avoiding living it. You appear to be plugged in when you haven’t left your head.
So, what do you do? When you come across a new idea, or even an old one, that you believe enhances your life, embrace it. Live it. Don’t just give lip service to it. Don’t say, “I believe the Universe wants me to be happy.” Live that. Show through your actions and deeds that this is your truth. Let your heart feel it. Check with your body to see if it actually is your truth.
If you are a spiritual seeker or self-improvement junkie, stop going to workshops for a while and let whatever you have learned sink in. If you have work to do, do it. You can’t get a new idea in unless you make space for it. You do that by letting the stuff that is no longer useful out. Stop thinking. Stop doing and be. If it’s painful, be with that. Nothing lasts forever. This won’t either if you just let it be. No resisting. No justifying. Just be.
Chasing knowledge isn’t a way to enlightenment. Acquiring and implementing wisdom is. To do that you have to slow down and be.
Accepting an idea because it sounds like a good idea isn’t the same thing as living in your truth. The self becomes unbalanced and diseased when it’s not in truth. If you are always embodied, you will always know the truth. Your body will tell you. You won’t need a book, a guru, a therapist or a chaplain to confirm it. You will just know.
Getting in touch with your spirituality is a great healing tool. Heck, it’s a great life enhancer. If you want to access it, you need to get out of your head. If you want to live it, let it flow from the mind, body, and heart.