So much of the spiritual conversation these days has a forced artificiality, a certain manufactured quality of peace and calm and serenity without the real thing. And while I wholeheartedly seek to increase the presence of these profound qualities in my life and my nature, I know that spiritual practice (such as meditation) doesn't automatically remove my humanity, my frailty, my juiciness about life. It doesn't limit my emotional range to only pure, positive and happy feelings.
The real journey, the real work, has its own sort of brutality to it, a kind of gut-punch honesty that keeps you from being too precious or sentimental about the sacred. There’s nothing spiritual about pretending to be something you're not, about trying too hard to be someone you're not, or manipulating or ignoring the reality of yourself, no matter what the intention.
The spiritual journey requires honesty above all else, and a willingness to acknowledge, accept and embrace every aspect of who you are, even the ones you want to change, even the ones about which you have guilt or fear or shame, even the ones you keep as your darkest secrets. Or maybe it’s especially the ones you feel bad about. If you can't face yourself, if you can’t embrace yourself, change simply isn't possible. You cannot positively impact the thing you ignore. Energetically it is simply impossible.
There's no easy way out, no shortcut around yourself, no escape from the you that you've created and cultivated over time. But the reward of facing yourself, your life, your relationships, and taking responsibility for and ownership of them, frees you to possibilities you can't even imagine until you do this work.
And once you do, you can't even imagine going back. You can't imagine accepting limitations instead of liberation, or settling for compromise instead of cultivating cooperation. Once you look in the mirror of your heart with honesty, you begin to see the beauty of yourself reflected back.