Work, Struggle, and CommitmentSep 30, 2016
When you think about those three words, what feelings or associations come to you? I imagine not the most pleasant things. For you workaholics, it may sound like heaven.
In a world where everyone is overworked, stressed, and experiencing time poverty, imagine trying to conduct and promote courses and meditation retreats based on The Fourth Way that involve practical effort and physical work, Sacred Dances that create struggle in oneself, and commitment on all levels as part of the program.
How distinctly unorthodox in this day and age!
Most of the retreats and courses I know of offer a buffet of practices or classes, relaxation techniques and many chances to slither out from under your Ego. That Ego does not want to be discovered for what it is. It will have you convinced that going the extra mile or getting up early or getting out of your comfort zone is just not on your required agenda.
It will convince you that you can start tomorrow.
It will justify wriggling out of commitments when something more shiny, easy, or sexy tempts you.
It will tell you to get up and give up just when the alchemical shift is about to happen.
Complacency, apathy, avoidance behavior and self-indulgence are prevalent everywhere you look. Many times, it is shrouded in the term desire.
A course that can create conditions for you to experience what it feels like to struggle through those tendencies will deliver results. From struggle, a more refined energy comes into play. You can learn to draw from a strength that was previously unavailable and discover a power that will grow from this conscious labor. You become more equipped to vanquish the foe.
That foe will go to great lengths to hide from you.
That foe creates negative emotion, anxiety, paranoia, worry and distress among a plethora of other states you experience. To struggle against your normal tendency, your conditioned pattern, your preferences, and your comfort zone will provide the food necessary for your own transformation.
Countless examples abound:
What about holding an asana to the point that you surrender to it; where effort becomes non-effort; where your Ego lets go of achieving.
Remember learning to first sit in meditation and the absolute agony you felt, the pain in your legs, the desire to move, the rampant racing of your thoughts, the feeling that this will make me crazy if I continue another minute, the desire to run far, far away?
How about reaching new strides in exercise where you dread the upcoming hill on your bike because your quads ache but something in you continues ahead.
- the push just before the breakthrough on a run.
- falling off the horse and getting back in the saddle
- redoing an experiment again and again knowing intuitively that your hypothesis holds water
- the impetus that pushes you to jump off the high dive, cross the suspension bridge or round the bend on a very precipitous cliff when you are afraid of heights.
- having faith that you can love again…or even at all.
If you don’t struggle with your full effort, an effort that pushes against your comfort zone, your conditioned beliefs, your identification with who you think you are, you will not know the freedom beyond it. This means pushing against your story of being a failure, of not being good enough, of being the best, of being successful and all the rest.
If you cannot commit to your word or be trustworthy and honest with others, what makes you think you are going to do it for yourself?
Integrity is created from this kind of struggle and sacrifice. Commitment means following through no matter what comes up. It requires the sacrifice of instant gratification.
Ultimately, our courses and retreats can offer you the chance to commence from an active “do” (as in do re mi). This is the beginning of an affirming octave in which you initiate the struggle from your own conscience; from a place hopefully outside of the Ego realm. What is thus developed creates freedom from a tyranny that plagues your every decision.
There are two kinds of effort. Struggle derived from the ego simply fulfills your desire to be better than, do well, achieve, win and always always compares its results to others.
Struggle from the right place can change everything.
The dates for our next retreat is January 13-15, 2017, location TBD.
Feel free to contact me with questions.
If you missed getting in the course that started October 1st, you can jump in today or wait until the Spring.
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