Signs of Progress

Spirituality, yoga, self-realisation, and all the other ways we describe walking "The Path," has one, overarching and specific goal.

To heal division. That is, to move you from duality to oneness. From seeing the world in relative opposites, to seeing the world (and being) one, undivided whole.

Being so, one of the biggest items on the agenda is the work of shedding your dependencies and attachments. To people, to things, to books, places, teachers, self-concepts, stories, etc. You cannot be whole as long as you believe there is something else with something you do not, yourself possess.

It is natural and necessary to have these dependencies and attachments — as you would not fault a baby for needing its mother — so they are shed slowly, one by one, as night turns to day.

You find, after awhile, The Path turns isolating and lonely. You must learn to rely on yourself and your own instincts, and you might wonder from time-to-time if you are alright, or if you are moving in the right direction.

An athlete has an external coach he can physically observe, who gives constant guidance, support, and can easily inform the athlete how he is progressing by certain measurable indicators. What a gift!

The dhak or bodhisattva or spiritual aspirant, if she is lucky, might have such an external source of support but, as she will come to see, a teacher becomes a hindrance to progress and the two will inevitably part ways at the right time. In the majority of cases, no such coach is there to guide the way for the simple reason of not creating attachment and dependency to an external, temporary source.

You are left to rely on your own intuition, practice, and intense amounts of trial and error to figure things out. The result? You become OK as you are.

Though nobody can tell you how you are fairing and how you are progressing on The Path, there are a few telltale signs.

Brighter, clearer eyes. Wisdom and spiritual attainment shines most notably through the eyes. The eyes become like gemstones.

Loving indifference. You start seeing all as the same and so preferences and neediness diminishes.

High morality. You start observing Nature's laws, which you find impossible to break. You will rescue even a drowning ant from a toilet bowel.

Stillness. Movement becomes slower and much more deliberate.

Understanding of necessity. You can only act according to inner sanction, which will entail the removal of doing anything not in agreement with it.

Transcending story. It becomes harder to categorise and identify yourself. If I am a this, then I am a not that. This understanding is counter to oneness.

Effortlessness. As trying to diminishes, effortlessness increases, which is one of the clearest signs of oneness there is.

Your Problems

Anxiety, depression, relationship, money, self-esteem, body. Most of your problems are going to fit into one or more of these categories.

One strategy is to work on the problem itself. If you are anxious, you can focus on ways to feel at ease. If you lack confidence, you can work on building it. If you are out of shape, you can get fit.

The only problem with this is that our problems are like weeds in a garden. Failing to remove the roots, ensures the weed grows back.

It is good and natural to problem solve. Up to a certain point.

After awhile, you will understand that you need to go to a deeper level to be free of your struggle and suffering once and for all. Isn't that what you want?

Why we like to busy ourselves with problem solving is just that—it keeps us busy and gives a certain sense of accomplishment.

That deeper work — removing the roots — is hard and terrifying, which is another reason we prefer to stay at the surface.

What is that deeper work you might wonder? It is the destruction of the "you" you think is you. It is the total and complete undoing of your conditioned self (the one that has opinions, preferences, and stories about the world), which will entail an energetic death.

We don't know what's on the other side. But something compels us to find out.

Heal Thyself

Unfortunately and fortunately you possess the keys to unlock every lock you are facing and will ever face on your life's journey.

It's unfortunate because our younger part is used to having problems solved for us. We cry. Mom comes. Problem solved. We're resistant to taking care of it on our own.

It's fortunate because that style of problem solving is inherently unsustainable and only is appropriate up to a certain age (though the pattern, if left unchecked, can follow even to later stages of life). So it comes as good news we can rely on ourselves.

Your intuition will always guide the way forward. Your intuition is the master key to each and every lock. Nobody can advise you better than your own internal guidance system. The best anybody can do for you is help remind you of what you already know but maybe don't fully trust yet.

At a certain point, you have to rely fully on your own faculties and your own ability to navigate even the most complicated challenges from every domain, including matters of enlightenment and self-realization.

A master of any discipline earns the title because he or she is not dependent on anybody else for answers. They know.

They know because they had the courage and tolerance to learn from themselves, which often means making plenty of painful mistakes through trial and error.

Error is not error when you are following the counsel of your heart. It is correction and realignment. What feels like error is more like a refinement. You are refining your understanding as the drill drills a diamond.

Your understanding becomes so refined that there is nothing left to understand. You can relax. Practice is over, only peace remains and a profound ability to effortlessly serve others.

Whatever it is you are facing, it is quite likely you already know what to do or have more than a hunch. There could be uncertainty and confusion but instead of trying to solve it, why not let it be there as you continue to live each day to the best of your ability?