Spirituality fun? Think again! Spirituality as a hard road

Two of my spiritual friends commented recently that there is a general misconception that spirituality is fun. I’ve previously posted that spirituality CAN be fun. I stand by that, but they have a point.

Spiritual transformation is, on the whole, neither easy nor fun. As one friend said (I’m keeping her anonymous for obvious reasons):

If I’d known what I was getting myself into, I would never have gotten on the spiritual path. Growing overly sensitive, ‘dark night of the soul’ (and that’s more than a week of feeling down)…

One of her symptoms I know only too well: needing a day to recover after a simple lunch, for instance. She had found a way to get over that. At one time, she said, she woke up at 5 in the morning, each night. Feeling awake and vibrant. She’d go back to bed, fall asleep and wake up again at a decent hour. It annoyed the heck out of her: so she looked it up online and found a list of Ascension Symptoms. I’m linking to that list (only one of several to be found online) not because I agree with the list, but because it has (implicitly) several very good points:

  1. Spiritual growth can bring out all kinds of karmic stuff. (theosophical insight in my words)
  2. Spiritual growth will make your more sensitive, which can mean developing allergies, becoming intolerant of circumstances you were previously used to and more.
  3. Spiritual growth is not a linear upward path that will bring you guaranteed bliss and fulfillment.

The problem with lists of symptoms is that it is so easy to use them as an excuse. You know how it works ‘I’m spiritual, so I have a right to be annoyed at people eating meat in front of me’. Or worse ‘I have ascension symptoms, so I’m better than anybody else I know’. Lovely way to bring in pride.

I once had a theosophical lady tell me (theosophists aren’t immune, just better prepared) that she’d had a very hard life, which was a sign that her karma was speeding up and she was seriously on the path. I’m glad she had found a way to stay sane through all that hardship, but having a hard life doesn’t guarantee you’re on ‘the path’. At least not in the sense she meant. Now if she’d brought up Kundalini, my response would have been different.

In theosophical circles it’s said that if you step on the path seriously, there are only 7 more lives to live. Which means that all previous karma has to be rolled into those measly seven lives. Of course making serious mistakes in this life and adding to that karma is also a possibility. Nobody ever said that stepping on the spiritual path made us immune to mistakes.

Which means that: lives of those stepping on the spiritual path are often hard. But I don’t think it works the other way around. Just  because you have a hard life, doesn’t guarantee you’re on the spiritual path. I sometimes think it’s best to just live the best way you know how, and let the path take care of itself.

5 thoughts on “Spirituality fun? Think again! Spirituality as a hard road”

  1. Hi Katinka,
    I’ve only just been able to get back to your blog, the link was broken for a week or so. Perhaps at the entry level Spirituality can be considered fun, but yes as it progresses it is far more serious. Whilst most Spiritual experiences are blissfull and bring phenomenal peace, the procces of evolution can be quite painfull, “Kundalini brings bliss to Yogi’s and bondage to Fools” (From the Hatha Yoga Pradipika), well I must be at least a bit foolish because I’ve had some of the negatives as well as the Bliss. Still, wouldn’t go back to the way I was before for anything. Kundalini forces you to address the things in your life that need to change, they are brought to the surface quickly, rather than the normal slow gradual process. The plus side however, is once you get out the other side you are trully free.
    God Bless,
    Hari Om

  2. Hi Jim,

    Yes, I really need to get myself a new host. Sorry to hear you had trouble accessing the blog (and repeatedly at that).

    I think the real question people get to face in spiritual progress is: am I strong enough to get through this, or will I drown in the stuff that I get to face? Glad to hear you are strong enough to face your current demons. I don’t think that’s true for everybody though: ‘fools’ do get stuck in their issues. Given that it sounds like you didn’t get stuck, you probably are not one of the fools in the pradipika (though only at final enlightenment can any of us really be sure).

  3. Oooh, I really like this post! Yes, spirituality is fun. And, YES, spirituality can be hard. Spiritual growth forces you to stretch yourself, to face new challenges and to go into unforeseen realms. But this is our impetus for change. Without at least a little discomfort we wouldn’t grow.

    Also, thanks for posting the ascension list. I need to be reminded that an occasional lazy day of doing absolutely nothing (#11) is OK once in a while. 🙂

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