Are you a dog being wagged by its tail? Most are.
The pursuit of a spiritual life, contrary to popular portrayal and belief, is not marked by devil-may-care, experimental, or self-indulgent practices. To be sure, there are many counterfeit brands of spirituality that claim to change lives and heighten spiritual awareness, but these programs are more akin to (and sometimes are) drug usage than they are to real spiritual evolution.
The definitive component of any spiritual process is work. Hardship, struggle, and strife are almost synonymous with real spirituality, because real spiritual growth is not easy, and for the most part is not pleasurable.
Consider Buddhism, for example. Many people have the misconception that Buddhists are lazy free-spirits who are too mellow (or too New Age) to believe in a Christian kind of God. Buddhists, however, are actually highly principled, and are constantly seeking Enlightenment by shedding their earthly beings of Desire. They live in isolation, poverty, and spend hours meditating on the removal of desire from their lives.
Does this mean that pleasure should have no part in a spiritual pursuit? Not by any means. But a true search for spiritual evolution requires adherence to principles, and often the sacrifice of other more worldly things.
To understand the nature of your spirituality, your soul, and a Higher Power, you have to set out to understand the ethical, moral, and spiritual codes that go along with it — and more importantly you have to follow those codes faithfully.
Spirituality is such a difficult thing for many people because self-deception is so powerful. People want to commit to a spiritual practice, and then convince themselves that they are giving everything that they have to that practice, when in reality they are not focusing their energies enough to make real progress.
When you pursue the divine, you have to do so with your whole heart set on it, otherwise you cannot fully absorb the knowledge you seek. Examine your spiritual practices and try to identify where you could be devoting more of yourself. In this way, you will be true to your soul, and will come closer to understanding and living in the divine.
This is a guest post by Kimberly Wilson. Kimberly is from accredited online colleges, she writes on topics including career, education, student life, college life, home improvement, time management etc.(Bold, italicized text is input from One World class participants. Thank you!)