Perils of the Spiritual Path

by Sumaya O'Grady on January 24, 2017

road thru brick_sYes, there are perils, and it’s a load of freaking work.

The spiritual path is not for sissies. It will totally kick your butt. It will kick your yes buts too. You might say, what kind of spiritual teacher speaks like this? Well, I’m a truth teller. Truth is not always polite. It’s not always nice. Better to pull the band-aid off all at once, not hair by excrutiating hair, right?

My Tibeten Buddhist teacher said don’t even start!

Then he said, but if you do, know that you can’t stop. He used the analogy of a snake crawling into a bamboo tube. Imagine the snake backing up????? Pretty hilarious thought, but really, this is what it’s like. Once you get bit by the spiritual  bug, you can try to quit, but it will always call you back. Something inside you wants more, even though it might be like going through a meatgrinder to get to it.

So giving up the thought of quitting, now what?

Dig in. Dive in, whole hog. How long will you be in this body? An hour, a year, who knows? Time’s a’wasting.  Now we live in seriously troubled times, and level-headedness, wisdom and compassion are sorely needed. One of the best ways to grow spiritually is through meditation. This is probably NOT what you wanted to hear right?

Doing a daily meditation practice is definitely a butt kicker.

I know this from decades of struggling with trying do daily meditation. Then, I finally found a practice that galvanized me. I could see results quickly. I was changing. Everyone noticed. That was a game changer.  Now, I rarely ever miss my daily meditation. What’s more, some days, I get  into the zone and go for a couple of hours. But it wasn’t always this way. . .

My first try was with Zen meditation in the 70s

A well-known Zen Master told me that meditation is like rubbing silk on stone. : ( The stone is your mind!)  She said it took many lifetimes to have an impact. What a bummer AND, not very motivational. I actually liked the practice but found I couldn’t stick to it. I wanted results. I wanted to see that something in me was changing now! I had an 8-track mind and needed serious help. (Some of you are saying right now, “Eight track?” Just Google it 🙂   I loved Zen and it started my entrance to the bamboo tube. Out of all the myriad choices, pick a practice that calls to you so strongly, you can’t resist, and start building your meditation muscles.

So, if meditation is so damned hard, why even do it?

The huge list of benefits will take up another whole post so stay tuned. Here’s a clue: The most empowering and the scariest benefit is that in meditation, you end up facing yourself. You unplug from your devices, and look within. If your mind is a scary neighborhood, this will take some grit. For inspiration, think of Indiana Jones. He faced a lot of danger and challenges to get the prize. Well, guess what? The prize is YOU.


Lessons from Failure and JK Rowling

by Sumaya O'Grady on July 21, 2016

I recently watched a great of video of JK Rowling . She spoke about the benefits of failure. Because she’s the only author in the world to ever become a billionaire from writing, I listened to what she had to say. I resonated with her message. It made me stop and think.

Blue heart aquatic_smA few years ago I had a major failure in my life and hit rock bottom on every level. It totally sucked, AND I survived. I know now that I can survive the worst and still be intact.

My recovery did not happen overnight.

I wallowed in misery for a while, and then finally started practicing the spiritual principles I know. I healed, and I rose again, stronger. Along the way, I had some amazing friends who stood by me, and kept reflecting back to me the deeper knowing of who I really am. That was a saving grace.

We are ALWAYS far more than our failure.

THAT knowledge is what you discover through failure, and move forward with. That knowlege is worth more than gold. After every unecessary thing falls away, there is only you, your core. My rock bottom experience stripped me down to my divine essence.

In the midst of the big mess, I began to know I was a divine being.

I learned that in the middle of any failure or big mess, there is a powerful choice. Wallow in self-pity , or go deeper and find out what’s really there. I did both. I’ll bet you can guess which option was more worthwhile.

I’d love to hear from you about your lessons from failure, and what has helped you.