One-Size-Fits-None, and The Peppermint Trolley Company
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to most human affairs. We are socialized to strive for convenience in all aspects of life, but this moves us to create hierarchies that lead to separateness and suffering. Often we trade quality for quantity, effectiveness for efficiency, justice for rule of law, and so on. It's said in some yogic scriptures that the enemies of contentment, joy, and wisdom are lust, anger, and greed. When we read those words, a spark of puritanical fire might cause us to shudder with the echoes of inquisitions. The spirit of the texts are not a zealous righteousness of political performance, rather they are reminders that a life ruled by the whims and fancies of desires lacks steady ground upon which to build relationships, communities, or the framework for a world saturated in love and freedom.
Simply put, there are no shortcuts in spiritual practice.
Attempts to blast our way through the obstacles or pitfalls of our own ignorance will only lead us to more struggle. If we wish to experience real joy in life, we must make ourselves available to it by directly meeting our fears, delusions, and selfishness with love, compassion, and patience. People who exude dignity, self-respect, humility, fairness, generosity, kindness, and reverence arrive at such grace through some amount of effort. It is a choice to be kind rather than cruel. It is a choice to forego pleasure and indulgence for service, empathy, and selfless actions. It is a choice to sacrifice short term gratification for long term contentment. It is a choice to surrender to the larger flow of cosmic history rather than try to re-arrange the narrative to something that preserves the idea we have of who we are, and what the world is.
There is no obvious path towards a more fulfilling life for any of us aside from diligently taking one step at a time, and approaching our life with humility. In the spirit of clarity, here are some thoughts on how to make sure your spiritual practice works.
Inspired by The Peppermint Trolley Company - Reflections (On A Universal Theme)