Why Spiritual Results Are Slow Despite All Your Inner Work
Observe your thoughts, be patient and just chill?
Most us of have done the work. We’ve been on our healing journey for as long as we can remember.
Yet over the years, despite the continuous efforts we put into the work, we notice less and less “results”.
And not only that. Those teachings that once had a powerful effect on us lessened in their effectiveness.
Whatever teaching we come across, the message is always the same. Be aware of your thoughts and feelings, be patient with yourself and the process, and just chill. But until when?
Since childhood, we were always told that being angry as an example was wrong, or that we should put our stuff together and behave in front of others.
As we went through these different experiences, we learned to conform to the group’s behavior and expectations. And as we did it, we were accepted – we felt validated in some ways.
That’s how we learned to prefer some parts of us over others. That’s how the inner critic was born — the one that judges.
This is the voice that values being nice, pretending all is fine, rejecting one’s feelings and so on — so that other keep accepting us.
What we didn’t realize at that point was that by giving others the choice to accept or reject us, we became a stranger to ourselves.
We became more and more concerned with people’s opinions of us. Everything we do or say is constantly being ‘supervised’ by this critical voice we internalized during our unpleasant experiences.
Fun game: Listen to it – your inner critic has the voice of someone you know.
That’s how we came to identify with our thoughts and feelings. It’s how we gave more credit to the outside world, to the point of losing touch with what’s here – in our heart.
As we keep giving our power to the world, to people — we become more and more miserable. We’re always draining ourselves from our vitality by wanting to keep up with the Joneses. And before we realize it – we feel like a cog in a giant machine – powerless and unable to change things.
People are never truly satisfied with us. No matter what we do, their feelings remain the same. One day we’re so important to them, and the next, they spit on us. Realizing this is painful, and this pain opens our eyes.
This is when most spiritual awakening happen. And this is why most spiritual teachings ask us to become aware of our inner state. Yes, there are how-to’s and formulas, yes there are different procedures. But the most important thing to do is to become more aware of what’s really happening within us.
Throughout our experiences, we formed an ‘image’ that is often called the ‘ego’.
This image is our history. The hurts we experienced, the pleasant memories, the ‘main characters’ in our lives, and so on. It’s our past. And we’re constantly carrying this past with us. It’s through the lenses of this past that we perceive.
Here’s what this means.
We have specific opinions and we won’t accept anything else. We have beliefs that were formed throughout our lives, and we won’t want to look at life without them. Who would we be otherwise?
Not being able to flow with life’s rhythm, always being concerned with security, resisting change, fearing what may happen — this is the past. The past is a burden we’re always carrying with us. And a burden makes us heavier. This past is the ego.
Because we function from the ego for the most part of our existence, we keep unconsciously judging, classifying, organizing, analyzing, dissecting, discarding our experiences.
What doesn’t go in accordance with the accepted standards of society, we reject. Even if it exists in us (anger or envy as an example). And what does, is brought to our conscious mannerism.
Now why ask us to be aware?
Awareness is a like a torch on all our internal dynamics. It makes us more aware of the fact that we’re functioning based on learned, and autonomous processes — which we rarely question because we’re so identified with the whole of it.
Obviously some of us will confuse awareness and mental patterns in the beginning. Perhaps in being observant of our inner state, we’ll ‘meet’ our repressed anger, and because we’ve learned that anger wasn’t ‘good’ — we push it back inside.
Being more and more aware of our inner state takes time. We can’t get to the root of it by simply wanting it. We’ll have to see the different tricks we play with ourselves. We’ll have to be very quiet to observe the different patterns that keep us away from seeing what is really happening.
We’ve built this mental and emotional ‘machinery’ over the ages. Being born as a human being means inheriting those traits. It’s the legacy of our ancestors. A task they trust us with. The work must continue.
As we become more aware of ourselves, we learn to release control — we learn to interfere less and less with the object of our observation — and in doing so, the deeper repressed aspects of ourselves are given a chance to come to the surface.
That’s why most teachings tell us not to judge or criticize what we ‘see’. As long as we interfere with the process of observation, we switch back to the ‘ego’. We keep playing tricks with ourselves and nothing happens. That’s when we feel stuck and give up.
Healing can only occur with the courage to keep going, to keep being aware of our internal state most of the time. And to simply observe without interference.
That’s when you give yourself a chance, that’s when all those hidden aspects of the self — the repression that is stored in the subconscious mind — that’s when it comes out to the light, so that you really see it for what it is.
So yes, it’s good advice to simply be aware of your thoughts and feelings, to be patient with yourself and to chill. Especially chill because you need as much time to heal as you need. It’s your life, it’s your pace.
The deeper you go into yourself, the more effective your healing is. But to go deep, you must shut it, and just observe. Peace is yours. Take it.
I recently conversed with an excellent writer I met here. Andrea María Portal Ruiz is a beautiful soul. Her writing is full of life. And I humbly recommend readers to go give her some love. This article of hers, “How to Stop Running Away from Life and Dare To Live” asks important questions about life, while urging us to stop living from a place of complacency, and start acting — doing something that nourishes our soul.