If we are earnestly seeking, relentlessly seeking, honestly seeking, it can be quite easy at times to loose faith in the spiritual path. After some time of seeking we can become disillusioned with the whole thing and question it totally, especially if we are a long-time seeker. This is actually a great gift to us. We are taken back down to solid earth with a bump and can start afresh with new eyes. We may ask ourselves questions such as:
-Does enlightenment even exist?
-What if all these teachers are just deluding themselves?
-What if this whole spirituality thing is utter nonsense?
In the light of our disillusionment, as we have discovered that our seeking has not thus far worked, we can assess things in a more sober light. We may start to have thoughts such as:
-Spiritual practices have not really got me anywhere. They may have improved my life somewhat and given me glimpses of something beyond, but they have not given me lasting joy-peace-love that I so yearn for. At most they have given me fleeting joys, and this is not enough.
-Spiritual teachers, despite their promissory words, spiritual airs and smiling faces, have not really taken me to the place where suffering has ended. And all I am left with are empty second-hand words, mere dust in my hands.
-I find Spiritual books to be tiresome. They say similar things in different ways, and these words now no longer nourish me. I want more than this. This is not working. These teachings no longer touch me or move me deeply. I am fed up of all these words and paper. I want more.
-The so-called spiritual people I know are no better off than me. Beyond the thinly veiled smiles, baggy clothes and Namastes I can see they are just as caught up in illusion as I am, suffering as I am, groping in the dark as I am. What can they really give me in terms of enlightenment/self-realisation?
At this point we have essentially had enough of all the central aspects of the ‘spiritual journey’: we are fed up of spiritual teachers, teachings, practices, books and spiritual people/groups. We are questioning our very concept of spirituality. We are now wondering if there is such a thing as spirituality or enlightenment or self-realisation.
Hopefully, together with the disillusionment in seeking fulfillment in spiritual things, we are also disillusioned in seeking absolute fullfilment in the so-called world, eg. through relationships, wealth, pleasure, society, etc.
Having come ‘this far’, if we are lucky, we may start to lose faith in one more thing: our own mind. We can also realise that not only can teachers/ teachings/ practices/ communities NOT bring us to the enlightenment we desire, but neither can we ourselves get us there. Our own minds, our own thoughts, ideas and ideologies are also equally as useless as everything else as they too have not worked. Despite listening to our self for this long, where has it got us? Are we not still as ‘unenlightened as ever’?
Now we are totally disillusioned. We have no faith in anything. We know that teachers, teachings, practices and the mind – none of them work. We no longer rely on spirituality, the world or on our mind. All seeking here just continues the struggle, the labour, the burden…
We no longer lean on external authorities, we no longer hand our authority over to them, we no longer rely on thought as a means to escape suffering.
At the same time, the teachings are firmly implanted in the mind. We know them back to front due to our time seeking – we can trot off the words like ‘there is nobody here’, ‘there is no mind’, ‘all is one’, ‘separation is an illusion’…it’s just that these words do not do it for us anymore.
So now what do we do? What can we grab hold of? Are you waiting for a teacher to tell you what happens next, or are you done with all of that? Is there even anyone here to do anything? What’s going on?
There is a great gift here for one who has travelled this far…