Whenever a student starts on a spiritual path with the desire and purpose to grow and change their lives they will encounter obstacles that sometimes seem insurmountable. Lifelong habits and patterns and ways of being in the world seem set in stone. It can be like looking at a beautiful landscape over the top of a stone wall with what seems like no way to get to the other side. You can envision a new way of relating to life, but getting there seems too difficult.
What stands in your way from making the changes you want in your life? Often times the only thing between us and a new way of being in the world is our own fear. I came across a great quote by John O'Donohue in his book, Anam Cara. Anam Cara means “soul friend”. He speaks of this process of transformation in what I have found is a very helpful perspective.
"Spirituality is the art of transfiguration. We should not force ourselves to change by hammering our lives into any predetermined shape. We do not need to operate according to the idea of a predetermined program or plan for our lives. Rather, we need to practice a new art of attention to the inner rhythm of our days and lives. This attention brings a new awareness of our own human and divine presence.
It is far more creative to work with the idea of mindfulness rather than with the idea of will. Too often people try to change their lives by using the will as a kind of hammer to beat their life into proper shape. The intellect identifies the goal of the program, and the will accordingly forces the life into that shape. This way of approaching the sacredness of one's own presence is externalist and violent. It brings you falsely outside yourself, and you can spend years lost in the wilderness of your own mechanical, spiritual programs. You can perish in a famine of your own making.
If you work with a different rhythm, you will come easily and naturally home to yourself. Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future; therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey."
The journey towards a greater knowing of our own soul is one of beauty and joy. There is nothing to fear unless we impose that fear upon ourselves. We have unfortunately been told through the collective beliefs of fear that we must guard against some internal monster. Climbing over that wall we will have to face our fears, but they are fears of our own making. The monster is our own creation. If we will but embrace it (ourselves) with love, we will find that there is only a small child there, waiting to be discovered, appreciated, and loved.