Ah, the enlightened life! A life where the superficial trappings of the material world have lost their luster. Where greasy, fried, and fatty foods are no longer tempting. Where meditation, sharing, and an appreciation of the beauty of nature provide all the fulfillment one needs for true happiness. And yet, considering how healthy, content, and self-fulfilled spiritual people claim to be, why are they plagued with so many health, wealth, and happiness issues? Is poverty a requirement of enlightenment? Is self-indulgence selfish?
Is self-love a sign of an inflated ego? The irony is that most spiritual people are just as egotistical as materialistic people—perhaps even more so since they believe themselves to be so far above everyone else.
Sacrifice and ascetic behavior do not make one spiritual. Denying the material for the sake of the spirit misses the big picture. To be truly fulfilled, one needs to embrace both of these worlds, creating more than a holy life, but a wholly life.
Most of the spiritual people I know all share certain characteristics in common—they’re broke, have relationship issues, and/or suffer with a host of health problems. Does God punish those He loves the most? Is this some kind of Jesus/Job suffering archetype? Does no good deed go unpunished? Are spiritual people given a tougher path because they are strong enough to handle it? Any of these could be true. But a few concepts have come my way recently that have got me thinking differently about the cause of spiritual suffering.
Back in the autumn of last year, I received a newsletter email from spiritual healer Dave Markowitz that I found intriguing. In it, Markowitz wrote that he questioned the concept of “maya” which is a Hindu term for the holographic/illusionary world concept. (Those of you who read my blogs know that it’s a concept I happen to subscribe to.) Seeing how so many spiritual people are ill, Markowitz wrote that he’s come to see how this illusionary-world view is, in fact, selective denial that has hindered our growth, health, and happiness.
He then goes on to quote from Indian mystic and guru Osh