Reflecting on progress

As I’ve talked about before, some 20 months ago I ran into some real problems in my spiritual life. Nothing seemed to work like it used to, none of the processes I’d depended on gave me any support. The momentum I’d built up saw me through for a while, then stopped. I’ve felt magically and spiritually cold for a long time and felt like I’ve lacked even the potential for action.

To be sure, no small degree of circumstantial stress was behind this. In fact, as the mental real estate given over to my practice cleared as my practice dwindled, I got to acknowledge just how much interior stress and anxiety I was actually living with. This period hasn’t been a problem that needed solving (although I’ve frequently regarded it as such); I’ve been looking for the wisdom within it. I’ve been trying to see what went wrong, trying to discern what interior processes led me here. In my head I’ve referred to this state as “the anxiety layer” of self. I’m seeing just how profoundly anxiety and worry really impact me; I’m trying to learn how these sensations shape my perception of the world and my reaction to it.

 

Perhaps some small progress is being made as a result of this work. Some recent minor upheavals caused less distress, for less time than they might have otherwise. Some small degree of confidence has been gained – after all, I’ve already seen that I haven’t fallen to pieces coming through what I already have, therefore I’m unlikely to crumble in the face of new challenges.

This, my Buddhist books assure me, is the true meaning of faith. Faith is properly a form of confidence, a mental resting in Things As They Are. Stripping away the half-facts of an admittedly flawed practice (all our practices have shortcomings and room to grow) made me face the reality of my own state of being. Like other stages of growth in the past, I’ve had to learn about myself most of all, and learn about myself in absence of the features I might use to distract myself with.

This is a very slow process. It’s a very tedious one and I feel myself treading the same territory over and over again. I remind myself frequently that patience is required and that this is the work of a lifetime, not of a few months. I have to trust that I am not as broken as I feel, that I’m not as impotent as I feel, that I’m not as fractured as I feel. I have to trust that a more honest practice will result from this deepening introspection and that I will be more capable of existing within the fact of relationship because of coming to terms with myself.

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While I’m waiting around to learn more about myself, I’d love to give you a reading. If you’re looking for divination services, I’ve got them. I’ve read professionally for 18 years and currently offer intuitive tarot and oracle card readings online. My current rates are $40/reading; you receive a detailed report including photos of your card spread.

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