When Spirituality Hurts

A middle aged lady named Rupali sought solace in satsangh

from the harsh lessons and experiences of life. Each day she would meticulously plan her day so that all her work would be over in time and she could rush to this gathering of like minded spiritual seekers. The words of wisdom she heard there were like balm upon her troubled soul. She felt as though she had finally found the truth.

The months turned into years and satsangh

became a way of life for her. Whenever something hurt her she would simply tell herself that this world was illusionary and that she must rise above these negative feelings. When she felt anger within, she would repress it and shut it away because the wisdom had taught her that peace was the gift of the spiritual minded. A sense of detachment from all things worldly had taken her over but she was at peace with it. After all the wisdom said that vairagya was the natural outcome of such spiritual endeavors. As time went along she became more and more immersed in the knowledge shared at those meetings and moved further away from the presenting realities of her life.

People couldn’t hurt you if you didn’t meet or engage with them

and greed wouldn’t trouble you if you avoided temptation. And so it was that Rupali created a cocoon of her own reality, a safe haven within her home where nothing hurt or pained her anymore. Until one day when she broke out into a strange rash all over her body. It hurt and it pained and she felt her whole body burn. She visited several doctors who found nothing wrong with her and even homeopathy didn’t seem to help.

She could not understand what this strange disease was

and why it would not go away. Her daughter spoke with me about this problem recently and I asked if anything had happened in their lives that might have caused her deep rage. Her daughter replied in the affirmative. However she went on to add that her mother never expressed her anger nor even shared her upset with anyone of them. When nudged and pushed to talk about her pain she simply said that she didn’t want to talk about it because she didn’t care.

That was a giveaway.

When someone says they don’t care, it means that they are hurting deeply and they try to desensitize their feelings by not thinking about it. They are trying really hard not to care. Anger when coupled with helplessness assumes the form of rage and rage burns you from within. Left unaddressed it seeks attention by emerging and making itself known through some form of discomfort or disease in the body. In some cases it causes ulcers of the stomach or in others like Rupali, an ulcerative form of skin rash.

Rupali needed to address her feelings and heal them

to truly find her peace and equanimity. What she had done was merely use the knowledge superficially by denying her true feelings because she believed that to be spiritual meant not feeling or experiencing negative emotions.

So many people make this mistake

of believing that those who seek the higher truths should not feel anger, pain, jealousy, hurt or hate. But this is not how it is. Firstly evolution is a journey that takes time; and sometimes that could mean many births. Secondly most evolved people, with the exception of those who have achieved the enlightened state, feel pain. The difference is that they emerge from their pain much faster and they don’t carry the weight of it with them like so many others do. Thirdly, pain can be overcome only by experiencing it fully. When neglected or repressed, it seeps deep into the subconscious mind depleting the life force energy and damaging the will to live, both of which result in disease. Lastly it disconnects you from life itself. This is the gravest misgiving. We have chosen to incarnate on this planet so that through our connection with all of life, we can balance our karmic records and refine our soul essence. Disconnecting deprives us from fulfilling the very purpose for which we are here.

If we are to refine our souls we must experience

the lessons life is teaching us and not escape them through the intellectual traps of knowledge. In order to truly know, we must acquire the experience of what is spoken about at the various satsangh’s or spiritual meetings and not take them as given principles that are to be blindly embraced. Hence in order to follow the knowledge shared in the sacred texts we must walk the path of fire and pain and only then can we learn to transmute it. Knowledge must be shed before we are filled with the wisdom or the direct experience of divinity that the sages talk about. It cannot be captured by the mind. It must be felt by the soul.




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