I found an amazing book: The Little Book of Hercules: The Physical Aspects of the Spiritual Path by William Bodri. It brings together every spiritual issue and fascination and observation I have had.
I have always had a fascination with stillness, silence, simplicity, etc. Part of my interest in the Eastern Orthodox church has been its path of attainment of Purification, Illumination, and Theosis (Catharsis, Theoria, and Theosis). This book addresses how similar this path is to Buddhist, Hindu, and other paths.
This book also addresses the kundalini experience I have been having and how it relates to all these spiritual processes. Fascinating. It goes into a lot of detail as to how it works.
It does all this through the Greek mythology of Hercules’s twelve labors. The labors are common to all faiths. The labors are all about letting go.
What struck me quickly was on page 21. “[Y]ou have to learn how to mentally let go while still doing everything that has to be done.” This is why in many eastern cultures (including some Eastern Orthodox countries), it is not unusual for men and women to join monasteries or go off into caves and mountains for spiritual practice, after the kids are grown and the middle-aged adults are done with the householder phase of life.
This is also in agreement with my observation that Catholic and Orthodox monks and nuns that join the monastery/convent in their twenties are basically children play-acting in adult clothing. They are lovely, sweet, generous children, not grown-ups, because they have never had to sacrifice anything ever. Their lives of silence and stillness come at the expense of maturity and real-world competence.
Also, the people demanding obedience are usually the least spiritual in the entire community, managers and not spiritual leaders. They are the blind leading the blind. Being a pastor and having a family put an effective end to spiritual practice. Marrying people, burying people, going to endless meetings, hospital visitations, etc., do not leave much time for prayer and meditation. Also, the spiritual greats of all faiths (Saint Seraphim of Sarov, Hindu gurus, Zen masters, Desert Fathers and Mothers, etc.) have to be sought out. They will not demand your obedience because they don’t need the ego satisfaction. You have to hunt them down like dogs to get a word from them.
I can never seriously practice while Barry is still alive. On the other hand, I can meditate when I can. When he passes, I plan on going on retreat for a week or two. I need some alone time, desperately.
I go to Peckham on Thursday to see what they have to offer. I need to bring my driver’s license and SS card. I might have to juggle the caretaker schedule. I don’t know how any of this is going to work. Functioning for two is exhausting.
It just amazes me how I still “have issues” while pursuing spirituality and employment. I am pushing fifty and still have shame, shyness, etc. Wow. I guess that’s just my karma.
I’ll just keep inching forward spiritually and occupationally like a snail.