The Problem With Spirituality

Large promises and a lot of sacrifice needed. *Rant Alert*

It was the 9th day of my 10 day Vipassanna retreat. My body was so locked up and tight that I couldn’t stop shaking. It felt like someone was stabbing me in the back with knifes. I was completely drained of all enthusiasm and love of life , I felt like an empty, dead, a soulless body. Why was I still going? Well, mostly because I was under the impressions that I was “impure” and needed to keep purifying my mind and body. As was taught in the course, “we are constantly suffering , and as long as we crave and avert things, we will always suffer and live in misery.” Yeah, it’s pretty fucking harsh, right? So for 10 days I tortured myself and my mind to reach purification, I pushed my limits, and experienced pain, anger, defeat, and I would even say some trauma to levels I never imagined.

At the end of this retreat I met an older guy who had been doing this for 15 years. He looked beat down, upset, and defeated. I asked him how it went and he just said “rough.” In my mind, I would think that doing this shit for 15 years MUST purify your mind and get you to a point where it’s not as torturous. Then I realized it, once you are hooked in, you’re stuck. This is due to the mechanics of the ego, in spirituality unless you FULLY kill the ego aka your sense of self, you “will never reach liberation.” This results in people dedicating their lives to torturing themselves, denouncing all pleasures of life, family and friends. What I realized at the end of this retreat, and what I thank it for, was that I didn’t need to do that. I did not need to spend the rest of my life being neurotic about whether I was being indifferent or not. I realized that I need to love myself no matter what. That I am alone on this planet and the only person that can have my back is myself. Not to kill my ego, but strengthen it, build it up to somewhere that is comfortable to live. I need to stop thinking in ways that are not mine, but my parents, the scolding judging voice for example, while I understand why it is there and therefore do not blame it, i know it is not my own and only causes me suffering. So I do not entertain it.

To me, it is all about accepting the present moment. While I know this is what most spiritual teachings point at, they cause a lot of people to get lost in just another hamster wheel. Instead of material possessions it is one of spiritual highs and enlightenment. You can (and many people have) watch your whole life pass by as you work towards enlightenment, only to realize that it just ain’t gonna happen for you. There are plenty of monks, I would say most, who have spent years in the Himalayas freezing their asses off to reach enlightenment only to leave frustrated and unenlightened. There is nothing wrong with chasing enlightenment, it is actually a beautiful act, but I just think for most people it is probably a waste of time.

Look, I love meditation, I love spirituality, honestly, I am probably just in a bitter place because the retreat was so hard and I am having self-doubts. But I want to point out the main thing I realized from all this, that you are your own healer, teacher, master, do not cling to books and gurus, for their path is not yours. Live in the present as BEST as you can, aka don’t be anal about it, it’s virtually impossible to be present 24/7. Don’t beat yourself up if people don’t like you, fuck ’em. Don’t beat yourself up if you feel like shit somedays, everyone does. Just live out this human experience with curiosity and presence and genuine love if possible. Anyway, I don’t want to preach as it is completely counter-intuitive to my argument here. I just want to share my opinion from what I have learned. Sometimes I love to get fucked up, have sex, do drugs, watch netflix, watch porn. I am not addicted to these things, but sometimes you just need to fucking unwind and distract yourself from life. It’s not easy.

Lastly, I don’t want to say spirituality or Vipassanna or anything is wrong, they are beautiful practices. I’m just saying, you don’t have to be a fucking monk to be happy. Just learn to love yourself, develop that quality, learn to be mindful, exercise, don’t change for anyone, stop being so scared, enjoy life, because soon enough it will all be over.

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