The Spiritual Roller Coaster
We all have good days and bad days as we progress on our spiritual path. Have you ever noticed that a bad day often follows a very good day or a string a very good days? I see this often in my life, that after a few days where everything goes incredibly well and I feel I’ve been truly living and experiencing life joyfully in the moment, I invite a day where things do not appear to go well and frustration gets the best of me. It indeed sometimes feels like a roller coaster.
When I say “a good day,” I mean that it’s a day when everything seems to go “right”. (That alone is a judgment, which I will address someday in a subsequent post.) A good day is a day when we feel we’re operating at our most genuine because our heart and overall energy are wide open and we are seeing and experiencing the world from that context, as opposed to from our often overly scattered mind, distracted by our attempt to keep up with our collectively self-made, fast-paced culture.
There is a freeing energy when living from the heart. It is an energy that trusts, knows, and loves. It has an inherent faith that everything is happening for a reason and that we are all working together towards a common goal that, although elusive, is the reason why we are all here.
Much seems to get done during these good days. There is a flow to both physical and mental movement because they are rooted in heart-centered energy with its associated trust in the moment. Emotions may come but they are felt and then let go. There is no wallowing in them, no dragging them beyond the initial reaction. And when in that present moment, we allow life to flow through us and we accept our surroundings rather than trying to control the processes and the outcomes. Things get done because the energy flowing through us gets it done with our personality limitations out of the way. Nothing that happens is wrong because everything is right. Wrong just doesn’t exist. Something previously viewed as wrong or difficult becomes just a part of the day that we move through, like any other part.
Through this open-hearted prism during these good days, life is a beautiful dance and everything is perfect.
What often happens after a day or two of wonderful, abundant, joyful, flowing energy like this is that something triggers an old soul memory and we emotionally react to it and find ourselves spiraling down into a space of criticism, frustration, anger, worry, etc. at/with ourselves or our surroundings. Note, however, that any emotion directed at others is simply a reflection of that same emotion we are subconsciously directing at ourselves. Our environment reflects it back to us because we created its manifestation around us. The external trigger in our surroundings that we believe caused us to change our mood was really energetically summoned to us by the energy we were emitting. Our energy, conscious and subconscious, attracts similar energies so what we think and feel, we attract and manifest in our life. Thus, the world around us becomes a mirror to our internal world because of the projection of our energy.
Frequently, the primary reason behind the spiral, despite the appearance of how the details come to trigger us, is that the ego has been minimized during the good days, its power jeopardized by the opening of the heart. Its very existence is threatened. It has to fight back for control and so prods at us with familiar triggers that it knows we will react to…and we do so dutifully due to old, entrenched behavioral patterns.
Spiritual and psychotherapeutic work can help reduce these patterns, or rather raise the underlying issues to the surface, so we are able to see more clearly how ego uses our reactions for its perverse purposes, namely to sustain and strengthen its own power. Consequently, the length of time under the ego’s spell during the bad days can lessen as we address old issues and learn to identify the ever more shrewd manner of ego’s manipulation. And continued work can minimize and eventually eliminate the bad days altogether, putting our ego into its rightful place of only alerting us to physical danger. In that place, it is subservient to our beingness in the present moment, which allows us to know and live from the perfection that we are, thereby creating and living exclusively in the good days.
Many people like roller coasters because they like the drama and excitement of the physical ups and downs. We are no different with our thoughts and emotions. We like the excitement of the ups and downs because we believe they make us feel more alive and more human, just what the ego wants us to think. When we mentally or emotionally react to something, whether positive or negative, we feed ego’s need to make us feel special, which fosters separateness. This is the ego’s version of survival, always attempting to keep us separate from our surroundings, to make us feel danger where no danger lurks, to foster judgments and comparisons that make us perceive that one thing is better than another. When in the flow of a good day, no such energy exists, or even can exist, because of the nature of heart-centered living, as ego's energy cannot remain in the presence of the pure, loving energy of an open heart.
Hypocritically, this post is using judgment and comparison to illustrate that the bad days—the ego-driven, emotionally-charged days—are simply not necessary and that the good days can be lived continuously. However, we sometimes have to use judgment and comparison to work through an issue to get to a point where they are not needed, just as we often need to take a good, hard look at and work through our emotional baggage before being able to truly put it behind us in a place where it doesn’t infuse our reactions anymore.
So, choose to ride the spiritual roller coaster if you must…until you desire to choose differently. When you do choose to get off, trust your heart and you’ll be getting off at the high point.