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Have You Become Spiritually Lazy?

Posted by Eric Johnsen on December 05, 2011 0 Comments

By Iyanla Vanzant

I had done a great deal of inner work and studied almost everything the master teachers had to offer—and yet I had come to the end of everything I knew. I thought I knew a lot, and on some level, I did. Then again, if you cannot embody what you know, maybe you don’t really know it.

The truth was that I had fallen off of my spiritual center. Had surrendered too much of myself to doing things and not enough to being myself. On the emotional level, I had fallen into a pattern of terrorizing and brutalizing myself with my own thoughts. Before anyone else could, I would make myself wrong; before anyone else could, I would begin to doubt myself.

None of this stopped me from doing great work in the world. I knew the spiritual principles; I knew the spiritual laws that made life work. Even when I did not practice them consistently, teaching them and sharing them with other people reinforced their extraordinary value. The question was: What kept me from practicing them in my own life, every day? The truth? I had become spiritually lazy. Because I knew the principles on an intellectual level, I pretended that I could backslide and fall down on my own daily spiritual practice.

My daughter Gemmia felt the same way. For days, she and I discussed the ways we had slipped out of our practice. We vowed to get on track. For her, that meant better time management. For me, it meant cleaning up, or perhaps cleaning out, my house.

Every 24 hours, the mind and the body need to eat, work, rest, and play. But in our fast-paced lives, we are living on borrowed time. We borrow hours from one day and put them into another. Some days, we work long hours and don’t get enough rest. On other days, we eat more and do not play enough. On most days, we work and eat and forego rest and play. After decades of doing that, the mind and the body become confused and no longer function at maximum capacity. These imbalances result in dis-ease: mental, emotional, and physical breakdown. I think the same is true in the heart.

What people commonly call stress, I believe is the rebellion of the heart. The heart can only take so much pain, disappointment, or upset. The heart is communicating to the mind, Hey! You better chill or else. My heart had been screaming to my mind for years, and for some reason my mind just would not listen. I had trained myself to push up the mountain rather than take the lift. Things only counted if I suffered. For far too long I had been willing to be beaten up and beaten down and pop back up smiling. If the mind and the heart are the foundation on which we create experiences in our lives, my foundation was crumbling and I needed to do something about it.

The wise woman was back. She reminded me of all the things I did know and encouraged me to put them to use. At the same time, I recognized someone else standing up within me. It was the warrior. She was not trying to fight; soldiers fight. Warriors had another level of honor to uphold. The warrior was ready to do battle within and without to save the kingdom. The kingdom was my mind and my heart. The warrior’s ultimate work was to protect my soul.

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