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Pleasure and Discomfort on the Path

Discomfort on the Spiritual Path
Episode No. 187

Both pleasure and discomfort are normal aspects of spiritual life. If we run toward pleasure and avoid discomfort, we will never self-realize. If we deny pleasure and approach spiritual practice as only struggle and strife, we also create obstacles. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

Podcast First Words

In general, the condition that we’re in—with some occasional grace—is a condition of forgetting. We’ve forgotten what the nature of reality is, and what the nature of our self is.

The process of doing spiritual practice—like meditation, mantra, working with a teacher, putting up with a community, and all of that—is to remember. The point is that you’re doing things that will help you to remember who you really are.

What’s really happening here? What’s the nature of reality? These are things that you can discover directly. Not in a theoretical, intellectual way, but directly through your senses in your mind. When you do spiritual practice over a number of years, you begin to discover what’s actually here and what you actually are.

Along the way, you gain more clarity. So one way of talking about forgetting is a lack of clarity. You have a lack of clarity about who you are. You have a lack of clarity about how you’re showing up. You have some conventional ways of being in the world, behaving, and reacting that seem normal to you.

Someone steals your copies out of the copier at work, and you get angry at them. Then you have to go in and talk with your manager and make a big to-do about it. That seems normal to some people to make a big kerfuffle of everything. Of course, someone did something bad to me, so I’m going to be angry. Of course.

What happens when you start to do practice, and especially if you’re doing practice everyday, is you start to gain more clarity. Then things that seemed natural and normal to you start to seem not normal and natural. They start to appear as what they are. They start to appear as reactivity, as contrived, as conventional, as not really quite as natural and normal as you thought they were.