Spirituality can often be a confusing topic, and I find that metaphors, allegories, symbolism, and imagery often helps to explain things that are otherwise inaccessible to the mind.

By the way, Red State Mystic: I’ve not forgotten your question regarding Grace and falling away of things, and I shall address that in a future entry. In the meantime, I have to focus on what’s streaming through me at the moment.

I have a slight problem with the mystics who seem to assert that you don’t need any kind of external help to make the journey to the Absolute and consider this to be the rule and not the exception. I am aware that there are likely many mystics who have made the journey in history without the external help, but they were likely not modern day Americans, and for modern day Americans, the name of the game is different.

I don’t mean to ridicule mystics who don’t need an external system to make the journey- if they’re capable of doing it, if they’ve done it, then good. What matters more is that one makes the journey and not necessarily how one makes the journey, but for those of us who have not arrived, method can be helpful.

What I mean to say is this: the reality is that the mystical happenings go on within the human spirit on a level that is essentially accessible to the ego. The ego cannot go there. That’s fine- the ego was never made to go there. I think the no-external-help mystics are the kind who are trying to make this point- what happens in the Higher Self isn’t necessarily contingent upon the external happenings.

This is where things get sticky when I try to explain things. I find myself easily falling away from spiritual practices at times, mainly out of the sense that I’m not getting anywhere, and I’m sure more than a few mystics will agree whole-heartedly they’ve felt the same way. Red State Mystic deals with this in a series of good posts about Christian mysticism and spiritual sloth and so on.

My thoughts here diverge into a few different streams. First, I want to make the point that the practices are ultimately beneficial whether or not you see an immediate results. If you do not see any immediate results or get any “good” feelings, it doesn’t matter- because the practice has still done something that is, in my opinion, very helpful, in that it works like a radio.

On the Christian path, ultimately the ego and higher self are taken by God. That is, it’s a matter of grace. We cannot “get rid of ourselves.” The self cannot get rid of the self. It is not possible, end of story, end of debate.

But what the Self can do is turn the dial on the radio to the particular frequency of God’s grace and get ready to receive Him. What I mean to say is that our role in all this comes down to simply orienting ourselves towards God, and I find that saying the rosary, kneeling, crossing myself, and using vocal prayer all help to align me with the spiritual current- whether or not I end up feeling more enlightened or happy or anything along those lines.

I also need to point out that spirituality doesn’t necessarily work with the instant-gratification mindset of our generation. We cannot say a prayer and hope that, in that very moment, it is necessarily answered and manifested; we cannot visualize something and hope that it will appear before our eyes. However, from what I’ve seen, the grace usually descends later- maybe a few days later or whatever, but it does seem to eventually come.

This may be specific to me and my situations in life, though, and it could likely be that I need to learn the patience for waiting for God.

Just some thoughts.