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Often in our spiritual journey, and in the daily course of life, there just isn’t the time to sit down and meditate, pause in prayer and reflection, or do a mantra. So what happens when the hectic pace of life seems to out pace us? Who are we in those times, when we can’t even sneak in a moment of calm to recompose ourselves?

Sometimes it seems like life’s circumstances come to force us to see what we really are, stripped of spiritual crutches, and to test whether we have built the inner muscles to enable us to walk without them.

Consciousness is within at every moment, not just in spiritual exercises. I think many practices can help a great deal and are extremely important when used wisely, like crutches for those who’ve suffered the loss of their spiritual parts, to help us find and learn to use them again. And being in the spiritually blind and debilitated state we are in, it would seem a little arrogant to me to think we don’t need them.

Take for example what Lao-Tzu says about this in the Hua Hu Ching:

“Don’t think you can attain total awareness and whole enlightenment without proper discipline and
practice. This is egomania. Appropriate rituals channel your emotions and life energy toward the light.
Without the discipline to practice them, you will tumble constantly backward into darkness. Here is the
great secret: Just as high awareness of the subtle truth is gained through virtuous conduct and sustaining
disciplines, so also is it maintained through these things. Highly evolved beings know and respect the
truth of this.”

But on the other hand, making a religion out of practice can create an illusion, as we become dependent on something exterior that hides and holds up the lack of our own conscious development. It’s easier to feel spiritual in a spiritual practice, but the work of spiritual transformation transforms consciousness, so that a permanent increase in our spiritual level takes place, not just the temporal one of a passing practice.

“Do you think you can clear your mind by sitting constantly in silent meditation? This makes your mind
narrow, not clear. Integral awareness is fluid and adaptable, present in all places and at all times. That is
true meditation. Who can attain clarity and simplicity by avoiding the world? The Tao is clear and simple,
and it doesn’t avoid the world.”
~ Lao-Tzu, Hua Hu Ching