I Struggle With Both Worldly and Spiritual Life. I’m Also Having Trouble Committing to One Path.


Part of me just wants to renounce everything and live as a monk but I haven’t prepared for that. I feel I struggle with both worldly life and spiritual life, often I feel no motivation for either. What makes this time tougher is I’ve really been keeping up with my spiritual practices but I still hit this wall where both worldly and spiritual paths feel futile. Also having trouble committing to a particular path, love Ananda, Vedanta Society and Isha. Love and guidance appreciated, thank you!

—Sean, US


Dear Sean,

So many choices! Yours is an instance where the practice, “Chop wood and carry water,” comes in handy. As Lahiri Mahasaya put it long ago, “Banat, banat, ban jai!” [Doing, doing, soon done!] To use another example: It is better to meditate than to read about it!

The best “cleanser” of doubt and indecision is devotion! What and who opens your heart and calms your mind?

If you are at the stage where you can accept that dabbling in a potpourri of spiritual inspirations and traditions is unsatisfactory, then find that one which is the most grounding and calming and stick with it at least long enough to “know”.

If you’re not through shopping, then keep shopping until the right “partner” (spiritual family) is found. Spirituality is not just an idea; it’s an experience. So as you consider different paths, don’t limit your survey to something, in a book or otherwise, devoid of real, human contact. Make it real by practical commitments and relationships of service, giving, and participating. Remember that will power and self-effort are the basis of spiritual growth. Together they draw into your life the spiritual support you need to transcend the little self.

I understand the seemingly “futility” of spirituality. This arises in part because of our impatience and in part because we don’t see the true purpose and process. Even when we have a distracted meditation session, our very effort “to be still and know” generates a response from Stillness & Knowing: the intuitive soul-Self. Just as after eating a meal, your body deals with it without your active, conscious participation, so, too, does the sincere effort to pray, meditate, serve and express devotion evoke a divine, superconscious response. More is going on than the conscious mind can see.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna (us) that to the devotees, “I will make good your deficiencies and render permanent your gains.” Perfection is the grace of God; we need only make the sincere effort using our God-given will. March on!

Blessings to you on your journey to Self-realization!
Nayaswami Hriman
Ananda Seattle