Spiritual people can feel anger. They may not feel love for everyone and everything. They may give into the fears of the mind on occasion. It is ridiculous to impose saintly values on people who are all too human while in the human form. For example, Alan Watts was enlightened and in tune with the underlying harmonious structure of the Universe. He also was an alcoholic and a chain smoker. He didn’t give these things up and didn’t feel the need to. He knew that addictions come with the body and we don’t need to bolster our ego minds by promoting ourselves to sainthood in the eyes of others.
In my life, I gave up owning anything for five years. It was a positive experience to be able to live without possessions and very liberating. But it wasn’t because I thought it would get me farther on the path or that I could bribe Source Energy or God with my saint-like behavior. It wasn’t because I was trying to be a martyr. It was specific to me and what I needed to learn and when I learned what I needed, I moved on from that discipline.
It’s an imposition on spiritually inclined people to expect them all to be Mother Theresas and Sri Ramana Marharshis. Those beings did what they did because it brought them meaning and the maximum amount of joy in their lives. They couldn’t do anything else. It was their very nature and their choice. They weren’t going without and serving others so they could feather their nests in the next world. They had to do what they did based on their destinies. Nothing else made sense to them.
And, so I have let go of nothing, even troubling thoughts if they arise. They are just part of how the the mind works, churning out worries, fears, and apprehensions. I don’t need to think I am actually these thoughts and get caught in the whirlpool of misery. On the other had, I don’t need to force them away. I can let them be, the way we can let a car alarm carry on in the street when there’s no means to shut it off.
Eckart Tolle tells of a time he was in Starbucks and a fan came up to him and said, “You drink coffee?”, in an outraged voice. The public expects enlightened beings to be plaster saints at all times. They force us into molds of their fairytale vision of enlightenment. While, if you read any of the stories of the Zen masters, you will see they were cruel at times and seemingly lacking in compassion. That is because they were shocking students out of their cliches about what enlightenment really is.
And therefore, I have let go of nothing except sainthood itself. “Bring it on,” I say to the Universe. I know whatever you bring is for my good and my gaining. I can have fun, be full of life and energy, and still be in touch with All-That-Is. As Lao Tsu says in the Tao (19th verse):
“Give up sainthood, renounce wisdom,
and it will be a hundred times better for everyone.
All of these are outward forms alone;
They are not sufficient in themselves.”ick here to edit.