Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Spiritual Burnout: Repair and Moving On.


There comes a time in those seeking a spiritual "base" start to become what I can best describe as "stale" and without feelings of gain. This happens at different times during a persons seeking along the way. The standard is to lose faith in the teacher or guide. This really sucks because it can appear to undermine all your effort and comes with a sense of wanting to abandon the whole direction. My main suggestion is to make sure that anyone you are willing to have mentor your valuable self needs to at some point echo the Buddha's word and let you know that she or he wants what they teach to be challenged. Any guide, teacher, or head of a religion should welcome anyone who challenges the teachings. There are a few reasons that this can happen.

1. Loss of excitement and enthusiasm: Most of this know the feelings. In seeking a spiritual path we become enamoured and then enthused about a certain school, teaching, teacher, or method. This feeling of something new and exciting will often carry us for a while. Sooner or later this is going to wear off. Like any relationship we sooner or later start to see what we did not see before. A school starts to be compressive, a teaching does not seem to apply to our daily lives and struggle, a teacher may, who at first seemed all knowing, becomes shallow and self serving, or the method gives up it's glamour and becomes part of the norm. I am sure there are many other reasons but these few seem pretty predominant. Take a break. That might be all you need if it comes to being burned out. Get away for a while. Read and process something new in the area you are interested in. Lots of books and information about almost any path. Don't be afraid to explore.

2. Sometimes we become so focused on the outcome that we lose sight of the process. This, in part, comes as a result of "wanting to achieve" an end result. It no longer is about the slow, small, painful steps that are needed to make sure that we are acting with integrity and honesty. We just want to "achieve" enlightenment or the end reward or move up and on. It doesn't work that way. Anyone who offers you a quick and easy way to the spiritual path is selling you their ego and filling the bank account with your money. Outcome in spiritual growth has never been achieved and focus on outcome results in burnout. Take some time out and make some decisions about being in the process of the system. Look at objectives and goals that you have and ask yourself if they are realistic and doable. Accept that growth usually comes in bits and pieces.

3. The environment hinges entirely on the 'social" aspects. This can be subtle but has effected more people than you might think. Relationships with others is fine and can help build a positive group. As long as people don't gossip,cheat, tell lies, steal, insult, or demean each other. I have a few friends who have stopped attending due to social interactions that turned sour and they decided to leave. I think that the focus needs to be primarily on the teachings and helping others. When the environment becomes to social it's easy to have conflicts and become lost. A spiritual path can be fun and interesting in part due to the people we meet. The main focus however needs to remain on the path and what we learn from it. There is nothing wrong with enjoying people as long as you have your priorities set.

So we need to remain aware of how we are on this path. Lots of ups and downs and round about progress on any path of spiritual understanding.

If you think of other obstacles let me know.
Always glad to hear from you.