There are so many things in our lives that can act to impede our individual spiritual progress. For those who have begun the journey toward a greater ethical and moral way of being, the many shades of individual co-optation will have become very familiar to you along the way. There are the numerous societal impediments to self-realization, ranging through the institutional expressions of collective belief, to include religious, cultural and professional behavioral norms. There are, in addition, the numerous personal impediments as well, ranging through the psychological expressions of perceived need, desire and the expectations of others. Each of these categories serves as trial and tribulation to the seeker intent upon the goal of self-realization and, in toto, act as portals through which higher strains of vibratory resonance to the ineffable harmonics of multiversal Truth can be heard and expressed as life lived attuned to Source.
Society, as the collective expression of cultural traits, limits expression to that prescribed and approved by an infinitely subjective and microcosmic process of individuated judgments that then results in a collective averaging expressed at a greater, macrocosmic scale. What follows then is the codification of behavioral traits that then become normative. This agglomeration of individual opinions takes on a life of its own, achieving what seems to be a form of half-life, accreting as syncretic and archetypal systems of belief and knowledge that live on long past those who originated them. These traits then assume a semi-conscious pervasivity that permeates all levels of social interaction, influencing all behavior within the system itself. Notwithstanding the variegated sub-cultural deviations from this amorphous, shifting and extenuated ideal, in general, all are beholden - to some extent or another - to these rules and regulations that have been inculcated within each member of a society from the earliest ages and that manifest subconsciously in thoughts, words and actions.
Religion often serves as one facet of this regulation. Proscribed thought and behavior that designates good and evil at levels of relativity that seem unassailable and absolute in nature. Secularization, the expressive modality of crass personal and group expression that decries deeper spiritual truths and behaviors, is another facet of this nebulous gem that we call culture that dogs the seeker's path. Seemingly oppositional in nature, when encountered by the spiritual aspirant in their journeys toward greater understanding of self and world, both of these cultural institutions act as strictures upon potentiality that limit personal expression according to regulated behavioral patterns accepted and propagated by the vast majority of society's members. The acceptance of certain beliefs, even at a sub-conscious level, determines our ability to cognate freely and, as a result, we apply artificial constraints to what should be universal understandings. Engaging in meditation, walkabouts, spiritual retreats and other activities designed to deepen ones understanding of themselves results in the clanging furor of cultural alarm bells, indicating the deviation of an individual from accepted behavioral patterns. Like the fabled body-snatchers of movie fame, the accusing eyes and pointed fingers of the collective condemn the seeker as the perceived Other to ostracization or, even worse, some form of intensified re-education process that many on the considered path to spiritual realization know all too well.
In our individual lives, our own fear of being different, of being seen to deviate from the norm, often acts as an additional impediment to our personal growth and evolution. What our families and friends think of us is important and can cause us to hesitate when we should act or turn back when we should forge ahead. The omnipresent specter of fear rears its hydra-like head in the most devious and obscure of manners, appearing often when we least expect it or expressing itself in forms cloaked to prevent clear recognition. Patterns of behavior based upon underlying currents of trepidation often have their genesis in our early lives and events that formed our baseline understanding of the world around us and our place in it. The masks we then spend a lifetime creating become rictuses of shakespearean malevolence, unbeknownst even to ourselves. In the attempt to conform, we then become shades of illusory reality, contributing to the dramas and acts of our lifetimes almost automatically, embodying personality traits and behaviors designed erroneously to navigate the treacherous shoals of lives lived outside of the natural flow of unmediated action.
The combination of these seemingly impersonal and yet pervasive forces upon the seeker does indeed limit personal spiritual progress. The need to conform, to find a job and provide an economic platform from which mundane goals can be met is raised to paramount importance. The need to gain the approval of family, friends and society become unconscious imperatives that determine the outcome of choices and their resultant actions. Because of these constraints, decisions are made that deny the full extent of the desired changes or shifts in behavior patterns that may be required according to the mentation of the seeker living a life destined for conscious transformation. The fear of alienating others or becoming outcast in the most atavistic manner possible rises in consciousness as an all-encompassing imperative to cast off difference, to sublimate agency within the anonymous safety of collective behavior. For many who assail these heights in search of that plateau of clarity and peace lying upon the mist-enshrouded summit, these fear-based considerations and perceptual barriers can slow or even halt progress for minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years or even lifetimes.
But there is always a way. The possibility of achieving a breakthrough is ever-present. That is the gift of spiritual progression and growth and is a part of the mythos of many a civilization and culture across the world's expanse and throughout the span of time. The darkest night leads to the brightest day. When it seems there is no way forward, a way appears. When choices are made according to the highest potentiality of each instance, portals and gateways open, leading the seeker through and upwards into the clouds, beyond their preconceived limitations and to a destination undreamed. The endless parceling out of pain and heartache are signposts along that steep and treacherous path; the relationships, the jobs, the bad choices, the mistakes. Each symbolizes a deeper understanding of what life is and why we are here to live it. Each moment of despair, each curse frozen upon our lips in the very act of speaking it, each head bowed beneath the weight of seemingly insurmountable troubles is at the point of the greatest realization of a lifetime, each circumstance designed specifically for, and by, the seekers themselves. For their own edification and illumination, choice-points arise that will invariably produce the experiences necessary to overcome the limitations of a lifetime.
There is no end to experience. Like the most intense, engrossing and engaging video-game ever, this holographic reality we now call home beckons us each to greatness, to become exactly who and what we chose to come here to be. And with every success, every trial transcended, we finally reach that mountainous plateau only to look again ahead and see an even greater and more ominous peak in the distance, ponderously awaiting our attempt at the summit. And, also in the distance, we can hear, wafting faintly upon a perfumed breeze, that harmonious music of the spheres, beckoning us again forth. And with our bodies vibrating in syncopation with the very Heart of the Cosmos we proceed once again, the previously-experienced dark nights of the soul receding exponentially as we continue the journey not knowing the destination but absolutely certain that we will, someday, arrive.
Mark Rockeymoore is a PhD candidate with specializations in Geography, the Environment and Education. He is an Energy Worker specializing in Attachments, Implant and Insert removal at http://www.bioenergeticholism.com and can be found blogging at http://rahkyt.com.