You may wake up one day and know that things are not right on this Physical Plane, and you begin to allow your inner consciousness to be influenced by the environment or the natural forces around you. You may be doing nicely—having periods of deep meditation with inner experiences and Inspiration—and then suddenly the worldly circumstances and problems of life become too much for you and you begin to doubt. Then you might say to yourself, “If God is real then these things should not be happening, and especially not to me! If the Teaching is true then I should be in a blissed-out, transcendental state and none of this negativity should touch me!”
Many people come to this stage of doubt on their spiritual journey. It is sometimes called the stage of dryness or the desert condition. The inner forces are not strong enough to neutralize the forces outside you, and usually the worldly forces outside you are very strong! It could be your family or it could be your job, your environment, your relationships, or society in general. It could be the result of wars, famine or natural disasters—there are hundreds of possibilities! You become immersed in it all. You become overwhelmed and give up hope.
This phase of doubt is not new. There were doubters amongst the followers of Jesus (Thomas, for example), the followers of Buddha and Krishna, the followers of all Teachers. That doubt is real; it is a psychological condition. It has nothing to do with the Teaching, the Teacher, the Path or anything else. It is simply a personality problem. The personality becomes overwhelmed by negative, imperfect or unhealthy conditions and at that moment one’s Soul-connection weakens.
For instance, you may have a good meditation; the Light of the Soul comes down and “tickles” the personality and you feel everything is fine. You can put up with wars, earthquakes, floods, disasters or the Universe dissolving! But sometimes, because the seething mass of materialistic energy around you is contrary to the Soul-Nature, the Light of the Soul cannot penetrate the personality and you begin to doubt. People having this experience might give up and re-establish themselves in the world comfortably and think they have found the real purpose of life.
Associated with every Teacher, in every period of history, were people who failed to continue on the Spiritual Path. They were originally inspired by the Path, by the Teaching, by the Teacher, and were enthusiastic, but then the personal hassles became too much. Remember that those personal hassles are real. They are not only part of your Karma, but also of the mass World Karma. You have not caused all the problems of the world, but you are a small part of the bigger problems of the world which were created by everyone.
In previous times it was not such a problem if people became overwhelmed and left the Spiritual Path, but you cannot afford to “switch off ” nowadays because you do not have much time. The planet is not becoming more blissed-out! In fact, it is likely there will be increasing counterproductive and opposing forces, so if you switch off now you will be off track for this particular lifetime and obviously will not come out of this whole trip well.
I am letting you know this because you will go through it, if you have not already—especially when you find life to be tough and you feel that you don’t have the psychic strength or energy to deal with spiritual life anymore. That is a dangerous time because if you follow that track you literally lose your Soul-connection, and to re-establish it becomes very difficult, especially if bigger problems come along.
It is important that you practise feeling the sense of Spiritual Reality in your daily life. For instance, if you are able to feel oneness through Nature, wherever you seek Nature you will feel oneness there. If you are able to feel oneness with people during a meditation or chanting session, when you go into the world you will be able to feel oneness with people at work or wherever you go. You must practice that continuum of consciousness, so you don’t feel that the world is “out there” and you are here, with no connection with the world.
Excerpt from The Journey Within – Living the Spiritual Live Today (pages 15-17)