My grandmother attended her high school reunion and was joking about guys hitting on her. It was her 40 yr reunion or thereabouts and she was married, so I teased her about why she wasn’t interested in any of the men. She said they all had “one foot in their graves and the other on a banana peel,” which we all found pretty humorous.
In life, if you are a person with spiritual intentions, you must walk around with one foot in the spiritual or metaphysical realm and the other in everyday life or the physical (space-time) realm. Having one foot in the metaphysical realm is like having one foot in the grave. Samurai would contemplate death daily so they would not fear death in combat. They had “already died” in various ways through their contemplations and were prepared to go out honorably at any time. (There’s more to it than this, but that’s beyond the scope of this blog.) Thinking about death can be a healthy endeavor for us too. Embracing our mortality makes life more precious and lends a seriousness to the spiritual aspects of life. Many don’t “get spiritual” until they begin to feel their mortality at old age. The problem with this is there is not as much time left to do spiritual work.
Walking with one foot in the metaphysical realm and the other in the physical can be a tricky endeavor. Sometimes you may focus too much on one or the other, and bouncing back and forth can be painful. Life is meant to be lived. There is nothing we can avoid; everything must be lived through and eventually outgrown. One never outgrows the basic, selfish wants and needs, (there are 2 other posts that explain “selfish” “wants” and “needs”) but one does grow and changes the ways one satisfies and gratifies those wants and needs and may change the magnitude of those wants/needs. One must embrace life fully and be fully present while engaging all the realities in life (see the posts on “realities”), while at the same time, fully embracing the metaphysical realm and the Ttruth there. (Another post defines “Ttruth”) There is a completeness and wholeness in the metaphysical realm that is sublime, peaceful and joyous. Not “happy” (see posts on happiness and “the tao of skate” post), but deeply peaceful and joyous. Leaving this realm and engaging the physical realm can be painful. The Tao Te Ching says “keeping to the main road is easy, but people love to be sidetracked.” Maybe leaving the metaphysical realm at all is a sign that one needs more growth. I realize there is a fine line here that must be drawn and walked. Ultimately, the metaphysical and physical sort-of merge in that one sees the metaphysical in the physical and although one relates to the physical, one never loses sight of the metaphysical. Said another way, one relates to the metaphysical via the physical. “The 10,000 things carry yin and embrace yang.” We can never lose sight of either. My path has involved times where I have had to focus on the physical realm and focused less so on the metaphysical and times when I’ve forgotten the physical as I’ve focused on the metaphysical. So when I describe “bouncing back and forth” as “painful,” it’s very likely this is not ultimately how an enlightened one sees it. I don’t think there are any enlightened ones looking for Truth on this blog (not that it’s not a Truthful blog, it is Truthful) and I also know all of us intending for spiritual growth will likely experience what I am describing here, so the pain of bouncing back and forth is a valid point.
This point comes into specific relief for me in two ways: romantic relationships and jobs. It all comes down to how much meaning it’s appropriate to project or see into these two areas of life. I have legitimate selfish wants/needs for both, but how I gratify/satisfy those wants/needs is the issue and an indication of my level of development. I have had very profound experiences of the completeness and wholeness of a deep connection with TFB (truth-force-being or God, see other posts). One time was so powerful, I realized how Christ must have felt. I may post on this another time, but you simply cannot imagine the utter peace and joy he experienced every moment. It was like being dead and yet alive. Death is so permanent-feeling. When your number is called, you will be surprised how final it is. There is nothing you’ve ever experienced, as FINAL as the call by death. (I know this from a dream, when I died, and that may be the subject of another post) But Christ felt this finality in a very positive, wonderful way. He was utterly, totally, completely, at peace, as if he was dead, and yet he was alive and utterly, totally and completely joyous. There was nothing the EW (external world- see other posts for definition) could offer him. The world held nothing for him. The most he could do was teach and heal. That’s all the meaning he could get. This was all the meaning he wanted, anyway. He was filled with the holy spirit. He felt it from his toes to his lips. Anyway, when you experience this type of profound connection to TFB, you lose interest in things that before were deeply important or meaningful. So I have spent a lot of time, not being concerned for my career or money, or not needing a relationship with a girl, or romantic love. The problem comes when, for whatever reason, I shift gears back into the EW or the physical realm and lose the peace and joy of the metaphysical connection. You see, ultimately, you have to choose one over the other. Most of us choose the physical because we don’t even know there’s a choice. Even if I look for romantic love and find it, I still see it through the lens of the metaphysical. I see it as an opportunity to experience a joyous reality and gift of living, but I also see it as an opportunity for growth. Hopefully I’ve described a little of the pain and ‘trickiness’ of going back and forth between the metaphysical and the physical. I doubt it’s anything anyone can skip over on their path towards enlightenment or realizing the way as Taoists put it. Walking with one foot in the physical and the other in the metaphysical requires one to reconcile these two realms.
So I feel a want/need to do something for money that makes sense and feels right; to engage a vocation rather than just a job. I also feel a want/need to be financially secure, which is something I wasn’t concerned about until a couple years ago. I also love girls and would love a relationship with someone special, which is something I’ve realized isn’t necessary for me to do, in order to grow spiritually, i.e. realize the way and achieve immortality. I could intend to not worry about a vocation or romantic relationship and focus on the metaphysical world and my inner work, but Taoism teaches integration and sublimation as well as non-reification. So long as I feel an authentic (sincere) want/need for a romantic relationship and a vocation, I must (necessity) respond to it. My challenge is I have wavered on feeling a want/need for these things. Sometimes I have and other times I haven’t. I’ve concluded personally, that I must integrate the physical and metaphysical on these two things as the downside risk of ignoring them and hoping when I die that I won’t have any regrets is too great. So long as I know I can complete my spiritual work while engaging these two realities (which I can), I must do so.
Remember that every challenge is a lesson that contains an experience and resultant perceptions/attitudes that change the way you relate and your WOB (way of being- see another post for definition). Remember that ultimately, we are “here” (perceive ourselves as physical) in order to learn to relate to ourselves and the EW and related realities in a certain way, first positively and then via emptiness. Part of growth is changing one’s “worldview” and seeing life as much as an opportunity for growth as it is anything else. There are several main stages to growth which I believe I outlined in another post. If not, leave a comment and I’ll make sure to post them.
It’s very likely that others may not feel this push-pull between the physical and metaphysical as strongly as I have. Notwithstanding their level of development, they still may not feel it as strongly because they may simply be different than me. In my astrological chart, (natal charts and astrology is the subject of another post on “the who context”) I have a lot of conflict or opposing forces. While everyone has some, they may not have as much as me, or as much as I do regarding spirituality. In any event, everyone with spiritual intentions will have to learn to walk in the metaphysical and physical realm and reconcile these two realms. Hopefully, some of this helps.