October 6, 2007

After more than two decades of working intensively with men and women who claim to want to transform and develop spiritually, I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the reasons it is so challenging for us to attain and sustain higher levels of spiritual development is that we expect so much and are willing to give so little in order to get what we think we want. The truth is, it’s hard to be happy. These days, it’s become almost a truism that simply fulfilling our narcissistic and materialistic desires will not necessarily make us truly happy. But how many of us have really dug deeply enough to reconfigure our own ideas of what happiness means in light of a higher set of values than those held by our crazy culture? For our values to change in a way that is nothing less than dramatic, we have to be willing to make a hell of a lot of effort. More and more of us are turning to the spiritual dimensions of life. But it is telling that many of the most popular expressions of postmodern spirituality are based on a philosophical perspective that encourages us to pursue the promise of effortless peace, happiness, and release rather than an engagement with the life process that would always require more from us.

… And why is it that so many of us presume that we deserve to be happy in the first place? What is it that we have actually done to give us such innate privilege?

– Andrew Cohen

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