Between the murky banks of our preconceived concepts and our karmic liabilities, the river of life runs deep and wide. And its perils include every obstacle that hinders our evolution towards the ultimate consciousness.
At every bridge and potential crossing, we are beset by confusion and fear, always doubtful of our success, as we journey across the treacherous divide. Decisions become arbitrary and lacking in confidence because clarity is elusive, so we question ourselves at every step even as we desperately try to assess our own situation.
And yet, coming up with solutions to someone else’s problems is a completely different story. Those answers surprisingly come quickly to mind – often bordering on the obvious as they roll off the tongue so readily, by way of counsel and advice. It is a strange phenomenon that we can have such insight into someone else’s problems so easily, and make tough decisions on their behalf so effortlessly, yet are unable to do the same for ourselves.
Mystic wisdom explains the reason for this phenomenon – it is the shoes that we wear.
To be more precise, it is our attachment to the constant experience of living exclusively ‘in our own shoes’. It is our inability to look beyond our immediate sphere of existence. We are submerged in life and all its mundane problems; a twenty-four seven experience, engaging us physically and mentally to the degree that leaves no room for the most important aspect of existence – our spiritual side.
Life appears to be fully immersive. But it is not, if we practise the key element of Sant Mat teachings – the one simple exercise of trying to step out of our shoes; of detaching ourselves from our habitual attachments, our concepts and notions, and even our physical world; detachment that is free of emotional baggage and past prejudices, free even from the comfort zones of our physical and mental spaces where we have lived from birth.
Such detachment is the key to transcending this paltry existence of pain and pleasure. It is the fundamental formula of every perfect Master – they speak, think and live it. And through it, they teach their disciples the true path of self-realization.
Stepping out of our own shoes gives us the ability to do the one thing that only a human being can do: step into another person’s shoes, and understand his problems with real depth and sensitivity. We become open to different perspectives, and we learn to accept new points of view that we probably never imagined possible in the past.
The profound act of putting ourselves in someone else’s situation, and to share their suffering, is an important part of our evolution as caring, gentle humane beings. And it is this evolution that triggers the beginning of our final voyage on the spiritual path, the journey of transformation, where nothing can accompany with us – not even the shoes on our feet.