Someone wrote to me sharing how their life is getting more difficult and how it makes them question the wisdom of pursuing the path of inquiry. Here is my response:
There is no formula to spiritual enlightenment. It is OK to just let things fall apart, and it is OK to do something to make something better. You do learn and unfold in either case.
We had a Harvard researcher here the other day who is studying nondual awareness. In telling us how he got into studying it he described how he had created a model for all the different spiritual practices and who they work for and who they don't work for. There were a few interesting points:
1-His model does not yet explain the deepest nondual states which is why he is now studying them.
2- Within duality, if someone does the correct spiritual practice for them, then their life seems to flow and everything works out well.
3-If they do the "wrong" spiritual practice for them their life starts to fall apart.
4-Even if they do the "right" practice for them, after a while it stops working and then if they keep doing it their life falls apart.
5- Often it is when someone's life falls apart that they drop into the deeper nondual places in their being, but even this is not a formula. Sometimes their life just falls apart until they stumble upon a different approach that is now right for them and their life starts to "work" again.
6-Again his model does not yet explain spiritual enlightenment or the nondual experience nor does it yet identify the "way" to get a spiritual awakening or what ways work and don't work for specific people.
This all suggests to me that at least for now, the deepest spiritual awakenings are still purely a matter of grace. And it also suggests to stay open and curious no matter what happens. Falling apart might be the best thing that ever happens to you, and it also does not hurt to try any process or spiritual practice to see if it allows your life to work again. He has also found people who gradually shifted from process to process that seemed to allow their life to work out well for them until they then dropped off into the nondual dimension.
Talk about no formula!