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An Accelerated Path

click here for a free psychic reading at PsychicAccess.comMany people come to me after years, sometimes decades, of trying everything else: Astrology, Numerology, Genetics, Past Life Regression, therapy, and so on. Years of being understood, validated, affirmed, and being told narratives regarding why they are the way they are, did not bring them all the answers.

There is worth in all of the above practices, both in Psychology and Spirituality, or Metaphysics. However, growth requires challenge, and we are now in a ‘feel good’ culture, where if anyone gets upset, there is the potential of backlash, or even a lawsuit.

In the 1960s there was an amazing education role play called Brown Eyes, developed by an elementary school teacher. You can look up the video online, as well as the reunion footage years later with the kids, who are now adults. The game created a scenario in which children, and later also adults, were able to experience the profound effects of discrimination, prejudice and racism.

However, teachers were eventually sued for doing this role play in class, because of the emotional upset caused by the experience. Of course, the role play was not upsetting to the minority children who experienced the discrimination and prejudice all the time in their daily lives.

The point is, if you upset people you often run the risk of some sort of backlash, legal action, or worse. One of the problems with this restraint is that in profound healing, people do get upset, profoundly upset! And since this has now become precarious territory in our modern culture… healers, teachers, therapists, counselors are more likely to back off. They have to in order to survive in their field of work – and not only to survive, but also to thrive. Offering love, support, hope,, motivation, affirmation, and most of all ‘cool’ narratives with easy answers, will ensure a steady supply of clients and students. This is true today for many belief systems and popular practices, as well as for cults.

Spiritual opening is not a withdrawal to some imagined realm or safe cave. It is not a pulling away, but a touching of all the experience of life with wisdom and with a heart of kindness, without any separation ~ Jack Kornfield

The predominant practices today, in both the mainstream and alternative fields, all tend to feature support, love, gentle coaching, motivation, hope. And all of these practices are wonderful, but at some point you will have to learn to internalize all of these skills, instead of constantly receiving outside validation – just like at some point in development children need to learn to ‘self soothe.’

Eastern spiritual practices, which I prefer in my work, are different. Eastern spirituality pursues soul evolution, and is not so much interested in helping students gain material wealth, new age careers, or merely ‘feeling good’ as an outcome.  Students of these traditions are challenged to embrace all aspects of their life, and to strive to break through to higher levels of awareness and enlightenment.

All growth on Earth, in the material world, takes effort. The birth of a plant requires busting through the hard outer shell, reaching through earth to the surface, to the Sun. In fact, some seeds only propagate after a fire. Similarly, baby animals break out of their eggshells. Even the birth canal is a journey with challenge, as is the first breath, or having to get up on your feet to survive, or crawl to find a nipple to feed. Birth and growth is not handed with easy comfort to any living being.

My students are taught to accept, and even welcome challenge: the challenge of looking into your own shadows, becoming brave enough to be congruent, telling the truth and facing your own reactions, because it is only from that work that you can you truly move forward. If you have not taken on the healing of your past, and if you are busy avoiding your present, the future will confront you forcing you to learn your lessons. If you take on your current, actual reality, you are showing Source that you are learning your lessons, and you are willing to grow. Only then can your future, your evolution, proceed.

Spiritual development is not an accomplishment but a way of life. It is an orientation that brings its own rewards, and what is important is the direction of one’s motives ~ David R. Hawkins

In the Eastern tradition, students are also expected to be independent thinkers – neither rebellious, nor compliant. They must able to connect internally to the Higher Self and to Source, typically through the strong foundation of meditation, in order to have the strength and courage to continue their own development.

Obedience or subservience to a teacher or guru is typically a pre-requisite for a cult. However reactionary rebelliousness to a spiritual teacher will also not get you far. Whenever you ‘react,’ it means you have been triggered. Some old wound has been touched or hurt, and you react, blindly, which is never a good choice. An Eastern teacher will vibrate between offering teachings, encouragement and support, and stirring up your reactionary, unhealed self. Their students are challenged to stand on their own, and find their own cultivation and connection.

It is up to you to find the balance when working with a spiritual teacher. Some people prefer to be told what to do, and then do what they are told, so they can get an outcome. This makes them very susceptible to cults. Cult leaders take advantage of building such narratives, in order to suck you in and convince you to stay, because if you just keep doing what you are told, your life will get better. And maybe your life will get better superficially, but that will not apply to your actual spiritual evolution.

Eastern teachers do not try to make you stay with them. In fact, you will often get mad or confused when studying with an Eastern teacher. This, if nothing else, should convince you of that teacher’s love for you and their commitment to your growth. Your allegiance to the teacher, which is cult material, should never be a priority.

Eastern Teachings are for enlightenment. Western teachings are so this life will ‘get better’ or ‘make sense.’ Modern Western teachings often involve great narratives or stories, which you can tell others, and yourself. Eastern teachings make the lessons bigger, and sometimes more extreme, so you learn faster and with more clarity.

Give yourself permission to see and feel the extraordinary events in your own life. In internalizing them, you also will find your perspective about life and its meaning will change, resulting in growth and expansion of your soul ~ Susan Barbara Apollon

You are also responsible for soothing your own emotions, motivating yourself, finding your hope, and feeling loved by yourself and Spirit. The strength you develop in order to negotiate the offerings of your spiritual teacher will be your strengths in developing your Self and your Soul.

One of the most famous Dharma stories in Tibetan Buddhism is the life of the Twelfth Century Yogi, Milarepa. The life story of this famous teacher, demonstrates the ‘rapid method’ of the Tantric path, in which liberation is gained in just one lifetime. Perhaps the most quoted part of his tale, is the ordeal that his guru, Marpa, put him through before he accepted him as a student.

When Milarepa met Marpa, he was already an accomplished spiritual and magical being. But Marpa gave Milarepa a series of exhausting and seemingly irrelevant tasks to do, and when Milarepa asked for the teachings, he would abuse Milarepa, verbally and physically. Marpa told Milarepa to construct a tower for him, and did everything he could to make himself appear as untrustworthy as possible. Not only were his instructions difficult and exhausting, they were given in manner that made Marpa himself seem capricious and unreliable.

Four times he told Milarepa to tear the tower down and rebuild it. Even after Milarepa had finally finished the tower, Marpa still refused to keep his side of the bargain, demanding additional gifts in return. At this point Milarepa realized that total obedience was not going to get him the teachings!

Marpa then told Milarepa that he had always had every intention of accepting Milarepa as a student, and that the ordeals Milarepa had gone through, were a necessary preliminary to the teachings he had now shown himself worthy to receive.

Spiritual maturity is measured in terms of persevering faith, not perfect behavior ~ Andy Stanley

The interpretation of Marpa’s strategy is this: Marpa was not trying to teach Milarepa to surrender, he was trying to teach Milarepa to rebel. Once Milarepa had disobeyed Marpa, he was in the right state of mind to receive the teachings, and that was why he began teaching him at that time. It thus seems plausible to interpret Marpa’s commands to Milarepa as attempts to make him rebel against or question Marpa; to teach him that unthinking obedience was what he needed to overcome in himself.

After that, Marpa and Milarepa began working together. Milarepa was certainly diligent and respectful, but it was also clear that he had finally learned to think for himself, when necessary. Before he started receiving teachings, he obeyed all of Marpa’s ridiculous and contradictory commands to the letter. After he started receiving the teachings, he frequently altered Marpa’s commands slightly, and Marpa praises him for doing so.

The understanding here is that these actions by Marpa were needed in order to get Milarepa past his stuck point of being an obedient student. Milarepa was convinced that being obedient, and a ‘good student,’ is what he needed to do to progress on his path, when in fact it was one of the main obstacles holding back his development. This could, however, not be explained to him. Milarepa had to go through an actual experience for himself and come to the insight by his own efforts. This teaching experience was orchestrated brilliantly by his teacher Marpa, to get him across that threshold.

Eastern practices are not for everyone. They are accelerated and intense, with the focus on spiritual evolution. The famous teaching story of Milarepa and Marpa are not intended to convince you to ‘suffer abuse’ from a teacher, it is to understand the extremes a truly dedicated teacher and their student must sometimes go to, in order break out of a belief system the student has been unconsciously conditioned to accept at all cost.

To regret one’s own experiences is to arrest one’s own development. To deny one’s own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one’s own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul ~ Oscar Wilde

Some of my students come to me after reading many books on spirituality, and attending many workshops and seminars. These students tend to come to be a ‘good student,’ and work hard to anticipate what is ‘required’ of them to be considered ‘good,’ with the hopes of making real progress. If you try to point this out to them, they typically cannot see their own behavior, or their entrenched belief system. Therefore, it has to be shown to them through experiences, which they might describe at first as ‘unpleasant.’

Having core coping mechanisms and belief systems, which are now dysfunctional for where you are at and where you want to go, shaken up and deconstructed, can be terrifying. This is especially true in a culture that worships unconditional love, pampered support, positive affirmations, and so on, above any uncomfortable, real feelings or situations. Yet, all learning is just that: uncomfortable, challenging, and filled with mistakes… with each iota of progress gained. It is also exhilarating! It is a rebirth, a new lease, a new freedom filled with love for yourself, your efforts and a teacher who did not back down from the challenges of helping you to grow.

About The Author: Nonna

Nonna lives in Southern California, and is a professor of psychology and a teacher of psychic development, energy work and meditation, who has recently finished her PhD. She has been a counselor for both humans and animals for thirty years, removing energy blocks through her expertise in the spiritual arts. She also has numerous years of study and practice with classic psychological therapeutic models, family work, twelve-step processes, nutritional and body/mind/spirit healing, complementary, alternative, and quantum medicine. Nonna is brilliant at unearthing the gems in every client's soul and polishing them to a fine finish. To release your own soul's sparkle, contact Nonna at

One Response to An Accelerated Path

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