There is a piece of equipment in a gym called a treadmill. People use it to keep fit. But there is another meaning to this word. It’s a large wheel driven by people or animals to make machinery work.
When I was working I moved things around. Usually bits of paper. Sometimes people. Occasionally bits of machinery. I was part of a machine. Not made of metal. Or powered by electricity. I was part of a human machine. We all kept the treadmill turning to churn out outcomes, outputs, results. It was very hard for me to escape the machine. I kept wanting to put myself back on the treadmill. Even when it was toxic for me. It was an addiction I couldn’t seem to give up. My drug of choice was money. Because I believe that I had to work hard, get paid and spend that income on keeping myself from starvation and homelessness.
I bought into these ideas because I had no other ideas. No realisation that there could be any other way of life. The treadmill nearly killed me. And that’s how I managed to step off. I walked away from the machine. During the time when I was flailing around wondering what to do next I started to pay more attention to my spiritual journey. I read and read. Drawing inspiration and ideas from many sources. There were many suggested ways that I could go forward. Lots of people had apparently found the way to perfect peace and joy in their lives. All I had to do was choose. That’s when I stepped onto a different treadmill. The machine of spirituality.
I know many people find it hard to consider that spirituality has become another treadmill. But I spent time, money and effort going from one thing to another expecting each time that I would find the perfect life.
It was the same as when I was working. Lots of conflicting suggestions, all sorts of outcomes and no clear focus to my ‘work’. It took me quite a while to process all the information. But one day I noticed that spirituality is only possible when lived in the real world. That I and everyone else had to make choices moment to moment to live as a Spirit in a human body. And my first choice was to get off this new treadmill. To decide I had to act only for myself. That my first act needed to be a recognition of the way I had been hooked in once again. I had to face my inner world. The world that seemed to rely on a ‘machine’ for safety. What was wrong with being outside the machine?
In a sense I was fighting with that saying ‘Old habits die hard’. Moving from the familiar to the unknown is a huge step off a cliff. As the unknown rushed to meet me there was a reflex grab for the safe and known. So back to turning the hamster wheel even harder. Except I found that I recognised much quicker that being responsible for my self was the true freedom. That my Spirit would guide and support my efforts to live a more spiritually focused life. Now I resist the pull of the treadmill. I have become used to recognising the familiar ‘concerns’ that my Ego mind throws at me. I am getting better at facing the fear and the drag of the machine. I’m sure that one day I will be free of the endless, enclosed circle of a ‘safe’ life.
For now I am a work in progress. Determined to stay off the treadmill. Taking every step away that I can. But realistic enough to know that the temptation is still around. Whenever I dither about a decision, or change, or what is best I know I have to steer myself in my own direction. And refuse the treadmill.
Day 493 of my blogging challenge.