The most valuable "spiritual" work is learning to love our humanness... Our human-mess. Too many seekers yearn for the light and have an aversion to the darkness. Thus, The Spirit-Matter Split. We get caught in the trap of thinking some parts of ourselves are "spiritual" and other parts are "not-spiritual"... Not divine, not part of G-d.
We feel that when all the darkness, ugliness, and hate have disappeared... When all the barriers, challenges, habitual patterns have finally vanished and permanently left us alone... Then we'll be in the light, and be our true, whole selves. In this we miss the gift of the brokenness. We fail to see that the human journey IS the soul's journey... They're not separate.
I love this phrase I've been hearing so much lately: What's in the way is the way. The cause of so much violence in the world is because we are trying to make "the way" something that is other than our present lives and the world we live in... We keep trying to get somewhere else rather than loving - as seemingly impossible as it may be - exactly where we are and who we are.
Over the past several thousand years we've been continuously conditioned to push away the gift of the brokenness, and it's killing us.
Though, I don't blame us... The world we live in is a scary and terror-filled place. As a "solution", old-paradigm spirituality has been speaking and teaching to our desire to transcend... to get off this earth to some "other" heavenly spiritual realm. Well, it ain't gonna happen folks... At least not for a long time, way off in our future spiritual evolution. That's elderhood... And we're still adolescents. You can't tear the skin off a snake... it has to shed naturally, over time.
The true gift of spiritual practice and spiritual counseling is the alchemy that happens when you turn the places you fear, avoid, and numb from into your spiritual practice, into the motivating forces in your life. There comes a point, after much practice, that you may start to actually seek these places... Because you've realized they are the reason you are here. They are your purpose and your gift to the world. Transforming darkness into light. Making love with the shadow.