A spiritual path sometimes sucks

Seseh, Bali, Indonesia.

I don’t know what to say or how to say it. On the one hand I feel transparent, on the other disenchanted. I feel like I want to cry but I can’t. I feel open and at the same time I feel numb.

I have an app on my iPhone that is called Insight Timer. You can use it to time your meditation. It has all kinds of different bells and it keeps track of your meditation history. I have done 426 sessions with in total 234 hours and 59 minutes of meditation with the app. I probably sat for about 3 hours today. You know how many interesting and – more importantly – lasting insights or experiences I had on my meditation cushion? 0. Nothing. Zero. And I don’t mean today, I mean in the whole of my history with the app.

I am so utterly and completely done with being half cooked. I am so done with watching the same thoughts and hearing the same stupid voice inside my head. I am done with going through the same patterns, stumbling into the same pitfalls. Why can’t I just move on? I get a taste of beautiful states of mind and fall back again. One day I feel in love with life and I fall back. The next day I can see I am really blessed even given the imperfections. But now, today, I am just done with it.

A feeling washed over me when I sat on the beach to meditate: I will never make it. I will never truly heal myself. I will never have a happy relationship. I will never become ‘good enough’. Nobody wants to spend her life with me. I can spend 40 more years doing yoga, practicing zen, do morning kryas, sun salutations, write, do healing sessions in sacred springs and whatever the fuck else I am doing but the prize won’t come.

I know the feeling, I know the source, I can see how it is entangling me, I know how it entangled me before and I know it is an illusion of the mind. I know how it feels to be completely free from it. But still: it is here. Again.

This path is making me desperate. I have a confession to make: every morning I have to fight myself into the day. I always wake up with a lump in my stomach and I always have to make an effort to turn it around. The vast majority of the days I manage to make my day into a good day but it is never without effort. Another confession: the spiritual path also comes with uncomfortable and weird symptoms. Right now there are two chakras hurting, one of them the root chakra. It feels literally as if I have been kicked in the balls. The other one feels as having been hit in the stomach. Nice huh?

I know this path is about dying and that my ego has to die thoroughly. I have passed the point of no return long ago. But can’t it be done more quickly? Just get it over with, don’t leave me hanging here.

I want to give up. I want a way out. I want to wave the white flag. I want to surrender and the battle to stop.

Yes, I can tell you what the upside is too. It is very humbling to have the rug pulled from underneath myself over and over again. It teaches not to underestimate the persisting nature of our patterns. It brings a lot of space for forgiveness of others. It is hard to change the energy of suffering. I might be able to observe it, to be honest about it and not to blame others for it – which is huge progress – I still have to feel it.

Yesterday we went to the sacred springs of Tirta Empul. A Balinese healer took us through the ritual. It is truly mind-blowing. I still consider myself not the most sensitive person in the world but not feeling the energy of the place is impossible. The healer mentioned casually how strong the energy was at the place where the water came out of the ground. When I stretched out my hands it was almost as if I leaned against a magnetic wall. Tomorrow we will go meet the Rishi, the most holy woman on the island, during the Galungan, the most holy day of the year. You can compare that with meeting the Dalai Lama on Tibetan New Year. The fortune I am having to meet special people on special occasions is absurd.

I am cleansed and stretched and healed and blessed. Many amazing people are helping me, pushing me and encouraging me. Please let the final push be near.


  1. Bas says

    I always find it difficult seeing pictures of myself; on one I think I look better than in real life (or I try to) and on an other I think I completely suck. With other people I’m less judgemental (about their pictures), but can see a similar pattern.
    The picture I see below this post, of you in the water, shows me a very rare sight; I see you, Atalwin.
    Now I wish I could make a very intelligent, meaningful, non-“open door” or perhaps even funny connection with the post you wrote, but I’m sorry that’s not coming up…
    So I’ll leave it at: it’s good to see you!

  2. a_maybe- says

    dear tulip,
    as you already know you are a tulip. (I still don’t know…)
    I’m grateful for your honesty to publish your thoughts, emotions and frustrations, which you can describe so clearly! It helps me a lot and opens my heart. I can feel with you, although I don’t feel to be gone that far in my path, not even to have the perseverance you now have keeping on your path. It’s frustrating to do just little steps, if you expect to fly. It’s frustrating not being able to stop thinking. Maybe your steps are bigger than you think, but you are not able to see it.
    A warm hug m*

  3. Pausha says

    Brooks, the wizard, my teacher and ally, used to say this about spiritual way:

    the traditional spiritual path, as well as the way of psychology, is to heal the pain, clear the trauma over years and years of practice until the noise goes down enough, and the space is clear enough, for us to see who we are: god, creator, designer, the artist of our life.

    Another way is to see who we are first, and then heal the trauma. God can heal the trauma in an eye blink, unlike a broken, imperfect human. When we are what we are trauma and pain leave spontaneously, heal spontaneously, simply because we are present as what we are.

  4. Dana says

    Only now exists. We are anticipating the wonderfulness and perfection of what will be when we reach the end of the journey in the future, forgetting that all the while the journey itself is wonderful perfection. I long for the ability to appreciate each step as if it were the end itself because every step is a success. With that all said…I still feel as you do, significant discomfort in the present and I just want it fixed. I want the relief. Ready to move on and start to love life the way I am meant to love it. Meanwhile, I ask myself how I can make the best use of my present, and what is lesson I am meant to learn that is keeping me here in this step.

  5. Dana says

    P.S. With much love I also add… Nice pity party. Do you feel a little better to get all that shit off your chest and out of your mind so you can keep moving on?? I think you needed to vent!! BIG hug to you!

  6. mark Schmanko says

    Hi Atalwin,
    Thank you for this genuine and transparent and moving blog. I’d like to speak with you sometime.
    all good things,

  7. Holly says

    Mmmm…i loved this post. “I will never make it. I will never truly heal myself. I will never have a happy relationship. I will never become ‘good enough’”…such an insight and full of truth! Die and be quiet…it’s so attractive (especially to women) 😉 xx

  8. Eduard says

    Hoi Atalwin, ik heb je stukjes van boven naar beneden gelezen…, dus ik weet al dat je je al weer stukken beter voelt…, dat is fijn. Ik lees in dit stuk dat en dat komt vaker terug dat je diep van binnen soms nog denkt dat je niet goed genoeg bent. Daar kan ik je niet anders mee helpen dan zeggen dat ik je een mooi mens vind. Ik respecteer ook enorm zoals je je eigen demonen durft aan te gaan. Maar zoals je zelf ook al schreef in het eerste stuk. We zijn allemaal perfect zoals we zijn in dit moment. Ja precies :”it’s all good” 😉
    Ook treft het me dat je vaker laat horen dat je ‘bang’ bent dat je geen vrouw meer zal tegen komen die onvoorwaardelijk van je zal houden. Herkenbaar tot op zekere hoogte. Bij mij heerst gek genoeg momenteel eerder het gevoel.., de angst, dat ik niet meer iemand zal tegenkomen die ik onvoorwaardelijk zou kunnen liefhebben. Ik herken een patroon bij mezelf, want ik voel ook niet dat ik mezelf weer helemaal zou kunnen verliezen of overgeven aan een baan of werk. Ik zie dus ook wel dat ik gewoon een beetje murf[?] ben door de stress en diepe angsten waar ik door heen ben gegaan de laatste twee jaar. Maar ik zie ook nog iets anders en probeer dit naar gevoel te vertalen. Aan de basis staat de wens, het verlangen naar verbinding…, en daarna de angst dat die ene heilige verbinding dus niet gegunt is. Bij mij…, met behulp van mijn psychologe ben ik gaan inzien dat ik de verbinding met ‘kleine Ed’ heb afgesloten lang, lang geleden. Door beverbinding te herstellen met mezelf, de kleine kwetsbare Ed….., maar ook dat onschuldige en vrolijke kind, kan ik weer heel worden. En naar mijn overtuiging en grappig genoeg ook die van mijn psychologe [het enige moment dat zij zich heeft laten verleiden tot een persoonlijke menig ;-)] Is die grote Ed van nu vele malen mooier, sterker en liever wanneer die geïntegreerd is met kleine Ed. Enfin dit is waar ik nu ben en al zijn we niet het zelfde, het meest persoonlijke is wel vaak universeel, dus wellicht helpt het je bij het heel worden om het ook daar te zoeken naast je spirituele zoektocht, doel. Heel veel liefs! Vooralsnog ziet het er niet naar uit dat ik je ga opzoeken in Colombia op dit moment kies ik voor mijn opleiding. Ik leef heel gezond momenteel…, geen vlees, alcohol, koffie of suikers en wel studeren, rusten, yoga, meditatie en sporten. Man het voelt zo goed om uit een twee jarige depressie te ontwaken!!! Ik kwam laatst Willemijn tegen tijdens het hardlopen [10 km 😉 ] en het raakte me veel minder dan dat ik bang voor was geweest. En dat voelde ook goed. Lees goed is zeg niet dat het me niets deed maar juist het gevoel dat ik het aan kon gaf me lift. Het komt goed zowel met jou als met mij…, beter nog het is al goed. Ik dank je weer voor je post’s en ik zat me eigenlijk net te bedenken dat je straks bij thuiskomst wellicht al van al deze stukjes en de mooie foto’s op zich zelf al een leuk boekje kan maken. Van een mens opzoek naar zichzelf in een reis van 365 dagen. elke dag een stukje met een mooie foto. Wellicht kan je nog wat er omheen schrijven en iets minder foto’s van je zelf 😉 en wat mij betreft vertaald in het Nederlands…., but that’s me…, sprak hij in het Engels… ga je goed vriend. Love Ed

  9. Justyna says

    “I will never make it. I will never truly heal myself. I will never have a happy relationship. I will never become ‘good enough’. Nobody wants to spend her life with me.” I say those lies to myself as well… A reminder that there’s still a lot to heal… But ,deep down, I know that I am not these thoughts and that everything passes. It’s tough being on that path, but what kind of warrior has it easy? The path of a warrior implies there will be obstacles to overcome. Have faith in your warrior spirit because you are this warrior! Otherwise there would be no obstacles! 🙂 I feel like shit today too, lots of fears came over me, eating me alive.. But I trust in me, in my basic goodness, and love in my heart that one day I’ll look those fears straight in the eye and say “eat me” Be well my fellow warrior, or not be well, or just be. much love J.

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