“The course of true love never did run smooth.“–Midsummer Night’s Dream
The fourth step of the Hero’s Journey is called the “Road of Trials.”
This is basically everything that the character does to bridge the gap from where they ARE to where they want to BE.
In my own life, I was alone, broke, and overweight. Living in that one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver, Washington. In order for me to prepare myself to meet and bond with my eventual Soulmate.
I had taken one major action: met the girl of my dreams and actually lucked my way into dating her. I had figured out two of the major flaws that kept me from being on the level of the woman I desired. One was that I had lost my spiritual center. It hit me hard, but I couldn’t deny it was true: I had stopped meditating, cut myself off from the source of love and deep energy in my life. Probably one of the reasons I was so attracted to this amazing woman: she HAD that energy. I was at risk of being a vampire, because I didn’t have my own source.
I asked “what should I do?” and came to a decision: the spiritual guru I’d studied with, had a group of followers up in Seattle. I could connect with them, and hopefully re-center myself.
I called them and it turned out that they met every Sunday to work in the kitchen of a restaurant they owned, and also play and congregate. With a heart full of hope, I drove from Vancouver to Seattle, smiling and singing.
The people were gentle, sweet, loving, filled with light and joy. If the guys seemed a little “yin” to me, and the women just a little…bland? No makeup, no “flirt” energy…oh well, that was fine. Maybe I was seeing something important, right?
We cleaned the kitchen, served and cooked food, and played vollyball. Great, great time. And after, we had a feast. I was so happy, felt at home, felt my spiritual heart opening. Everyone was talking about their plans for the week. Someone asked me about my own life.
And I said that I was feeling great, and that on the way home, I was thinking of stopping to see a woman I knew, very attractive, and that I was feeling optimistic about the potential connection…
And the room went SILENT. Boom. Dead. People gave me the side-eye and edged away from me. WTF?
Slowly, the sound in the room picked back up again, but people weren’t talking to me. One of the seniors came up to me and asked if they could speak to me outside for a moment. I said sure.
My stomach was filled with butterflies. What was going on? The guy looked embarrassed. “Steve…” he said. “Didn’t anyone tell you that Guru wants us to be celebate?”
If you had dropped me off a ladder onto my head, I couldn’t have seen more stars. Oh CRAP! THAT was the energy I’d been seeing. And no, no one had said a thing to me, nor was it stated in any of the books or videos or lectures I’d seen and heard. I instantly “got it”: these people, radiating a spiritual energy, were balanced in the male-female sense within themselves. Heterosexual relationships are about creating that balance between two people. In THAT sense, from THAT perspective, the more balanced you are, the less energy there is for sexuality to release!
I was devastated. Here was the greatest spiritual path I’d ever found, and it wasn’t for me. Why? Because I am a sexual creature. That’s just the truth. And my attitude is that if God didn’t want me to have sex, he would simply take away my ability to physically respond, if you know what I mean and if you’re an adult I think you do.
Confused, disappointed, but just a critical bit enlightened, I realized that I had a challenge: to simultaneously open and deepen my spirituality AND stay connected to my sensual and sexual energy.
I had made a commitment to a journey (find love)
Along it I had learned I needed to grow (enhanced spirituality) to be an appropriate partner for the kind of woman I desired
I connected with my past spiritual path (driving to Seattle)
And discovered that it was no longer appropriate for me.
Was it ever? I saw it was. That there was a reason I’d not been told about the celibacy: because I needed something from it, a glimpse of something very special, which the Guru really did possess. What I needed was to find that same energy while walking a path of loving connection to another human being.
I needed to find a new balance, something I’d never found. Something I wasn’t even totally certain existed. But…others had found it. I believed that with all my heart.
So it was out there. And driving south that night, angry and frightened and more aware, I swore I would find that balance, a way to be centered in the divine without losing my fleshly hungers. There HAD to be a way for all those things to balance.
What seemed true was that I wasn’t going to be able to follow a clearly marked path. My journey was MINE. The masters had left clues, bread-crumbs, but no clear path for someone like me. And realized that it was possible that this is just the way of life: if you are to live authentically, eventually you reach the end of the marked path, and must travel alone…for a while.
And with faith I proceeded, alone, and began to learn the lessons I seeked, and get the results I craved, until I was ready to emerge from the forest onto the path…where I found another soul who had been wandering, and we joined hands.
The road of trials. You will have your own journey. I can speak of mine. And you can talk to others and get their perspective. But ultimately…you will walk alone, at least for a while.
Make your peace with that, and the rest is, if not easy, as natural as putting one foot ahead of the other.
Love yourself…and share the love!