There are two important ideas to consider as you live your days. First, the most spiritual place on the Earth is right where you stand. This place can be more holy than any temple, any location or in the presence of any other person. It is where your heart is right now, and it is where God is strongest. At no time allow yourself to think that God's presence is stronger in any Church, on any mountain or in the presence of any King, Pastor, Priest or Pope.
Second, you cannot be enlightened when you are struggling with issues of survival. There is no disgrace in need, and there is no fault in your having to do things to provide for your own physical survival. It is simply a matter of fact: There is no way to enlighten yourself when you are struggling for survival.
So you have a number of things to consider here. If you choose to become enlightened, you must find a way to avoid the "fight for survival." There are many ways to do this. The "fight for survival" is a state of mind. So if you do not consider yourself to desperately require things in order to survive, then you will have avoided this "struggle." You can seek enlightenment while you live your life, and as you do the things required for your sustenance.
You may choose to provide for yourself in such a way as to afford a lot of extra time to dedicate to your spiritual enlightenment and for your peace of mind. Usually, when one decides to live this way, they eventually evolve into someone who lives always to avoid the "struggle." They begin to see the events of their lives - whether required for survival or not - as events that are happily endured and calmly performed.
But whatever method is chosen to live, you cannot think well about your relationship to God and to your fellow man while at the same time being worried about your next meal, or about your next business move or whether your nation will elect you in the next election. This worry is simply incompatible with open and intimate spiritual relations.
Another thing that interferes with enlightenment is predisposition and judgment of the differences in others. There are many different cultures, customs, living systems, and languages. Some of these are very different than your own. Even within one culture and between peoples of one language, there are widely varying living systems and customs. Do what you can to learn and understand the good things that others have to offer, without succumbing to fear and frustration because of your differences.
But do be honest with yourself. Without attack or criticism of another, be honest with them also. A false presentation helps no one. If you misrepresent yourself, others will be disappointed when they discover your true nature, and you will fail to draw near those whom relations with would be the most beneficial.
Comfortable information and honest compliments are easy to present to another. The difficult part is describing things that aren't so comfortable or things that you are unhappy with. The solution for presenting this type of information is to suggest humbly and with tact that you are uncomfortable or however it is that you honestly find yourself.
Remember always, that it is you who is having this conflict within yourself and that the other is free to be the person that they are. If you will remember this as you present yourself to another, you will not blame or criticize them. It will be easy to discuss your situation, and the other will be more likely to understand and perhaps reach out to you. This is the way to intimacy and understanding. It is also the way to blending and compromise that "feels" more like gain than loss.
All promises - in fact, most statements - are Spiritual Contracts. Whether in business, in marriage or just simple statements describing your wishes and thoughts, your words initiate "Spiritual Contracts." Some contracts are explicit, like a marriage or a business relationship. Others are implicit and more subtle, such as those formed when acquaintances make plans for mutual endeavors. Even your mannerisms and casual conversations communicate something about who you are to the world. It is natural that others will have expectations from you based on this subtle communication. So always present yourself honestly, and expect the consequences of your actions.
If you constantly succeed performing for those that have grown to depend on you, your relations with others will be good and you will be respected and grow happy. Most consequences of your actions will be enjoyable to you. If, on the other hand, you constantly fail others, they will grow to mistrust and perhaps resent you. You will only draw to yourself others that expect to be disappointed, and who also tend to disappoint others as well. You will find a world that appears to have no loyalty and no one who you can trust. This will have been the world you built for yourself.
So it is very important for you to find out exactly what you want from life. How can you present to the world who it is that you are if you don't know who that is? How can you honestly make a promise, if you don't really know what you want or what you are capable of doing? Those who make the mistake of trying to make Spiritual Promises before they know who they are, are doomed to constant disappointments in life. And remember that you are always sending at least small, subtle signals - small "Spiritual Contracts" - even if you try to avoid all commitments. So find out who it is you are and never cease to continually understand your own inner motives.
Avoid "spiritual irritants." People who seem to always bring conflict, and people who are combative and argumentative are examples of "spiritual irritants." Certain environments can be irritating, such as highly emotional religious or political organizations, particularly if they zealously promote an opinionated and biased agenda. Notice that these things may or may not be "wrong," but they may bring conflict within you. If you feel this sort of conflict, then avoid the situation.
You will grow more and more tolerant of such situations. But until you are really at this place, do not attempt to appear as though you are. Do not pretend to be tolerant when inside you are seething with anger or judgmentalism. Simply limit your participation in these environments until they do not cause you ill effects. How much can you afford these bad feelings?
In the same manner, do not attempt to "turn the other cheek." This phrase has been often misunderstood since it was first used. To "turn the other cheek" requires a spiritual advancement before it is appropriate. When used appropriately, it means that you understand the other person enough that their actions do not affect you. If you are affected by another in a negative sense, then you do not benefit them or yourself by allowing them to act inappropriately in your presence. You should immediately tell them what they do that offends you, followed by how you expect them to treat you and what they can expect from you in return.
You should never attack the other person or lecture them about their behavior. You should, however, tell them exactly how you feel - taking responsibility for your own feelings - And you should then tell them what behavior you will allow - again taking responsibility for setting your limits - And finally, you should provide them information about consequences - taking responsibility to let them know what they can expect from you in the future. What the other person chooses to do with this information is completely up to them. You have not tried to control their behavior and you have not tried to control their thoughts.
You should always be prepared for the consequences. If they fail to control themselves in a manner that you can be comfortable with, you may have to remove yourself from them. You must be prepared to take whatever steps you have described as "consequences." And you should also be prepared for the happy result that they may respond with greater respect for you and a desire to protect your relationship by considering your wishes.
Do not make such comments in an attempt to manipulate another. Do not tell someone, for example, that you do not like the way they speak when, in fact, it is past actions that offend you. Always state your position clearly. An example is if someone consistently attacks your choice of mate and you are offended by them. You may wish to tell them that you do not like these words and this criticism, and that if it continues then you will remove yourself from them, terminating your friendship. In this scenario, you should be prepared for the possibility that you may lose this person as a friend.
You also should refrain from saying this sort of thing if your motive is not as you say. For example, if the truth is that you are jealous because you know that your spouse and this friend have had relations in the past, then the truth is that it isn't really the words that offend you. While this may also be an issue, it is not the primary cause of your concern. There may be more complicated issues within you and you may wish to analyze your own inner motives before making any decisions or actions. So simply avoid "spiritual irritants" until you are in a position to honestly assess and deal with them.
Sometimes, believers are tempted to "endure" certain painful feelings and to help themselves with this "goal," they anesthetize themselves with alcohol or drugs. If you find things in your life are irritating enough to drive you to this kind of behavior, these feelings are there to tell you to change your environment or situation. You are to make these changes in the "real world," and not to "take your comfort" in alcohol and drugs. You are to act as described in this text, and not to take drugs to ease the pain. You may have to do some spiritual work, and the relief is not immediate. But it has the benefit of being permanent relief.
Another painful obsession is that with another person. Sometimes, intimacy is shattered in a way that causes us to think about another person in harmful ways. This doesn't necessarily mean that we wish bad things for someone whom we feel has betrayed us, although that may be the case. It may be that we fantasize about another person or about recreating happy memories. An intimate relationship can be shattered in many ways, and only some of these are by mistakes we have made. We may lose loved ones also in death, or by choosing intimacy with another who isn't completely available to us. Whatever the case, strive always to think clearly. See the truth of the situation, and rejoice for the good that was brought by the relationship. Try to maintain focus on what new good can be done today.
Sometimes, even when you know better, it is difficult to remove such an obsession. When possible, interrupt painful thoughts and memories with prayer. Ask God for help, and keep redirecting your focus. If the relationship was a close one, then this may take some time. But God will remove the obsession and make you stronger for enduring this pain. You grow in strength and love, and God provides other intimacy for you. Tiamat becomes stronger within you. And in the end, you will have been regenerated into a newer, stronger soul, and one capable of receiving a greater gift. Please remember this as you mourn, because failure in this time leaves you trapped.
Other believers become obsessed in another way. Many enlightened people are "driven" and focused on pursuits, finding great success in so doing. But it is easy to be overcome with an obsession and this steals your ability for serenity and a true enlightenment. Just as some will succumb to anesthetizing themselves in order to avoid facing a particular pain, others turn their focus on damaging obsessions to "distract" their attention from their real problems.
This can be particularly annoying and hard to see in one's self, because often the obsession is with an honorable goal. Examples are those who are driven to work excessively, those obsessed with power "to fix the bad elements of society" or those who are obsessed with money and social "success." Strangely enough, even religion can be the distracting focus of one who chooses not to look at themself. The "religious obsessive" person is usually very concerned with the "proper" observance of ritual and the frequency of attendance rather than with the quality and honesty of the soul.
The important thing to consider here is your motives. What is it that you seek? If you seek happiness, will this bring it? Or is this just a distraction from another important issue that blocks your happiness? You cannot find happiness by simply taking your focus from the thing that tortures your soul, and then placing it on yet another thing that will torture your soul. You must remove the thing that hurts you, or you must at least identify it and find a way to accept it. This is done only with proper redirection of your focus, onto God, and onto good things. If you cannot accept something inside of yourself, then you cannot be happy, and cannot grow, by simply ignoring it and focusing on a distraction.
Above all, be honest with yourself. Find your own motives; Find your truths. Do not follow anyone or any idea blindly, including the words of this text. You are welcomed to examine and question everything. Is this right for you? What are the consequences of your actions, thoughts and words? What are the consequences of your inactions, avoidances to consider, and silence? Find those beliefs that honestly allow you to approach God, having been proud of your actions and also humble that you have learned by trial and error. God allows all, once they have begun to apply the truth they've learned.