The visionary human endeavor to build a more evolved society through innovation, progress and growth has also birthed an unfortunate, rampant obsession that keeps the modern world engrossed in a profound state of addiction. It’s this shadow side of cultural progress that blindly worships this unquenchable desire to maintain, enhance and exceed its ongoing experience and definition of “comfort” at all costs.
All too often in this brave new world, fulfillment is measured by one’s ability to own and luxuriate in the creature comforts of life. What was once functional has been transformed through innovation into the automated, digital, ever-accessible, online, user-friendly, and entertaining technological advancements that have permeated every facet of our lives. The bigger, better and new and improved version of everything continues to promise an easier, stress-free and even more comfortable tomorrow. But, how much comfort is enough?
Through this cultural obsession with sense-gratifying comfort we continue to successfully convince ourselves and the subsequent generations that follow that it is absolutely unnecessary, undesirable, and even unevolved to be uncomfortable for any reason on the life journey. We are creating a future generation of instant gratification, comfort seekers who want it all, want it now and want it delivered at the push of a button without any effort. Why? Because that’s what they know. True adversity, challenge and even failure inspires profound change through innovative and creative problem-solving, necessary to build a depth of character. An invitation to awaken something deeper from within. But, as this trend continues are we forgetting how to rise to the challenge and will we be able to when it is necessary?
Unfortunately, perpetuating this judgmental and disdainful relationship for anything difficult has fortified a strange kind of accepted social, psychological and spiritual paranoia at the mere consideration of discomfort which is now being confused with the experience of actual pain. Ironically, it is often this syndrome of resistance to being uncomfortable that creates the pain we fear.
“Avoiding pain creates pain and what you resist, persists and intensifies.”
One might inquire, why is it wrong to be comfortable? It isn’t. Of course, we should enjoy the fruits of our labor and celebrate the evolution of progress. I am not advocating suffering for the sake of suffering. But it’s an unwinnable strategy to attempt to deny or escape it. Have we, through our excessive and unrealistic ideal of modern comfort unwittingly denied ourselves one the most important and necessary experiences for true spiritual evolution—by glorifying a sense of comfort at the expense of true expansion?
The “comfort zone” is often defined as a known, familiar or manageable paradigm where one feels secure, safe and ultimately in control. But this comfortable reality is nothing more than an unchanging dominion ruled by a fearful ego that thrives on familiar, conscious and unconscious habits, patterns, conditioning that projects an illusionary but terrifying tale of the unknown. Consider the notion that:
“Comfort and growth are diametrically opposed and mutually exclusive.”
These two experiences exist at opposite poles of a dualistic plane and offer very different invitations. The tempting invitation of comfort offers an illusory, delightfully easy, effortless and manageable “sameness” even though it is often disguised and justified as something else. On the other hand, the invitation of growth can only ever be experienced by challenging the outer boundaries of the known and familiar though discomfort.
Today, many popular “New Age” philosophies offer a tantalizing approach to spiritual growth which is marketed on the comfortable methodology that requires minimal or no effort, practice, discipline and certainly no need for the discomfort of healing or purification. Imagine that all you have to do is understand, remember and proclaim “that you are already there” and you can conveniently be realized. It is definitely too convenient to be true. In the cold light of day, superficial couch-surfing philosophies will never rival true discipline, wisdom and consciousness attained through the direct experience of practice and sincere effort.
At some point, every serious seeker on the journey realizes that they must acknowledge, understand and transcend their attachment to the veil of their personally constructed “comfort zone” if they want to expand. Although the experience of “breaking through” or “waking up’” is unique to each individual, the process still requires you to follow an inevitable path that embraces the natural order of an ever-changing and therefore sometimes uncomfortable Universe of expansion.
The new paradigm of expansion challenges you to redefine how you used to think, feel and act as you are invited to delve deeper into your Self: Seek the unfamiliar; take a risk; lose control; embrace the non-traditional; follow an unconventional path; stop waiting; challenge your concept of safety; deconstruct your reality; recognize illusion; question your identity; be inspired and creative; feel authentically; purify yourself and be utterly courageous in ways that you cannot even imagine.
Every plunge into the unknown requires you to risk being uncomfortable as you discover new inner and outer horizons of consciousness. And somewhere within the Great Mystery, beyond the familiar territory of comfort, lies the true and authentic path of growth overflowing with untapped potential and the fulfillment of more, other and beyond.
Only an honest, surrendered and mature consciousness hungry for something more, arrives at the inevitable but sincere recognition on this journey that regardless of opinions, desires or perception:
“It is absolutely necessary for you to be comfortable
with the spiritual necessity of being uncomfortable.”
There is no other way.