The Commodores are a Grammy-award winning funk and soul band, performing now for over fifty years. Their music was prominently played in my childhood home as lead-singer Lionel Richie was, at that time, my mom's favorite artist.
The slow, smooth ballad "Easy" became their first chart-topping hit recounting the relaxed, uncomplicated life of a small Southern town. The catchy refrain hard not to sing.
It's the kind of song that warms your heart and soothes the vocal cords while you croon in A-flat major. It's a lovely tune.
And I think it's a perfect metaphor for what practicing any spiritual thought system ought to be like. Easy.
Embrace the principles, enter a state of heavenly bliss.
And yet, we make it so difficult.
Creating a tragic irony; that we must seemingly work hard to experience a joyous ease.
Easy should be ... easy. Light. Carefree.
Not strenuous. Not frustrating. Not wearisome. And certainly not Sisyphean.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with hard work, particularly when the work itself provides meaning. But the idea that inner peace should be challenging to achieve makes no sense. As we read in A Course in Miracles:
Why does an easy path, so clearly marked it is impossible to lose the way, seem thorny, rough and far too difficult for you to follow? (T-29.II.1)
Unless we intentionally make it hard. Which sadly, we do.
You make it difficult, because you insist there must be more that you need do. You find it difficult to accept the idea that you need give so little, to receive so much. (T-18.IV.7)
Each grievance we harvest attests to our resistance. Every disagreement or dissatisfaction sowing supplemental seeds of discontent.
But the pathway to freedom does not entail arduous attempts at eliminating sorrow. There’s another way.
And that’s by returning awareness to the mind and looking with gentleness at our silly supplications. Learning that all pain comes from zealous commitment to a misguided thought system, having nothing to do with external affairs.
Now the way is easy, sloping gently toward the bridge where freedom lies within the peace of Heaven. (W-pI.200.8)
In this state we reflect the infinite joy of oneness. Our experience is instantly transformed into a glorious serenity, where everything is at ease. Easy like Sunday morning. Yeah.
Join me in Thursday’s class where we'll explore our distressing nature to continually construct onerous obstacles. And we’ll look at practices we can learn to transcend all struggling. I look forward to seeing you then.