One of the paradoxes in spiritual life comes alive in the spiritual seeker reliance of something external to himself/herself. That same thing will become a hindrance later on in his spiritual development.
Support at one time. Burden at another time.
That could be a ritual. That could be a commandment, that could be anything that allows that person to change into something else, just to be able to see a different perspective, to shift the mind to another point of view, so learning could take place.
The issue comes when we are totally colored and “blind” by the belief that “everyone” has to be like us or everything that I am close to has to have a determined shape or form because that is the “right” thing.
This rigidity is expressed by the mind as thoughts.
Our inability to appreciate a different perspective. Our inability to acknowledge a different view just because that view has not mentioned the “key words” of spirituality according to our vocabulary.
God becomes one of those convenient keywords. Unless someone uses the same exact words, then I will not listen. I will not acknowledge their perspective. As a matter of fact, I will try to convince them and “prove” them wrong and give them the “right” keywords to repeat and memorize.
Any spiritual practice that we hold dear will divide us from the very same practice and then, we will consider that our life as spiritual seekers is dependent on that particular practice.
For instance, going to church every Sunday becomes more important than being benevolent with your neighbor. Going to church every Sunday is not the “end” of that practice but rather the “means” to practice that benevolence through receiving spiritual knowledge.
If someone decides to go to church every Sunday, hopefully it will be due to an inner motivation to hear further spiritual knowledge and not just as a ritual, as something to do every Sunday, which by the way; will get that person “points” with the priest or the “higher up” at the church.
Spirituality has nothing to do with a ritual like that.
Rigidity then, comes when the “form” becomes more important than the “substance.” It becomes a performance, and act just to belong.
We become “free” from that rigidity, when there is no difference between the “form” and that “substance.”
Let us say that I believe in some disciplines of life. That is great if I become those disciplines without looking for recognition, without needing someone to “check on me,” but at the same time, unless there is a recognition that someone else may not feel the same way about those practices as me; and be OK with it; then rigidity will take place.
Rigidity is not the way to go through life transformations, changes. Many times we set our selves up with an idea, just a belief and we are willing to die for that belief. That is we become two: Me and the belief.
Whenever there is a division like that, we have opened ourselves for suffering and different tests in life, which will show us that this belief was perhaps true for us at one point in our life, but is no longer that.
The reason is that until I have not become ONE with my belief, until there is no separation between “me” and my belief; then life will just show me that I am still divided.
It is great to think about God, There are 2 things, God and Me. That is the division.
Rigidity comes when I am merely defending concepts; the concept of God.
There is no longer that rigidity when there is that Oneness, that is the experience of being “combined,” or even the experience of “I” being out of the picture, so you can be.
In that experience, there is no need to defend anything. No one to fight against, for there is no “me.”
When there is no “me,” there is no “others.” Then we cannot have beliefs anymore to separate “US,” then; there is no place for rigidity to appear.
Rigidity is dogmatic. That means death in the long run. To survive in life challenges, we learn to be flexible, to accommodate; to yield, to become malleable as Gold.
In a hurricane, a palm tree is able to survive the ferocious winds as a non-rigid person will be able to overcome the obstacles in life. Discipline is good. We need to be firmly grounded, but flexible at the same time. A paradox.