You Can’t Hack Your Way to Growth

I went to a talk once in San Diego held by one of the most spiritual people I have ever met. His name was Brother Santos and for about 45 minutes he talked on various subjects and then addressed questions. One question was posed by a woman who asked, “I don’t like to or want to meditate. Instead, I rather bake because I am good at it. Is this a replacement?”

Brother Santos had a unique way of metaphorically whacking someone over the nose  with a wet newspaper in the kindest, most gentle way. He replied, “Yes, that is a wonderful. A great skill. And so much easier than sitting down and meditating. . . .”

Three short sentences. 17 words. The perfect answer. We rather do what is easy versus what is needed.

It can be seen virtually everywhere. The person who does bariatric surgery because diet and exercise is too difficult. Taking a pill instead of getting to the root of the issue. Of course, we see this in spiritual realms too. It is easy to smoke this, drink that or lick a frog than it is to sit and meditate or treat someone with kindness after they treated you harshly. 

Just like bariatric surgery and pill taking, “hacking” spiritual growth is hollow. It is akin to cheating on a marathon and accepting the medal. The pain of 26.2 miles, the training and the great exertion is what makes that race great. And earned. Not shortcuts, particularly ones with potentially negative physical side-effects.

Humans seem intent on creating shortcuts and “hacks”  while Nature ensures that none can be taken. Perhaps we should listen to Her for once.