Those of us who lead a spiritual life know it is refuge, but at times I feel it is also difficult.

Most people who do not depend on spirituality call it a “conscience”. They hear warnings of proper, or delinquent, behaviours in their head and they heed. “It’s simply the right thing to do,” they say.

I call it “God-consciousness.” And I live with diseases of delusion which lead me astray constantly. I am far from the perfect image of a Christian which so many uphold in their minds. Most of us are. Often when in doubt of what -if any- action I should take, I pause and pray then listen for my God-consciousness to direct my thinking and what actions to take, or not take.

When I reach out to the Father (the Creator, the Spirit, the Universe…whatever one chooses to call it) I always receive what I believe to be the right answer. But do I heed it? Often not. Often I receive an answer opposite to what my free-will wants to hear. This presents a true dilemma. God gave me free will. And even though I may feel intrinsically what the right thing to do is, I often choose to ignore it and act in behaviours I know are not what God wants for me -but I really really want to do it!

I used to simply act without thinking. Being stuck in a destructive cycle of addiction (to anything) I felt compelled to act negatively and without choice. But I have freedom today. I have learned thus far that I may of course choose to ignore God-consciousness, but I must be prepared to suffer the consequences if I do. It is gruelling work to change one’s life upside down for the the positive, and this has been my experience in changing from a life I felt was not my own to a purposeful life reliant upon God.

Thus enters the “spiritual surgery”, as my most recent spiritual advisor taught me.

When we think about surgery, it brings about it feelings of fear, possible complications, recovery, but most of all pain. When I think of surgery, it brings me back a few years to when my mother had a tumour removed from her lung. As soon as she was out of surgery I visited her in the hospital and cried at the sight of tubes from several body parts, and the sheer amount of intense pain she was in which no medication could subdue.

In my most recent surgery I had my tonsils taken out and immediately developed an infection and this complication landed me back in the hospital for two weeks of IV antibiotics. The pain, as with my mother, could be mildly alleviated but it was still constant and made an essential of life, eating, very troublesome.

I see spiritual surgery as the same. Sheer fear of not knowing what will happen. Intense vulnerability. Unmitigated pain. Complications arise from not listening to God-consciousness. When I undergo treatment for it (cleaning up the wreckage; counteracting it with Faith and reliance upon God) the process is slow and I am powerless over the time it takes. Choosing to let God direct my life makes everyday life seem troublesome, when in reality healing is taking place.

I happen to be undergoing surgery currently. It is a slow and painful spiritual surgery. I am being cut open, broken down, and my emotional insides rearranged; harmful behaviours removed; deep seeded beliefs uprooted. Throughout this, my painkiller comes in the form of Faith. Reliance upon God. Choosing to do things differently: to continue the surgical process rather than turn back in fear and resort to what is comfortable and familiar. The problem is, what is familiar -keeping the illness- provokes more pain than the solution.

The solution -the surgery- brings temporary pain and turmoil. But in the long run I will be healed.

So is it worth it to keep moving through it? Of course it is. It is a daily or sometimes moment-by-moment struggle to change, but ultimately I know it will bring me to better things. I still may choose to resort back to lies or defiance against God’s true loving will for me, but I am aware today of the complications and surely ensuing pain of doing so -but I am grateful to also be aware of the solution.

All humans are flawed. With my tonsillectomy, I lost of part of myself that was sick and proving to do more harm than good. In the same way my Creator offers recovery.