Spirituality is not pleasantness, and the gods do not confer peace. Instead, the Divine makes things difficult for His favorites.
Indeed, those who live easy lives do not seem to learn much, and, often, those to whom things come easily give up prematurely.
One of the most serious problems with modern man is that he desires to avoid what is uncomfortable. He refuses, for example, to believe that those from other, more traditional cultures, for example, do not share his opinions about the world — most especially that traditional constraints and duties are bad.
“Spiritually,” when he finds something that challenges or contradicts his beliefs in one holy book he simply turns to another, or to some cliche, to explain it away. “All religions are about peace,” so Jihad (the “lesser Jihad”), Krishna instructing his disciple to fight in battle, even the Berserker warriors of Odin, cannot be what they appear to be. After all, didn’t Jesus say something about turning the other cheek?
With good reason, war is a common metaphor in religion. Life is not easy. To cultivate ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually requires constant struggle, constant vigilance against our own self that makes excuses for us, and it requires perseverance. We are at war with our weaknesses.
This is not a popular path.
Friends disappear. Lovers disappear. Beliefs disappear. Yet, accepting this, though one may have started out disadvantaged, there is nothing that cannot be achieved if we persist long enough.
Only after we have gone further than we once imagined we could will we find the conviction to keep going. And, if we are lucky, we will be joined by a few comrades along the way.