In the Buddhist tradition, there are four potential paths to Enlightenment: fast and easy, slow and easy, fast and hard, slow and hard. Most of us spend our time on the last path. We live in a society that has conditioned us to believe that fast and easy is somehow inferior to hard work over a long period of time. We’ve blamed our unhealthy lifestyles on a “fast-food” culture associating quick and easy with obesity, laziness, and poor choices. Taking “short-cuts” tends to be equated with shoddy workmanship, and the desire for instant gratification is blamed for most of our generation’s ills. We expect people who experience sharp, fast rises to success to have equally sharp, fast declines, certain that they haven’t earned the right to be at the top. We tell ourselves that failures are the stepping stones to success and that out of our greatest tragedies come our greatest triumphs.
I realized recently that I was tired of doing things the hard way and decided to pursue the fast and easy path. You can take a rowboat overseas or you can take a plane. Although other people will be more impressed if you make it in a rowboat, you have a much better chance of getting there in one piece taking the plane. I reasoned that quick and easy was simply a thought process. If I fed the belief system that encouraged the fast and easy way to success, joy and peace, then I would create a reality that reflected fast and easy growth and learning. I reasoned that the only thing that created resistance to getting there quickly and easily was a belief system that supported slow and/or hard. Change your thoughts, change your life, right?
I decided to experiment. I gave myself roughly three years to remove resistance to achieving a life that I was satisfied with and that did not require blood, sweat, and tears to achieve. I figured I would chart my progress, take note of the beliefs that interfered with and the beliefs that supported my new direction, and make conscious choices that enabled fast and easy success. So with my resolution, I announced to the Universe my intention to achieve personal growth and learning along the fast and easy path. Two weeks later, my business had failed, I received a letter stating that I was being investigated for fraud, two other letters stating that I was being sued, and I realized that I was approximately $500,000 in debt with $19 in the bank and no way to pay back what I owed. Um, wow. I think there’s been a mistake. I’m pretty sure this isn’t what I asked for.