One of the most basic spiritual endeavors is to change how we engage with our roles. My roles include that of father, husband, consultant, and writer. Your roles are probably different in form, but still fundamentally the same. In each role we engage in, we establish for ourselves expectations, bounds of relationship, and ideals. If we forget that we are not our roles, the path we walk and the world we see is formed by the roles we choose. If we remember that our roles are only robes that we take off and put back on again, we do not so blind ourselves.
The task is not to discard all roles, for that is impossible if we remain in community. Every relationship tends to a role as society defines; these various options are only empty templates that have mental gravity through our conditioning. The task is first to put on our roles without identification. We must know that each mode of interaction is not an identity and goes beyond society’s empty templates. We must know that every relationship can be profoundly deep and rich, yet still is no more than a ripple in ever-changing tides. After we understand these things, the task becomes one of transforming the roles from mere clothing into royal robes.
Every role we put on can be a royal robe. You are not fundamentally male or female, yet the role of man or woman can be patterned after the Divine Masculine or Divine Feminine. You are not fundamentally a parent, yet the role of father or mother can be imbued with wisdom and nobility. The role of spouse can be made lovely with deep listening, compassion, and unwavering fidelity. In all roles, there are basic aspects of service and charity that can be polished until they glow. Spirituality is not a practice separate from all that you do. Spirituality thins all roles into royal robes.
We do not need to reject our roles or the expectations of others with forceful negativity. At times, I myself have done so – I cast no stones. But let us remember that to be a rejecter – a rebel against society – is merely another role. If you feel strongly about any role, you have not yet been able to discern between yourself and it. While your roles bring about strong emotions in you, you are clinging to them and they are not yet purified into royal robes.
Love, bliss, and compassion are aspects of spirit separate from any role. These are the fruits of the inner tree of stillness and silence. When your identifications have been put down and stripped away, the fruits of spirit shine through that thinned transparency of self. Whether you cut wood or carry water, whether you run a business or care after abandoned animals, whether you have built up a home or haven’t yet laid down temporal roots… the royal robes are the natural garments of every Child of God.